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Keene, NH versus Ferguson, MO

Yep, that sums the up the press coverage pretty well.

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As readers know, I live in a small university town, and I hate, hate, hate, hate party culture. It's just fabulously destructive, and the cause of rape and sexual abuse into the bargain. I had a year of feeling like a prisoner in the house from after-parties at a local student hellhole.

Of course, when universities started treated students as customers, party culture really caught fire, since who wants to study when you can party? And when universities started privatizing dorms, that added fuel to the flames, because there was no adult supervision. In fact, I think that, systemically or consciously, the University of Maine uses its reputation as a party school as a selling point. For pity's sake.

Here's the AP story. So, where are the armored vehicles? Where's the serious discussion of "white on white" crime? And so forth.

NOTE "When I was their age," I did plenty of stuff I wouldn't recommend today. But this?

One group of young people threatened to beat up an elderly man, and another resident heard someone "threatening to kill officers," according to the Keene Police Department log, which shows 235 calls between 2:30 a.m. Friday and 3:30 a.m. Sunday and at least 49 arrests.

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Jay's picture
Submitted by Jay on

I've had to think about this one.

Why? Why would people, young people do this? My first inclination was to say, they must not know how bad it will be when they graduate. But no, they know things are bad. They must know.

I heard a quote once, "when people feel like it's the end of the world, they start acting like it's the end of the world." It was from a book or documentary--pardon my memory--about the fall of the Third Reich. When the Russians were fighting in Berlin, the Gauleiters threw a party. They drank the stolen champagne they'd been saving for the successful conclusion of the war. They ran around with pistols, shooting drunkenly at lampposts. They fucked in the streets and hallways and drawing rooms in front of God and everybody. Didn't care anymore. Pandemonium.

While Keene, New Hampshire in 2014 is not Berlin in April of 1945, I can't help but think that the zeitgeist is borne not only of the ability to do something like this in grand style, but also a reaction to despair. A mass hysteria where everybody realizes that painting the town red will have the same consequences as not. This is your one chance. Take it or leave it.

Ferguson, on the other hand, had a purpose and righteous indignation, where Keene had pumpkins and ridiculous intoxication. Although the system will put the college kids through the grinder and saddle them with mortgages without a house to show for it, they'll likely never get shot for talking shit to a cop. Surely puts privileged white post adolescent angst in perspective. What they have in common is the assholes who run this place, and it's all about the money. There are just different mechanisms to nickel and dime you at different strata of the caste system.

I get the feeling the time is ripe for more of this. The institutional authorities have strained their legitimacy to incredulity. Nobody is happy. Perhaps there will be a catalyst where "Everybody Must Agree" and "There Are No Alternatives" in Washington, but is universally hated, and it sets something off.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...may not be what it seemed. New evidence is not looking to support Brown, but rather the cop.
Pity, because, police violence against people of color is a very big problem.

Submitted by lambert on

1) One commissioned by the Brown family;

2) The second, released today;

3) One from the Justice Department, not released.

Basically, I trust the St Louis cops about as much as the cops in Koh Tao. The Browns were smart to get their own autopsy done.

V. Arnold's picture
Submitted by V. Arnold on

...do not put words in my mouth. I frankly don't "believe" anybody at this point; everyone involved has a very big investment in the outcome.
There may be some credible evidence coming from black eyewitnesses. And it doesn't favor Brown.
That's what has been reported this (my) morning. We'll see...
Koh Tao is a rolling clusterfuck, but somewhat normal for Thai police. ;-)

Submitted by lambert on

I contextualzed the "new evidence" more precisely, and explained why I didn't believe the cops, with an example. What words did I put in your mouth?