Last weekend, parties at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire turned violent, with rioters turning over and destroying cars, the Associated Press reported. Police in riot gear showed up and began using tear gas in attempts to control the crowds.
The parties coincided with the city’s annual Pumpkin Festival, during which the city attempts to set a world record for the most carved and lighted jack-o-lanterns in one location.
“It got way out of hand,” said student body Vice President Mallory Pearce, who said she saw cars being flipped and destroyed. “I honestly did not feel safe.”
The police log from the weekend shows officers responded to more than 230 calls between 2:30 am on Friday and 3:30 am on Sunday, with at least 49 people arrested. As the AP noted, not all arrested were part of the riots, but many “appeared related to the unruly behavior.”
Local news showed images of “a crowd overturning a car, people running from tear gas clouds, street signs being torn down and fires burning in the streets.” Police also had reports of fireworks, people jumping off roofs and throwing bottles.
“One group of young people threatened to beat up an elderly man, another resident heard someone ‘threatening to kill officers,’ according to the police log,” said AP. Keene Fire Chief Mark Howard told New England Cable News that about 20 people were taken to the hospital with injuries.
“The parties ended up being boring, and the riot ended up being wild,” said Eammon Flynn, a student visiting Keene from Casselton College in Vermont, who said he didn’t participate in any destruction, but “went out and joined in the mayhem.”
“It was fun to be around,” said Flynn.
Now flash back to earlier this summer, to the “riots” in Ferguson, Missouri. Peaceful protesters, mourning and seeking justice over the death of an unarmed teenager shot by a police officer, were treated with less regard and respect than these drunken, college-aged students who started the violence in the first place.
This is not to say that police should be using riot gear and tear gas every time any crowd assembles, but there are obvious discrepancies in the way each group acted, and the way each group was treated.
In Ferguson, the protests started peaceful, and the city’s response was to send police with more tactical gear than our soldiers in the Middle East in to deal with them. In Keene, drunken college kids began ransacking the city, destroying thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars, worth of property.
At a Pumpkin Festival.
The difference is obvious. The rioters at Keene State were white, middle class kids, and the protesters in Ferguson were black, many living below the federal poverty line.
So Bill O’Reilly and his rich, white fan club can say that “white privilege” doesn’t exist, but comparing these two situations very obviously proves that it does. Black protesters in Ferguson were treated like criminals, while white criminals in Keene were treated like festival-goers who simply “got out of hand,” as Pearce put it.