Fans behaving…

I am going to cut right to the chase today about an issue that really pisses me off. Why is it, that when some people buy a ticket to a sporting event, or concert, or other event, they immediately think that they are given license to act like total animals? Why? How many times have you heard about or read about some incident at some venue where a person or persons, act up in a manner that is insulting or physically hurtful to someone else? WHY? Is it the excitement? Is it the adrenaline? Is it the alcohol? Or is it that some people are just simply assholes? I think that the short answer is ‘yes’.
Last night, the Dodgers and the Giants were playing at AT&T park in San Francisco. There was evidently an altercation between two fans that had started off as verbal, escalated to a stabbing, and culminated with a fan dying. Stabbed to DEATH and a BASEBALL GAME! I heard another story from a man who took his family to a preseason football game. It seems that there were some drunk, oafish fans sitting behind this man and his family. Soon enough, as the effects of the alcohol intensified, the group of drunken fans became more and more disorderly, and started spilling beer on the man’s family. After that, the ‘F’ bombs started being dropped. The man with the family turned around to ask the drunken oafs to at least watch their language around the children. As you can imagine, things got ugly. One of the drunkards reached out to grab the man with the family, and as he did so, the man with the family defended himself, and punched the boozer in the face. Of course, the man with the family was immediately arrested and charged with battery. REALLY? He was ARRESTED?? What is wrong with this picture? Does anyone else here see my disconnect?
Now, before any of you start with the ‘well then, he should have called an usher…’ nonsense, have you ever seen some of these ushers? The little old men and ladies who generally do these jobs are not going to be able to stop Snow White and any of her dwarfs, much less a bunch of drunken football (or baseball, or hockey…) fans from doing anything. Oh, and by the time security (sic!) finally gets to where the incident is, it is usually over, with someone left bleeding and injured, or worse, dead. Let’s look at the senseless beating of Los Angeles paramedic Bryan Stowe on Opening Day at Dodger Stadium in Chavez Ravine, CA. He was beaten so badly by Dodgers fans in Los Angeles in 2011 that he nearly died. The reason? He was wearing the WRONG TEAM JERSEY!!! Or better yet, there is the story of the police captain, Michael Vangelo, and his 16 and 11-year-old girls, who drove down to watch the Phillies take on the Washington Nationals. Seems innocent enough, right? A dad and his two girls spending some quality family time at a baseball game shouldn’t be any cause for trouble, but oh no, not here… The father says that from the moment his family took their seats, a group of unruly men starting disturbing anyone near them swearing and yelling all manner of insults and obscenities. The father and his older daughter asked the men to stop, but that seemed to just cause more trouble. “I had beer thrown on me and water and then one individual started spitting at the back of my daughter’s chair and he actually spit on my 11-year-old daughter,” he said. Vangelo went to report the men to ushers, who promptly ejected them from the game. The man says everything seemed fine until another fan got involved. That fan, identified by police as Matthew Clemmens of Cherry Hill, N.J., was sitting with another, unrelated group of fans who were also disciplined for acting out when he allegedly did what Vangelo describes as the “most disgusting thing” he’s ever seen. Clemmens, who is 21 years old, positioned himself behind the 11-year-old’s chair, stuck his fingers down his throat and vomited on the girl and her father, police said. Clemmens then began hitting Vangelo after he pushed him away from his daughter, hitting the off-duty officer in the head and neck, I think that this fat, drunk, stupid, and ugly person should be kicked in the balls repeatedly, and sent to a penal colony on Mars. His parents must be so proud of him!
Oh, and don’t even get me started about soccer on the worldwide stage. There is enough evidence of hooliganism for me to write books! Pathetic…
Why do we tolerate this from people who attend events? Imagine if these incidents happened, say 50 years ago. First of all, they wouldn’t have happened 50 years ago, but if it did, there would be no need for ushers trying to be security guards, and there would certainly be no need for police intervention. The fans would have taken care of the problem themselves, in true and decent American fashion. What would you do in a situation like the ones that I have mentioned? Are you prepared to protect yourself and your family if need be?
