Tuesday, October 21, 2014

They're Rioting Over Pumpkins?

These people are rioting because they got drunk
at a Keene N.H. pumpkin festival.  
The Philly.com headline said it best:

"It's the Great Pumpkin Riot of 2014, Charlie Brown!"

Yep, you might have heard about that big riot this past weekend in Keene, N.H. at the annual pumpkin festival in town.   Something like 30 people were hurt, and 84 arrested, says the Boston Globe.

People threw full beer bottles, liquor bottles, rocks and pumpkins at police and each other.

Police responded with tear gas, riot gear and arrests.  All this at a friggin' pumpkin festival!

Most of the rioter were white college age students. You know how that demographic just LOVES social media, so they posted their derring-do on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.

Of course, police are combing over these social media sites like pre-teen girls searching for every bit of info and gossip on pop music sensation One Direction. Of course, police are looking for rioters to arrest, not teeny bopper singing groups.

It's safe to say last year's Pumpkin Fest went better that the one last weekend.  For one thing, the 2013 version featured no riots. And in 2013, they set a world record by having 30,851 carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns at one place at one time.

This year, they might have been trying to set the world record for most beer bottles thrown at police.

These people in Ferguson, Missouri are rioting
because an unarmed black teenager was
shot to death by a cop.  
Or the most people stuffed into one backyard. By one estimate there were 4,000 people or so in the yard, and thats the place where the trouble seems to have started.  

Talking Points Memo, citing lots of Tweets out there, also brought up some biting differences in perspective surrounding the white rioters of Keene and the black rioters of Ferguson, Missouri back in August.

One person Tweeted unrest in Ferguson was brought on by the shooting of an unarmed black teenager, while the disturbances in Keene came about because of the availability of pumpkins (not to mention booze.)

Another meme going around shows photos of black demonstrators in Ferguson as "thugs," "animals" and "destroying their community" while the white rioters in Keene are merely "rowdy," "mischievous" and "booze filled revelers."

Wesley Lowery Tweeted: "Don't these people have jobs? Where are the white fathers? What will end this corrosive culture of violence?!"

He has a point: I don't like people rioting for any reason. It just doesn't advance the cause. Any cause. It just turns people off.  And the morons that looted and burned businesses in Ferguson are just plain scum.

But there does seem to be a racial divide between reasons behind the riots

Blacks seem to riot when unarmed African-American teenagers are shot, when too many people say the "N" word too many times, when blatant discrimination gets to be too much.

Whites tend to riot when their favorite sports team loses, or win their sports team wins, or they want to let off steam after a surfing competition, or the want to (pumpkin) spice up a Jack 'O Lantern festival.
At least some very nice Keene State College students
volunteered to clean up the mess the day
after riots at the town's pumpkin festival.  

Another embarrassing thing is maybe, at least in this one incident, all us anti-militarization types might have been mistaken when we said local police don't need to be armed to the teeth like a huge army.

They still don't, in my opinion, but the Great Keene Pumpkin Riot of '14 put a chink in that argument.

I guess Keene Police are having the last laugh. A month or so ago, Stephen Colbert mocked Keene for getting all kinds of riot gear, maybe in case trouble broke out at the pumpkin festival.

Back in September, Colbert mocked: "Keene, N.H. obtained a surplus $286,000 BearCat armored vehicle, which they said they needed...since Keene currently hosts several large public functions to include an annual pumpkin festival."

One bright note:  The Boston Globe reported that Keene State College students returned to the scene Sunday to clean up the mess, which is nice.

I'm just glad nobody rioted because they were upset that their mess had been cleaned up.

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