What the recession means for the KSU riots

Kevin L. Clark

As the first 100 days of the Obama administration wind down, the students at my alma mater, Kent State, must have missed that “tweet” about the party being over. This past Saturday found an end-of-year college block party spiraling out of control as pellets and pepper spray were used to break up a riot.

And with the so-called “recession” in full swing, the insanity that happened spotlights a larger problem within the small town.

Folks have nothing to do, and after awhile they will create something out of nothing just to pass the time. As places for young folks to hang out at, on or off campus, have become nonexistent, the need for a bailout plan is apparent. Video posted on the Internet finds these future leaders of America hurling furniture and street signs into the flames as a SWAT team converged into the crowd.

Although I don’t condone the actions of my fellow Kent State Golden Flashes, I do understand the need to creatively express oneself. Furthermore, if what the news says is true, then there won’t be much fun for the graduating and incoming classes of 2009 for years to come. This was the first violent clash between students and the police – of this level – in years. In 1970, four Kent State students were killed by Ohio National Guard troops during a campus protest of the invasion of Cambodia.

My, how times have changed.

About 50 people, 25 of them students, were arrested, and several officers suffered injuries during the warm evening. Obama’s initiative will hopefully trickle down to the local level, as the recession means no fun in the sun for anyone under 21. If no aid comes, then I fear we’ve allowed the next generation to “twit” themselves out of a good time, and that’s no fun.

Kevin L. Clark is a former Kent State student, columnist for GIANT Magazine in New York City and guest columnist for the Daily Kent Stater.