one wins an event one expects cheers. One expects happiness.
You may want to jump up and down. Some get so happy they
cry. Some at the University of Maryland expressed their
happiness at the Terrapin's sports team's victories by smashing
windows of local businesses, while some beat on and/or set
cars ablaze. Others are even stupid enough to attack police.
Why do people feel that vandalism and breaking the law is
an appropriate display of joy? One has heard of riots like
this in Detroit and Los Angeles after their teams won, yet
that was far away and seemed like a "big city" problem.
Yet it has happened at UM several times this past year as
the Terps football and now basketball teams have excelled.
Why would young adults, who are in college, for Pete's sake,
presumably to get an education, think that violence is an
appropriate response to victory?
It begs one question: "What has happened to the moral fabric
of our society where revelers destroy other people's property
as an expression of their happiness?"
Pity the shop owner who has to close in response to violence
one night while law enforcement is forced to make the decision
to close the street in College Park where the violence was
One can presume that since there are bars lining this drag
alcohol is involved in heightening the mood. One can presume
that one drunken idiot starts something and, under the influence,
kids feel that violence is in someway fun. This does not
excuse a thing.
Most kids in college aren't 21. Yet drinking on college
campuses is epidemic. From what some say, drugs have seen
a resurgence among youth as well.
Kids will tell you that making the drinking age 21 has glamorized
liquor since it is supposed to be unattainable you are "way
cool" if you can get it. They also say that it is fun to
break the law because the law and mom and dad say drinking
They say that in order to "rebel" against society's oppressive
rules and, of course, their evil moms and dads, they must
take drugs to alleviate their stress.
That almost makes one choke on one's morning cup of coffee.
The only stress most kids have today is deciding which video
game system is the one they want, which car mom and dad
should buy them and which body part should be pierced next.
When did this happen? Are parents no longer teaching their
kids to respect others? Are our youth just so inundated
by images on TV and in movies that no matter what they are
prone to say "screw you?"
Is life more difficult today really? Some have said that
living their whole lives under the specter of destruction
by nuclear weapons, germ warfare, AIDS and terrorism has
made them "realize" that life is only about "their needs"
because we may not be around long enough for "anything else
While not all youth and young adults today were given everything
on a silver platter, part of what has happened in today's
society is that you have two parents working in most households,
in part because both parents want the fulfillment of working
outside the home, and in part it is to be able to pay the
bills so that families can "keep up with the Jones."
Everyone needs a bigger SUV, everyone needs a bigger house
(even if you can' t afford furniture because you are mortgage
poor. Everyone needs the latest cell phone, digital camera,
digital video camera, DVD player, game system and so on.
Many of these gadgets become baby-sitters as parents are
working longer and longer hours to pay for them.
In turn, manners and respect have somehow disappeared. Why?
Is it because we no longer communicate with each other,
as we are too busy working and using our electronics?
Have young adults and our youth been able to learn manners
from absent parents?
One has to wonder who is to blame?
Is government? In part, yes. Watergate, of course, shattered
many people's belief in government and caused many to say,
"What's it all worth?" Yet, was that enough to cause people
to disrespect other people and their property?
Many young adults from the 80's generation took Ronald Reagan's
decree along the lines of "it's all about YOU getting rich"
to stop caring about others.
Are schools responsible? Or teachers? That is a tough one
to answer as parent have relinquished much of their obligations
to the schools, causing our teachers to be parent, educator,
disciplinarian, morality setters, etc. when that really
isn't in their job description.
In attempts to curb the changing tide, teachers have done
their best to pick up the slack.
Do we want our schools and our teachers filling the void
where parents should be?
Are churches responsible? After all, many folks have obtained
their moral foundations in part due to their association
Maybe though, they share part of the blame too. As times
have changed, and attitudes on many social justice issues
have been revised, many churches have clung to their outdated
Many younger folks, who do not harbor the attitudes of dislike
or hatred that are oft times taught in church, have fled
in droves seeking solace in alternative practices to fill
their "spiritual void." Does this lack of the foundation
in Judeo-Christian tradition cause people to disrespect
When asked, several people of the 30-40 something crowd
said the reason they think young adults behave like this
is, "Because they are a bunch of spoiled-rotten brats."
When it was pointed out that this generation of college
kids could in affect be the products of our loins, it didn't
They went on to say: Our parents spoiled us and we spoil
our kids worse." Yet, the ones asked about this realize
that we need, somehow, to instill a sense of respect and
manners into our children and somehow re-instill it into
the "Generation X" or whatever they call themselves who
do not have it.
But again, many baby boomers, who almost squash you in their
SUV's, don't seem to get it either.
Not all that long ago, while in a store, it was easy to
see how off-track we have become when a mother was heard
calling her son, who was presumed to be very young and lost.
After seeing the child run into an adult and yell at the
adult to get out of his was, the youngin' should have said,
"excuse me." The mother quipped: "My son is only nine, he
is too young to know manners."
What? There was a time when neither the boy nor his mother
would have been allowed out of their house.
Many people see the solution being that more people should
spend more time at home with their children. Why then is
there still the perception to many that child rearing is
the primary responsibility of women?
Why can't a husband and wife, who work outside the home,
both spend an equal amount of time transporting the kids
to their many activities? Why don't both parents divide
Why aren't children expected to pitch in and help? Why aren't
they taught to earn what they get instead of expecting it
to be handed to them on a silver platter?
Why don't we define "family" to include more "non-traditional"
families when it comes to adoption? There are many single
folk, gay or lesbian folk, non-married man/woman couples,
or other folks who are well respected, hard-working and
successful who would love to adopt children who would otherwise
be raised in foster homes or homes where they are unloved,
who are denied the opportunity to raise children to believe
in morality and values simply because they are not "regular"
Maybe this would help. Maybe not. But wouldn't it beat the
alternative of continuing to produce generations of kids
who don't care about anyone but themselves simply because
they feel they are owed something they didn't get during
their childhood? Stability can be a good thing.
In the meantime, the University of Maryland implores us
to "Fear the Turtle!" Maybe we should just fear their fans.
Maybe we should just fear the "next generation."
Maybe we should fear ourselves.