Victoria Snelgrove's Death: Who's Responsible?

Sports fans and even non sports fans alike are now all aware of the unfortunate and untimely death of the 21-year old who was inadvertently shot in the eye with a "pepper ball" purportedly similar to a paint ball with mace/pepper substance in it. The questions abound following this incident as it has developed into a sizeable controversy. Nevertheless, it is what it is.

First of all allow me to state that this is tragic. It really is. But with all the ruminations, the natural question arises "why did this happen?"

At first reports, as usual, the slant is towards an overzealous police force that stepped out of bounds in patrolling a situation whereby some fans, mostly young ones it would appear, were simply celebrating. Forget that those "celebrations" included arson on a vehicle(s), a very dangerous thing in and of itself. As well, please do not count me in among those that generally give the police carte blanche authority trusting that their actions and motives are always good, honest, and proper. I have lived long enough to understand that this clearly is not the case. But in this case they did nothing wrong barring some further revelation that the shot in question was intended for the face of one of those people in among the mob of rioters and one that was not involved in addition.

So what is the problem?!?! Not the symptom, but the real root problem here?

Every night, and I mean that, nearly every single night in this country, or day, people, hundreds of thousands of them, many often intoxicated to one extent or another, get up out of their seats in arenas, often with capacities three times that of Fenway park, behave like civil human beings, and go home or out to bars and restaurants without any similar incident whatsoever.

Does this country really need a public relations ad campaign ranting "Friends Don't Let Friends Behave Like Wild Animals on PCP just because their team won at a certain level!" What ever happened to simply getting excited over a win and leaving the stadium like civilized people to go to the nearest bar to drink yourself into next week if that's your choice because you have no life otherwise and cannot control your primal urges?

So whose fault was this? We know who will end up picking up the tab. That will be the Boston PD and therefore the city meaning that the good citizens of Boston will pay whatever the lawsuits yield. And make no mistake, the lawyers will be getting more than their share for this! Surely several lawyers are rubbing their hands at the prospect of being able to involve themselves in lawsuits here.

The ones that should be sued here are the punk instigators of the mob violence and unrest, not the police who were acting in the public's best interests in attempting to control the damage and violence. In fact, these lawyers don't really care about the truth, they rarely do. Their legal "procedures" and money are the prime factors in most lawyers' lives, at least the ones that I have run across for one reason or another. They have created this tidy little system within which they operate in where truth takes a back seat to procedure and money very often. When there's the whiff of cash, the trial lawyers will be gathered like vultures circling above awaiting the first opportunity to get involved and grab as much as they can.

But make no mistake, the money comes first for them even over truth, decency, or morality. So they'll go after those with the "deep pockets." Ergo, don't expect any truth or fact finding to come from them as to what the root problem of this actually is! So we cannot expect any help there.

Because the people who initiated these riots are likely too stupid and too unambitious to have put themselves in a situation such that they are wealthy, clearly they won't be the targets of these lawsuits. If they are intelligent enough to have made themselves wealthy, then why they would involve themselves in such behavior really raises questions as to their mental stability. The city, your city Red Sox fans, will be the target.

As well, it is good to see that the city did not ban beer sales at Fenway for the forthcoming World Series. There is no reason why an entire region of several million people should be made to pay for the actions of a handful of morons who decide that an unprecedented comeback series is license for violent criminal activity, civil disorder and disobedience. Most people have absolutely no trouble having a few beers without it giving them inclinations to run out, riot, and burn down their environs. Quite frankly, it would not surprise me at all to discover that many of those participating in these crimes were not in fact drunk at all.

Not to diminish the grief of her surviving family members in the least, in fact I empathize with them fully, but the NFL equivalent to this is the reactionary shove or hit to one levied by a player yet before the officials were looking at the instigating hit. Everyone is upset, insofar as football goes, when one of the players on their team is flagged/penalized for taking a retaliating hit against a player who levied one first, usually a much larger one. So why doesn't this mentality carry over to real life?

This incident and others like it should not happen. But what else should not happen, which would prevent the former from occurring, is fans seeming to believe that they have the right to overturn cars, set them on fire, and destroy other property. This incident never would have happened had this mob not begun acting in disregard for the property of the city, the private property of others, not to mention the welfare of others. All for what?

I can tell you this, if I had been in a situation, at any time during my life, whereby one of my friends took to setting a vehicle on fire, I would have slapped him in the head and asked him exactly what he thought he was doing. Almost assuredly there would have been a brawl between us had he not come to his senses post haste! He then likely would have ceased to be my friend. Such a person would have likely never been my friend to begin with however. Regardless, that would be my advice to anyone in such a mob in the future.

If you happen to see this type of behavior developing, think about yourselves and those around you and then police these actions yourselves. Better serious injury to a person contemplating and attempting to instigate a violent crime such as these than the death of an innocent person, or people, simply celebrating a historic moment while legally reveling in that moment. It never even has to develop. Why it does is one of the mysteries of the modern sports era. Championships these days seem to include privileges that formerly were reserved for pirates in much more barbaric times throughout the history of humankind.

Nevertheless, what's done is done. Ms. Snelgrove's life will not be restored like the good will between two feuding players on the football field can. It also will not be restored because of a lawsuit or any amount of money awarded as a result. Certainly her family members will not consider any amount of cash any sort of fair exchange for their precious daughter, sister, or relative's life!

