Dozens Arrested In Pumpkin Festival Riot, Because Bros Will Be Bros
An annual pumpkin festival in Keene, New Hampshire this weekend turned into a full-on riot. No, that is not a headline from The Onion. Dozens of people were arrested after the mostly-white student body spent the night flipping cars, breaking booze bottles on each other’s faces, and setting fires in the streets. I’ll just sit back and wait for Fox News to denounce white college culture as fundamentally violent and thuggish, shall I?
Look, we’ve established that I love all things pumpkin as much as the next person, but this is obscene. And more than that, the situation in Keene is a telling look into how the media covers violence committed by white people. The parallels between Keene’s Pumpkin Festival meltdown and Ferguson are apparent, even though the two events are fundamentally very different: both in their roots and how they’ve been viewed by society as a whole. A community of black people protesting the murder of one of their children, and coming out in the mornings to clean up any damage done? Thugs. Violent criminals. A bunch of drunk, stupid college kids who lost their shit because … pumpkins? (Actually, “because alcohol” is probably a better explanation.) Those guys get words like ‘unruly’ from CNN and Fox News, and the word ‘riot‘ itself is only used as part of the phrase ‘police riot gear’. ‘Unruly’? Well, we wouldn’t want to unfairly impugn the behavior of fine young men like this one:
Steven French, 18, who was visiting from Haverhill, Massachusetts, described the chaotic scene to the local paper, The Keene Sentinel, as “wicked.”
“It’s just like a rush. You’re revolting from the cops,” he told the paper Saturday night. “It’s a blast to do things that you’re not supposed to do.”
The white privilege is strong with this one. For some people in this country, ‘revolting from the cops’ can be a pretty good way to get yourself shot (as can be minding your own business shopping in a Wal-Mart, but I digress). Must be nice (in a very specific and not particularly nice usage of the word ‘nice) to be able to go harass or injure dozens of people, destroy some property, and know you’re going to get away with a slap on the wrist and some gentle media coverage of zany college boys gone wild.
I’m sure the people who got in trouble for their roles in these riots are going to see plenty of wagged fingers and sternly shaken heads, but based on the size of the parties and the pictures I’ve seen of entire streets filled with empty beer cans, I’m guessing more than a few assholes are going to get away with their assholery. And they’ll be the same people lighting couches on fire and flipping cars over the next time their favorite basketball team wins (or loses), and the same ones smashing bottles and starting fights at the next big block party. Maybe there is a ‘culture of violence’ out there that we need to worry about, but it sure isn’t Black America: it’s Bro America.