The Closet Academic facebook addendum – 7 weeks later, message to city officials & academia prior to meet.
Pumpkin Riot (original post – 2014Oct19)
I lingered on the Main Street while the festival clean-up commenced. There were groups of people everywhere. The beer and cologne stench evidenced the general mindset. Students wanted to party and they wanted to get laid. The cops, with their general discontented mindset, had the gear and the training. They are ready to obliterate terrorists. Put the two mindsets together and what do you get? Chaos!
The media labeled it ‘riot’ obviously having no clue what a real riot is. I’ve had bonfires in my yard bigger than the one set on the street. That matters not though. People will believe what they are fed and that’s why our society is living in paralyzing fear. I witnessed a man in his latter 30s red faced screaming at a student for smashing a pumpkin on the street in front of him. He was holding a 3 year old. On my walk home, in the dark, students excused themselves for rushing past me on the sidewalk. It was obvious that if you were a young person on or near the campus you were suspect.
Heavy partying is quite the norm come pumpkin fest time. The biggest difference this time was highly trained and fortified law enforcement. It was almost like they were all dressed up (in their riot gear) with no place to go. A little field training must have seemed in order. The festival itself was quite pleasant especially when you could ignore the police snipers on the rooftops and high visibility of its ground forces.
After the dust had settled a bit from the great riots of the Keene Pumpkin Festival 2014 I decided to ask the students about their take; the ones who were awake and picking up beer cans the next morning. Several apologized to me for the melee obviously embarrassed and obviously not part of the initial rabble rousing. Students from all over the region were among the rowdiest of them all. “There are always big parties during the pumpkin fest. Last night, this one party down the street got broken up. Most of the kids were under 21. They were told to leave. The only place they could go was the street. Next thing you know there are cops in riot gear shooting at people.” That’s when it really began to break loose. In comes the television media grasping for words and pictures from social media which, as we know, includes everybody. Once that happens and attention becomes laser focused things really begin to hit the fan.
A Boston station reported that one of its crew felt tear gas in her eyes. Well, where did that tear gas come from, the students? Social media fear mongers implored residents to go into their homes, lock the doors and pull the shades. I moved to town just a few months ago. One of the first things I heard from a neighbor was how awful the students are during the pumpkin celebration. Guess what, we get what we expect. When police suit up in riot gear what are they expecting?
Baby boomers who are so afraid of our young people and quivering with fear in their cloistered little warehouses are overwhelmed at how much smarter the gen-Y/millennial crowd is. Being of age in the 1960s and 70s you would think they could understand. Boomers were no angels when they brought in flower power and real riots. Back then campuses demonstrated for causes. Riots happened when the cops started shooting. What we saw near the Keene State campus during the pumpkin fest was not even close – until…