Earlier this week we saw yet again what happens when thousands of the unemployed, living off subsidies from taxpayers, decide to take their grievances to the streets. This latest assault on decency and order happened in Columbus, Ohio, but the list of cities victimized in this way is long and growing. It’s often peaceful towns that are targeted—communities filled with law-abiding people who work for a living, who follow the rules, and who deserve better protection from law enforcement.
The thugs who prey on these neighborhoods wreak havoc, often with impunity. Responsible for neither jobs nor children, living off the earnings of others, these welfare kings and queens strut the streets at night, swilling alcohol, fornicating with abandon, and all too often, inciting violence against property and persons.
It’s an outrage, but more often than not it’s downplayed by the mainstream media, because their sympathies lie with the criminals. They want to excuse the riots, chalking them up to social pressures, or an understandable backlash against powerlessness. Many of them once participated in these kinds of riots themselves, though you won’t find that on anybody’s MSNBC profile.
Some journalists have the chutzpah to blame this lawlessness on the authorities, even as they chastise them for the slightest efforts to protect property and restore order. Treat these crowds of ne’er-do-wells with kid gloves, the media mavens opine, and they won’t turn violent. Big deal that they flipped a car or two. So what if they smashed a couple of storefront windows, stole a couple of televisions. They need to express themselves.
Poppycock. I, for one, say it’s high time we stop coddling these criminals, and instead enforce some real penalties for their parasitical behavior. Otherwise we’ll just encourage more of them to follow suit. They already number in the tens of thousands nationwide. They’ve grown accustomed to living off others, to having all society’s hard-earned prosperity laid at their feet for the taking. They’re so ignorant and undisciplined that they’ve even come to believe that they have a right to the fruit of others’ labor.
It’s time, in other words, to do something about the college students.
Now, I know the song-and-dance about the many challenges in their lives, and how these cause frustration, and a propensity to lash out. The immense pressures of the annual Pumpkin Festival in Keene, New Hampshire, for example, which led students to set fires and turn over cars last year. Or Michigan State’s big football and basketball losses, which have driven thousands of students into the East Lansing streets over the past decade.
The thing is, this hard-life excuse doesn’t hold water. College students are just as likely to riot when they win, as was the case this week in Columbus, after the Ohio State Buckeyes captured the national college football championship.
They riot when they lose. They riot when they win. They riot when their pumpkin-spice lattes aren’t the right temperature. When are we going to stop making excuses for this permanent criminal underclass, and start calling a spade a spade? Enough with all this psychobabble mumbo-jumbo about frustration and pent-up rage. It’s just a cover for bald-faced thuggery.And what else should we expect, when we insulate these people from responsibility? The average college student—even at a private college—receives thousands of dollars in taxpayer subsidies every year. The subsidies he gets from the unfortunate taxpayers singled out to pay an even higher tax to support his lifestyle, i.e., his parents, run many times higher than that.
Consider the sweet deal the average student gets. At others’ expense, he’s set up in fancy, state-maintained housing. He gets to arrange his own schedule, which often doesn’t even start until the afternoon, and leaves Fridays open.
He gets a plastic card with which to buy food. Even if it can’t be used for alcohol and tobacco, this frees up his money so he can buy all the booze and smokes he wants—something his weepy liberal defenders don’t want you to hear about. And don’t get me started on how he gets all those taxpayer-financed benefits without even having to submit to a drug test!
Worse still, this dependency is passed down from generation to generation. Studies prove that children of people who partook of the college subsidy racket are themselves much more likely to go on the dole when their time comes. Perhaps worst of all, the moochers who ride this gravy train the longest, leaping from their four-to-five year undergraduate vacation straight into who knows how many years of graduate school, often end up staying in for life, as professors, where they proceed to convince future generations that they’re entitled to the same gold-plated treatment.
The bottom line is that these people have a propensity to riot. Who can forget the deadly St. Scholastica Day riot at Oxford, back in 1355, for example? We need to stop pretending that students will be law-abiding citizens without serious penalties when they get out of line.
Mind you, I’m not saying all students are low-down, shiftless, thieving, violent thugs. Many work very hard. In fact, some of my best friends are students. I mean, I kind of know some students. But what else do we need to know, when the facts are right there for us to see on our televisions?
Tony Woodlief lives in North Carolina. His essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal and The London Times, and his short stories appeared in Image, Ruminate, Saint Katherine Review, and Dappled Things. His website is www.tonywoodlief.com.
Photo by JasonParis, used under the Creative Commons License.