Volume 95, Issue 84

Wednesday, March 13, 2002
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Caveman mentality

Editorial Cartoon

Editorial Board 2001-2002

Caveman mentality

With a recent string of random violent incidents in London and the Western community, this would seem an opportune time for all of us to look in the mirror.

Sadly, some of us may not like what we see.

Early Sunday morning, a cab driver was beaten by six males in their 20s after the cabbie refused to accommodate all of them in his vehicle.

On Sunday, an intramural basketball game at Alumni Hall erupted into a bench-clearing brawl.

Two separate incidents – each a reflection of a much greater problem.

To begin with, the absurdity of violence taking place at an intramural basketball game should be apparent to all. By their very nature, these games are intended to be lighthearted and fun.

According to intramural guidelines, such an incident results in the suspension of the offending player from intramural sports for one year. Would a life-time suspension be unreasonable?

The average student faces a number of frustrations on a daily basis and anger is a natural reaction. For most of us, however, it is a simple matter of self-control.

Alcohol often plays a prevalent role in these incidents, but being drunk is no excuse for the violent acts witnessed in this city.

Many in the Western community consider this city and this campus to be relatively safe. It is unsettling when these kind of pointless acts of violence do occur. Yet, almost everyone has experienced or knows someone who has been confronted with a random act of hostility.

Universities are too often a breeding ground for such violence. The prevalence of testosterone, ego, alcohol and ill-temper can lead to many negative consequences.

Unfortunately, there is no safe haven from this kind of lunacy. In London's bar scene, students often encounter violence by both sexes.

Obviously, on the dance floor of a crowded bar some contact with others occurs. What is frightening is that many people interpret incidental contact as a call to arms.

Stay home if you cannot deal with crowds, handle your temper or your liquor. Stay home if you cannot handle the thrill of athletic competition without taking your aggression one step too far.

We need to approach each other with a basic level of respect for human life. The two, seemingly isolated, Sunday incidents are simply an indicator of a long-standing problem.

Many people capable of such random violent actions sit next to us in the classroom – they may even be our friends or roommates.

For those of us who have over-stepped that line, there comes a time to examine ourselves. Aggression is not a way to deal with inflated ego or insecurity.

With a little perspective and foresight on the part of some individuals, this city and this university could be a safer place for us all.

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Copyright The Gazette 2002