So who is at fault? Certainly it is not the police who were doing their jobs and preventing the situation from growing. Certainly people with the mindset who started the riots would have considered it license to go further had the police not intervened. To think otherwise is foolish and naïve.

Nor was it the victim's fault. She was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. But I will say that if I ever do find myself in a mob of rioting "fans", criminals really at that point, but that may be splitting hairs, I will run like hell away from whatever is going on. I would have done this even in my younger years. Of course I, along with many other millions of Americans, was raised with a degree of concern for the welfare of society in general and taught to respect the property and rights of others. Apparently such upbringing is absent these days. What else would incite people to begin rioting over a simple sporting event!

I will also expect the police to act in the interests of the law abiding, not of those perpetrating such violence and those around them. Innocent fans celebrating should simply run from such behavior allowing the authorities to take actions against those instigating them. Many do begging the question why others do not.

Common sense should be the thing inside anyone's head with its hand raised the highest at that point. Regard for one's own safety would be part and parcel of that same common sense and reason. Regardless, it was the fault of those who began behaving like wild animals feeling as if they had liberties nowhere provided in the U.S. Constitution, Massachusetts State, or even Boston City law. That is whose fault this was, not the police who were simply attempting to control a situation that begged to be controlled as well as to prevent it from escalating to what may have in fact been a far worse situation in which many more deaths may have resulted and not at their hands. Surely past sports related rioting resulting in far more property damage and civil unrest serves as a basis for assuming this.

So thank you Boston police for preventing this incident from expanding causing even more damage to property and perhaps even lives or very serious injury to who knows how many others! Others, perhaps a father and his son innocently walking in the area or any other possible combinations of fans simply trying to have a good time on the heels of their historic series win. We realize that in this day and age that you have enough stress on your jobs with simple terrorist designs in one of the biggest and most targeted cities in this nation to not have to deal with a handful of punk riot instigators.

The rioters had begun on a path to destroy the property of others, other individual law abiding citizens, and generate a major civil disturbance. Now, perhaps they were on drugs or alcohol. In that case, then those people should have a legal order placed on them that they are never to drink or use drugs (which are already illegal) again. If they cannot have a few beers without behaving like animals, then they should never drink again. Even if they have a twelve pack and behave like that, then they should never drink again. They are people dangerous to society at large!

No one is that foolish to believe that is the case however. The truth of the matter is that this type of behavior is inexcusable. Simply because society and municipalities do excuse it and often allow for a certain level of it does not alter that fact.

How many more Victoria Snelgrove's have to die for the actions of a very small number of people relatively speaking who feel it is their right to burn and destroy things without regard to human life as the results of the outcomes of sporting events? This has gone on far too long in the modern era. I am beginning to think that perhaps the actions of the police were not stringent enough. Maybe next time they should position a few snipers to find the ones actually conducting these arsons and then pick them off dead in order to preserve the lives of others simply out for a good time.

If that's what it takes to save the lives of hundreds or thousands more, then perhaps it should be considered. In fact, in hindsight, if the options would have been shooting the first person to attempt to set fire to a vehicle in the head, dead, or having innocent and civilized Victoria Snelgrove die as a result of that person's forthcoming consequences instead, then at least to me the decision is clear. Since the immediate future in such confrontations cannot be predicted, those are the tough decisions. Why people who seek to destroy property of others without regard for the lives of anyone around them should be given any consideration here is beyond reason. Yet, they appear to be the ones who are the most protected.

Such violence after sporting events has gotten way, way, way out of hand in this country. It's roots only go back a decade or so and it has gone largely uncontrolled by police for fear that they will be viewed as being too heavy-handed. Either the police are there to prevent and/or control it or they are not. To expect perfection in the control and policing thereof when unruly criminals are involved is asinine. That is an entire article and even book in itself. Well, it either needs to start being much more stringently controlled and heavy-handed or perhaps the laws altered to permit it. Heck, if it is permissible in public, then why shouldn't the privilege extend to others around the country in their neighborhoods!

Before major sporting events, you hang the sign of your fandom, if it applies to you, in your front window of your home. You run down to the local gas station to fill a few five-gallon containers with gas. I can see the conversation now: "Hey Mr. Smith, getting ready to go on a trip?" "Hey Bill, no, just getting ready for the victory party tonight. I sure hope we win!"

Later on that evening, if your team wins, and you had the "winning sign" in your window, then you are entitled to disrupt peace in your neighborhood. You quickly round up the family, "come on kids, let's go set the Miller's cars on fire…We won! Billy, you take the gasoline, pour it in their pool, and set it on fire! Come on, let's GOOO…."

Then out goes the family, just like the Ku Klux Klan did for years, torches in hand, they overturn the neighbor's cars, throw things through their windows, nothing personal of course, damage their property and then threaten their lives indirectly. Then the neighborhood can pitch in and have Mr. Miller's house and property repaired or rebuilt after the evening ends. If someone dies, ehh, it was only an unintended side effect, again, nothing personal.

Maybe those are the laws that need to be enacted in order for this country to return to civility in this way!

Crazy you say? I agree!

Then why do those tolerances exist in urban areas with pro teams and on college campuses!


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