Bad behavior has always been with us. We’ve always had trouble with juvenile delinquency, domestic violence, gangs, and just run-of-the mill coarseness and rudeness. In fact when something bad happens — a shot up movie theater or mall, a student killing rampage in a school — we’re told that things are more or less like they have always been. We just have better news coverage now. So all of this increased bad behavior is something like all the extra tornadoes on the plains. It’s always been there, but now we have people out there to see it.
I don’t buy it. Not for a minute.
First of all, when I was a kid — here I go again — we didn’t have metal detectors and police officers at our school and I can almost guarantee if some crazy kid shot a bunch of his classmates somewhere in the country we would have heard about it. We didn’t hear about it. It didn’t happen. And that was a time when you might be able to eat in a shopping mall food court with some dignity, manners, and not think about the occasional mall shooting.
Those were the blessed days.
But if you need a sign that things have changed, look at today’s college students smashing stuff up to celebrate a sports victory. And if you REALLY want to see how things have changed, look the embarrassing and disgraceful behavior of some students at my alma mater, the University of Minnesota.
Last night the University of Minnesota men’s hockey team defeated the University of North Dakota — as we all knew they would — in a semi-final game to advance to college hockey‘s Frozen Four championship game this weekend, students converged on Dinkytown and caused trouble. They were celebrating. Any rock-throwing and car-stomping celebrating is plain stupid. Even 7-year olds know better (they still do, right?). But really, guys, a semi-final game?
When I was in college the closest thing I saw to a rowdy criminal celebration was…well, we had none. In the 1970s there were some uprisings on campus, but those were in protest of the Vietnam War. That was a war killing tens of thousands. Last night was a hockey game, entertaining tens of thousands. Get a grip!
We’ve come a long way. You can’t pat your co-worker on the fanny, for example. But then we’ve gone a long way in the other direction, too. Maybe theare’s just too much pent up frustration out there. Or maybe we have just become a bunch of f**king coarse a**holes without any god**mn class. (I can write that today, right?)