Apr 032002

Ah, the drunken disorderliness and rapturous revelry of rioting.

Colorado sports fans are no strangers to tear gas, broken glass and feisty (and sometimes overzealous) cops. When the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup, the Broncos secured their first Super Bowl and CSU throttled those wretched hippies from down the road (twice, in fact), the post-party ranged from a drunken alumni picnic of khaki-clad yuppies parading through the streets of LoDo to war-like scenes straight out of “Apocalypse Now.”

The latter was the case Monday night in College Park, Md., and Bloomington, Ind., the respective homes to the University of Maryland and the University of Indiana. The Terps had just secured their first-ever NCAA Tournament title, sending the historic Hoosiers home to the cornfields with a solid, albeit sloppy, ACC-style butt whoopin’. For nearly five hours following the game – in both towns – students tormented and fled from cops amidst a whirlwind of shattered beer bottles, overturned cars, conflagrating couches, paintballs chock-full of pepper spray and a surplus of nudity rivaling that of Mardi Gras. The riot patrol was called in, helicopters swarmed over the battle scenes and the local television reporters kept a distance – a rarity – from the real action.

For college students, this sounds like a damn good time, right? Isn’t this the kind of stuff those of our age bracket are famous for? We can be sure the old farts tuning in to these debacles just shook their gray heads in contempt, muttering, “Stupid kids.”

And for the most part, they’re right. It’s immaturity that leads to broken store windows and police cars. It’s stupidity that leads to throwing beer bottles at cops.

But the cops are sometimes at fault, too. There should be an understanding that shooting pepperspray paintballs or tear gas at kids is like kicking a hornet’s nest. Haul in the bad guys. Just because kids are beings kids isn’t a reason to cuff ’em or take away their in-state tuition. Not all present at a riot are violent delinquents worthy of jail time.

Really, what’s the harm is gathering with your friends and schoolmates to celebrate (this excludes the IU fans, whose angry behavior we condemn) a uniting victory?

Absolutely nothing. Get drunk (but be safe), flash people, scream and jump up and down. Enjoy life; enjoy being a winner. But use discretion. Use common sense. And most of all, show respect.

 Posted by at 6:00 pm

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