Perhaps the bigger question is why should you have to worry about any of this crap in the first place? Isn’t it bad enough with the skyrocketing cost of tickets, concessions, and parking that a person should also have to worry about his personal safety at an event? This is supposed to be fun! This is supposed to be entertainment! This is supposed to be SAFE! Does a family really need to be in fear for their lives because they attended an event of some kind? For the most part, for many years I had stopped attending games and events altogether, reasoning that if I stayed at home, I could avoid the high ticket prices, and the traffic, and the parking, the concessions, and the bathroom lines. I figured that I had the best seat in the world…my own comfortable couch. I could sit anywhere in the living room (or den) that I wanted to. There were no bathroom lines. I could go to my own gourmet concession stand in my own kitchen, and get whatever I wanted, with no lines and fairly reasonable prices. But most of all, I stopped going to games and concerts because of the sub-humans who also attend these events. I know my own temperament, and if I ran into any ‘unpleasantness’ that was directed at me of even worse, my family, trust me…it would not end well. Why would I, or anyone else for that matter, want to attend an event where they were going to be surrounded by and confronted with a bunch of disorderly, drunken, rude, and possibly violent individuals who would perhaps be better suited to some seedy waterfront dive that you see in really bad ‘B’ movies? Why would I, or anyone else, want to put their family at risk, and pay exorbitant prices just for the privilege?
Now, there are those who will contend that ‘nothing like that ever happens’, or ‘gee, Bruce, you only gave a few examples. On the whole, this stuff doesn’t really occur. Don’t you think that you are overreacting?’ Really?… I am willing to put it out there that if you Google ‘fans behaving badly’, or ‘fans arrested’, you will not have enough time in a day, or two days, to read all the anecdotes. Here is my challenge to the naysayers. Go to a sporting event, or a concert, or any other large gathering where alcohol is served, and just observe human nature take its course. I am willing to bet that you will see someone or a group of someone’s get drunk, stupid and disorderly, and it will lead to a confrontation of some kind. How it ends is subject of conjecture, but it will happen. Now before everyone gets their knickers in a knot over the alcohol-at-events issue, I am saying, here and now, that it is not THE problem, but rather A problem. It is a problem that exacerbates what is already a potentially ugly situation, and just makes it worse. Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Instant Idiot…Just Add Alcohol’? I believe that this gets intensified at large events, where the drunken oafs foolishly believe that a large crowd affords them some manner of anonymity. Luckily, while people bitch about the evils of ‘big brother’, there is actually some good, albeit a small amount of good, that comes from having ‘big brother’ in place at events where there are crowds. Is it possible that the scumbags who perpetrated the Boston Marathon bombings were caught more quickly because of the security cameras in Boston? How many times do you need to see that some shitbag was arrested for some atrocity because he was seen on camera? How about undercover officers planted in the crowds at concerts, festivals, and sporting events? I am not in favor of intrusion by the government, but I understand where it has been quite helpful.
All of which leads me back to my original question…why? Why do people act like this? Why do people who act like this think that it is OK to act like this? What goes on in their little dinosaur brains that tells them to go ahead and be a complete, obnoxious reprobate? Are they trying to be the ‘life of the party”? Do they think that perhaps the event that they are attending is lame, and that it is their mission in life to add some spice to the soup? Are they re-living their ‘Animal House’ days? I am sure that there are volumes of psychiatric studies, socio-economic studies, police crowd control studies, mob-mentality studies, vegan versus carnivore studies, and I am also sure that none of them can explain why some people are just simply assholes. I am afraid that as long as there are large gatherings of people, whether at a game, concert, or other event, we are stuck with people who feel that misbehavior of epic and not-so-epic proportions is allowable.
Let me end by saying this…Last night, a guy went to a baseball game. He was stabbed and killed. This should never be.

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