SAVAGERY AND CULTURE

by michael on April 7, 2011

 I have been reading about the savage beating of Bryan Stow at Dodgers Stadium after the baseball game. Here is one headline: Beaten Giants fan may have brain damage

Two men (difficult to use such a noun for these monsters) savagely beat Bryan Stow after the game. Stow is a 42-year-old paramedic and father of two, from Santa Cruz. Stow was in a medically-induced coma.

“Both of (the assailants) pushed Bryan from behind,” says Stow’s brother-in-law, David Collins. “He never saw them coming. And Bryan fell forward and hit his head on the concrete and was immediately knocked unconscious.”

But the beating, says CBS News correspondent Ben Tracy, went on, and police say a crowd of more than 100 watched before paramedics on bicycles came to Stow’s rescue.

Even before the attack, Stow texted family members that the atmosphere inside the stadium was scary compared to home games in San Francisco.

“The safety is not the same,” says John Stow, Bryan’s cousin. “It’s definitely not the same. We knew that, Bryan knew that going into it, but I don’t think he could ever have imagined that it would be like this.”

Questions abound:

According to Wikipedia, violence by supporters of sports teams dates back to Roman times, when supporters of chariot racing teams were frequently involved in major riots. A notable example of this is the Nika riots of 532.

Maybe so.

But this is different, and a professional baseball game or football game or hockey game is not a Roman spectacle. Society was supposed to have elevated over the past two thousand years give or take a few weekends.

Can the degradation of our society, of our culture be stopped? Attending sports events used to be family friendly occasions. There was no cursing and vile language as a general rule. People dressed well. Drinking was well under control.

It is difficult to fathom “a crowd of more than 100 watched before paramedics on bicycles came to Stow’s rescue.”

One hundred presumably human beings, probably mostly if not all male, watched a man get beaten while rendered unconscious! This could not happen when I was a child attending baseball games.

Now attending a sports event can place one’s life in danger. The point is that this Dodger game is not an isolated incident.

A key issue: what forces are there in society now that act as countervailing forces to such thuggish behavior? What institutions effectively advance honor and civility and self-discipline? Religion used to be such an institution, but religious institutions have changed and, irrespective, they are constantly under assault.

What world are we creating for our children?

Comments welcome

More later

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