I’ve always been fascinated by the opportunities presented by civil unrest- riots, looting, military coups etc….And this past weekend’s events at Kyrgyzstan James Madison ( http://deadspin.com/5514644/jmus-spring-party-turns-into-a-riot/gallery/) only reinforced my desire to participate in some full-blown riot. Why? Because riots are AWESOME.
Now, riots are like snowflakes- no two are exactly the same, however, there are a few general categories that most riots can be filed under:
1) Small scale- These are low-risk, low-reward uprisings that are usually quelled by riot-police in short order. Most involve nothing more than a few bonfires, some bottles being thrown and maybe a couple fights. Basically if Preakness was held on a city street. Examples of small-scale riots include: post-championship celebrations (unless you’re in Detroit), Woodstock ’99, my bedroom after I find out the Justin Bieber concert is sold out.
2) Political- These are generally high-risk, low-reward and should really be avoided for many reasons but here’s the biggest- If you’re enough of a hipster/yuppie/nerd to protest outside the G8 then chances are you’re not going to do anything cool when things start getting a little crazy. No one has ever smashed a bottle over someone’s head while listening to Trey Anastasio. Ever. You know who is badass and is also in attendance at these events? Riot-police. Ask the kids at Kent State how that worked out. Bottom line- like all other things in life, riots are still susceptible to being ruined by people like this- http://img.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2007/06_01/G8protestR0206_468x312.jpg . Examples- Kent State, Republican National Convention, the Evergreen when they raise the price of chai lattes.
3) Large scale- High risk, high reward. Now we’re talkin. Large-scale riots are AWESOME because they combine several of the most enjoyable things in life- outdoor drinking, justifiably wearing bandannas, the ability to arbitrarily break things and LOOTING. OH YEAH. Just once in my life I want to find myself in a situation where looting is rampant. Listen to Sublime’s April 26th, 1992 and tell me you don’t want to throw a cinder block through the windows of the nearest Best Buy. Examples LA Riots in ’92, Baltimore 1968, New Orleans 2005, anywhere in South America when a soccer team loses.
Here’s the order of the places I would loot: Walmart (because they have everything), Modells, Best Buy, liquor store, Warrior Emporium (the ninja store in Fed Hill), Home Depot, grocery store, Bed, Bath & Beyond.
Now, in my head, I’m like Sam Adams at the Boston Tea Party, leading the masses in defiance of tyranny AND getting a free XBOX out of it. In a real riot, I would probably just run around the streets giggling like an idiot until I get trampled by a police horse, which brings me to my next point- riot police and why they kick ass.
I think SWAT Team members treat political protests like we Brazilians treat Carnaval. They get tazers, pepper spray, shields, water cannons and uniforms that make them look like ninjas and get to attack a crowd full of coconuts named Flower and Bark. And the bean-bag gun, OH THE BEAN-BAG GUN. NOTHING in world would compare to shooting someone at point blank range with a bean bag going 200 miles per hour. www.youtube.com/watch?v=rYs6tU9xdg8&feature=related
4) Military Coups- A military coup would be fantastic if you were on the winning side, otherwise it would probably end with your family being killed, so lotta risk there. It doesn’t really matter because unless you’re in Central/South America, Eastern Europe or the continent of Africa, it doesn’t really affect you.
The #1 to-do on my bucket list is to be involved in a full-on riot. My plan is to start traveling to potentially volatile events and praying that a riot erupts. THAT would make for an awesome Travel Channel show. Now if you’ll excuse, I’ve gotta do some research on how to make a molotov cocktail.
UPDATE: Apparently rioting has some downsides, just ask this University of Maryland student- http://www.cnn.com/2010/CRIME/04/13/maryland.police.beating/index.html?hpt=T1