After last night’s liturgy commission meeting, I walked with one of our students up the street toward her dorm. It was about 150 minutes before this unfortunate and senseless event began. She went south to the university, I pedaled north through what was going to be carnage just three hours later.
I can’t say that I agree with the HuffPo’s headline of a “Riot … For No Apparent Reason.” The reason seems very clear to me. A significant minority of my younger Iowan sisters and brothers simply cannot control their drinking.
It’s a failing I saw a generation ago in two parishes: the lure of forbidden alcohol and the search for cool. I don’t see much that’s different today. The culture of my city contributes to this. In between the churches, restaurants, and coffeehouses in the Campustown neighborhood are a number of bars. In a lot of places, a public business that vends C2H5OH is more or less an honorable one: people come together to socialize, and the drink might take a little edge off the gathering of strangers, acquaintances, or even friends.
Supposedly, about two-thirds of the students at the university are ineligible to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages. I suppose there are enough who can to maintain businesses that sell beer and other potables.
Some citizens feel relief that the week-long party known as VEISHEA has been cancelled this year. I don’t think it will be revived. I hope that doesn’t give some a cause to conduct another riot. I would only be confirmed in my belief that too many people in my neighborhood, my city, and my state, are just incapable of consuming certain beverages. It’s a place where everyone should know the name: addiction to booze.