A Couch! A Couch! My Jäger for a Couch!

My old town, Kent, Ohio, was in the news this week, thanks to a street party that turned into a beer-fueled, couch-burning riot.

Students on East College Street, just west of campus, began celebrating the end of the school year early Saturday. The party, advertised as College Fest, turned into a riot after police arrested one person. The crowd reacted to the arrest by throwing things at officers, who called for more officers, who were also pelted, Lt. John Altomare said at 3 a.m. in a news release.

The AP story on the riot includes this hilarious bit of college-student logic:

[Ben] Wolford said most students believe the violence probably could have been avoided.

“I think if they just blocked off the street, let kids have that road to party on for that night, it would’ve just been a party and people would’ve gone home,” he said.

Indeed. Maybe the police also could have gone on a beer run for the students, or been so kind as to see to their ‘herbal’ needs. Instead, they had to get all bogus and try to put out the bonfire of couches, doors, picnic tables, and electronic goods (including a flat screen TV) raging in the middle of the street.

In the aftermath, there are the usual charges of police brutality, but I’d say the cops were models of restraint. Watching the footage below makes me wish I could have shot these students with rubber bullets myself, or at least a water canon.

My sister (a proud KSU alum) claims she saw our old house on the news but I should like to remind her that we lived on the nice side of Willow, not couch-burning side. Now I will say that our original rental house on College Court looks like it was pretty close to the action, which seems to have been concentrated on E. College Avenue between S. Willow and S. Lincoln. It does take me back, though. Back in the day, I don’t mind saying that we partied pretty effing HARD, man, if by ‘party’ you mean root-beer-fueled marathon games of Risk and Monopoly.

Of course, it’s hard to get too homesick for Ohio when the UMASS students do so much to remind me of home.

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1 Response to A Couch! A Couch! My Jäger for a Couch!

  1. Twinkly Sparkles says:

    First off all, that was a perfectly good picnic table, not the puke-covered, flea-ridden, checkered-fabric (usually yellow and brown), “Value Furniture”-type couch I was used to seeing all over the lawns of student rentals every Spring in Kent. That tells me right there things have changed.

    I do think there is a place for fire rituals and burning lots of big stuff in huge blazes for everyone to see and contribute to, but we lack any outlets for this kind of a thing in our culture. Clearly, this display is not what I have in mind. Like when you can hear someone on the video say, “Fuck the POlice, Bitch, ” I don’t get what part “bitch” has in that chant. It’s just confusing.

    Do these kids know that the last time students rioted in Kent, it was for a good cause?

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