Championship game incictes mob– violence reflects poorly on Lexington

Rambler Staff Editorial

A shooting, an exploding car, dozens of pieces of furniture consumed in flame, and an untold number of bruises, cuts and other injuries. In most settings, we would call this a violent mob, public disorder, a disturbance of the peace. In Lexington, we call it the culmination of the NCAA tournament.

And what a tournament it was: the eighth national title for the University of Kentucky, with a perfect semifinal matchup against the University of Louisville. Even the elderly got in on the action, with fistfights at dialysis clinics over the upcoming game.

While a rational observer might caution about fears of civil war, most of us just try to remind ourselves that, despite being demographically almost identical to Lexington, Louisville is very different, and is very bad.

Of course, such violent rivalries based on accidents of geography have always existed, from neighboring jungle tribes violently kidnapping and killing each other’s members, to Greek city-states, to modern racial nationalist movements. Fighting your neighbor based on his or her race, location or ethnicity (or sports affiliation) is a time-honored tradition of barbaric humans for as long as we have been around.

The problem, however, is that universities claim to elevate the human condition — especially at a liberal arts university, where we claim to be searching out significance and meaning in life, to be preparing ourselves for global citizenship.

When UK won, there was a degree of passion and celebration on campus the likes of which most of us have never seen at Transylvania. Rooting for the Wildcats is great, even expected for most of us. We, as Transy students, can say that our own basketball team got to play an NCAA championship team at the beginning of its season. We want them to succeed.

However, this sort of fervor is missing when something happens that has more intrinsic value — that is, something that secures human rights or brings justice into the world. When millions of Libyans finally won their civil war several months ago, there was silence. UK is the home team, we might suppose, while global civil liberty isn’t.

We aren’t saying that Lexington shouldn’t have been overflowing with excitement Monday night. We share a desire to see the UK basketball team succeed, and the euphoria many of us felt once the buzzer sounded in New Orleans is no excuse for the reckless behavior that occurred in the streets of Lexington. Even though it all occurred up on State Street on UK’s campus, a large number of Transy students were in that area as well — as they should have been.

But when the eyes of the world are on our city, the youth in this town should act accordingly. Turning over cars, getting arrested for public intoxication and just overall acting idiotic makes the entire city of Lexington, and especially its large college population, look like uneducated heathens. And this behavior begs the question, if we can be so involved in sports, why can’t we be just as enthusiastic about issues that hold more gravity?

The violence and wanton destruction that have accompanied UK’s victories do not speak positively of a passion for sports. They speak of an irresponsible collegiate culture that knows no means of self-expression except by destruction. Celebration that ends in gunfire, injuries and exploding cars is unacceptable and, indeed, an effrontery to the ideals of a city that holds two upstanding universities.


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