Image by Tak Toyoshima
Riots. Overturned cars. Broken windows. Trash everywhere.
Nope, I’m not talking about Ferguson, Missouri. I’m talking about Keene, New Hampshire, the recent scene of senseless violence and damage wrought by thousands who descended on the college town for this year’s annual Pumpkin Fest.
While it’s been said that many of the chaos causers weren’t students, the outrageous behaviors that are now under inspection are stereotypical college idiocy, complete with scattered Solo cups and binge-drinking bros throwing fists. Campuses are hotbeds for privileged folks, and the oppressive structures that we try to eradicate elsewhere are often hailed with glee by the majority of students.
For interlopers one and all, the idea of entering a community and acting in ways you’re not supposed to, as one reveler put it, is a stone’s throw from colonialism. In fact, student bodies are inherently complicit in their own type of colonialism—descending upon an existing locale, erasing history, leaving destruction.
There’s a lot we can learn about the American psyche from peeling away layers of the Keene riots. Unfortunately, each layer is just as rotten as the next.