The unsung wisdom of student crowds

By Cory Triner

Ah, it’s great to see justice at work. While out minding my own business one Saturday night, I witnessed a scene that I found quite interesting. A friend and I stood on the corner of Green and Sixth streets and observed an argument between two gentlemen.

The conflict was between two men; one claimed that the other “jumped on him” and demanded some of his sandwich. One of them yelled at a police car that was passing by. The police officer stopped, blocking the westbound left turn lane on Green Street, without turning on his lights to indicate his presence for the safety of all. Then three more police cars arrived, blocking one of the eastbound lanes. That four officers responded shows their ability to deal with a problem efficiently, but as soon as the three other police officers saw that it was a minor matter, they should have left to continue looking for more serious trouble.

Instead, they remained joking around, judging by their smiles and relaxed posture. At this point, one of the two men involved in the altercation had already been sent on his way, and the other was mounting his bike getting ready to leave.

With four cars in the street backing traffic up for at least a block, one officer took the time to leave the scene to grab tasty-looking foil wrapped treats, which he shared with the other officers who were loitering at the now-pacified scene. Although we were not close enough to positively identify them, they appeared to be “burritos as big as your head” from the nearby La Bamba restaurant.

Shortly after sharing the food, the officers returned to their vehicles. One then began turning north onto Sixth Street, failing to observe the “ONE WAY” and “DO NOT ENTER” signs, which were clearly posted. Aided by a bellicose college student, he realized his blunder, executed a three-point turn in the middle of the intersection and left the scene.

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Less then two minutes later, two young men began fighting at the same intersection. This lasted for close to a minute before a group of uninvolved but socially conscious passers-by stepped in to pull the combatants apart. Almost as soon as it had begun, the conflict was over thanks to the many well-meaning students in the area.

The moral of this story is simple: students are not the enemy. They are not irresponsible.

As a group, students can be trusted to take care of themselves and police any problems that arise without requiring the presence of any official authorities. It is true that some students do cause problems; however, this is true of any demographic group.

To hold an entire group responsible for the actions of a few is the kind of stereotypical behavior that we as a community are trying to teach our young people to avoid.

Too often we depend on police officers and other authority figures to run our lives – despite the fact that these trusted officials spend much of their time in the wrong places, ordering burritos and chatting idly. It’s not their fault – they are only human, and cannot be expected to be everywhere at once.

But this is all the more reason to trust others to take responsibility for policing themselves, while limiting the number of police that our tax dollars must pay for, and our dependency on them.

Cory Triner,

Junior in ACES