Wednesday, September 28, 2005

HOMECOMING - "A FEW TROUBLEMAKERS" ?

It was perhaps innevitable in the fallout from Saturday's Homecoming Aberdeen debacle that many in the Queen's community would blame "a few bad apples" for ruining Homecoming for "everyone else."

The student newspaper 'The Journal' and long-time Kingston resident and Queen's alumnus and grad-student Steven Taylor make that argument, amongst others, in attempting to defend Queen's and its students.

But with thousands of people on Aberdeen street on Saturday night, how is it that "a few bad apples" were able to ruin the night? Where were the "global citizens and leaders of tomorrow" confronting "those few" who would cause mayhem? Surely a committed group of responsible Queen's students could have prevented, or at least tried to prevent, some of the destruction of Saturday night. But this did not seem to happen; at least I did not observe it, and there are no reports of such action.

Is this perhpas becasue, as Steven himself has described the situation on Aberdeen, and as it has been described by others, there was a 'mob mentality.' How is it that there can be a mob mentality without a mob? How can a mob be made up of only "a few"?

In the minutes before the Aberdeen car was actually overturned a chant went up throught the crowd of "Flip the car! Flip the car!" How do just "a few" maintian such a laod chant?

When the car was infact overturned it was done so by dozens of people, not just "a few." Now, to be fair, even 20 people in a crowd of 5,000 could be characterized as "a few." But how many people took turns piling onto the car after it was overturned? How many people subsequently overturned the car again and again? And how many people stayed on the street and looked on, thereby providing a willing audience and tacit, if not direct approval, for the more destructive in the crowd?

The Aberdeen party reached a point of dangerous and criminal excess on Saturday night, and while there are cetainly "a few" who are far more guilty than others for the damage and recklessness, all those who attended the party, and particularly those who stayed after it was clearly out of hand contributed to it.

Posted by Matthew @ 5:08 PM