Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. Report on the Pumpkin Riots in Keene, NH

 

Keene is a small city in a quiet corner of New Hampshire. It is quintessential New England: traditional architecture, small-town feel, beautiful foliage, and civic pride. Bordering Vermont and Massachusetts, it has a touch of the gray-haired Yankee hippy with localvore, local-this and local-that, mixing commerce and idealism. A college town — Keene State College abuts the downtown area — it has plenty of Volvos and Subarus.

For more than 20 years, Keene has hosted its annual Pumpkin Festival, a combination Halloween and Harvest Festival that regularly is the largest congregation of carved pumpkins in the world, briefly turning this quiet, bucolic town into a tourist destination for thousands of visitors. Lately, HGTV has gotten in on the act with reality shows from the event. Every state-wide and regional politician — both incumbents and challengers — was there, pressing the flesh. Scott Brown, in particular, was a huge hit this year.

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In this age of terrorism, the security concerns for a soft target like this are taken seriously, but dealt with appropriately. You don’t see the drones in the air but they are there. The police are discrete yet present. It is a fun, happy place with lots of family-friendly activities, including a fun Halloween parade for the little ones (and not so little ones).

This year riots came.

Rowdy Night Ushers in Keene Pumpkin Festival” (NH Union Leader)

Mayhem erupts Saturday in neighborhoods near Keene State campus” (SentinelSource)

Several injuries reported as police clash with students near campus of Keene State College in New Hampshire” (Mass Live)

City of Keene quiet Sunday, one day after chaotic scene” (WMUR-TV)

As you can imagine, the students of Keene State use the Pumpkin Festival as an excuse for a big party, and they invite their friends from out of town and out of state. Lately, neighboring schools — and there are many — send busloads of students to Keene for the festival. This year, UNH, Dartmouth, and Boston area schools also sent buses. Not just college students, but lots of non-collegiate twenty-somethings as well. These ingredients have long been here, but this year the mixture was volatile. Last year there was an inkling, with a college party getting out of hand. But nothing like this year.

Supposedly the troubles started with a five-way fight near campus. Groups of kids around the fighters started throwing beer bottles at each other. Then street signs were pulled out of the ground. Then they started flipping cars. By then the police had them cordoned away from the rest of the festival.

My family and I were working at the food booth my son’s scout troop has at the festival. If it weren’t for everyone’s twitter/news feeds going off on their smartphones, we would never have known about the mayhem, even though the bad events were 4-5 blocks away. The festival continued very nicely and the bad behavior was contained, even as the rumor mill worked overtime. The aftermath of news reports and social media are how the bulk of festival-goers learned about the Pumpkin riots. Nevertheless, the riots were bad and lasted late into the night, including fires being set in the street.

The police were excellent, and handled the situation as well as can be expected. Officials kept cool heads and did not overreact, but displayed firmness and resolve. They were in regular police uniforms, not SWAT gear (although there was a SWAT team in back-up as appropriate for an event as big as this).

As the situation escalated, back-up forces came from the rest of the state, as well as Massachusetts and Vermont. They worked to contain the rioters and minimize the harm. At one point they dispelled the bulk of the rioters with a traditional riot gear phalanx march and pepper spray. Then they steadily tightened the noose and dispersed the crowd via various means, while arresting the hard-core and providing medical attention to the injured. No shots fired, no batons cracked heads. Plenty of arrests. Lots of pictures for trials from the overhead drone cameras and social media. The law and insurance companies will not have trouble finding the perpetrators who got away.

It would not have been fun if you were caught in it, or if your car was one of those flipped. But that was the fault of the rioters, not the police.

Search on Twitter at #Pumkinfest, #PumpkinFest, #Pumpkinfest Police, #PumpkinSpiceRiots for pictures and comments. Twitter is full of comments comparing this to Ferguson. This was not Ferguson. It is ridiculous the degree to which everything is racial now (thanks to the Left for “heightening” racial awareness).

Perhaps the best explanation why they did it is from a nondescript, excited punk who said he was from Haverhill Mass. — “it’s fun to do things you’re not supposed to.”

There are 58 comments.

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  1. Albert Arthur Lincoln

    I’m glad your family wasn’t in the middle of this!

    Too bad scoundrels do things like this.

    • #1
    • October 19, 2014, at 10:40 AM PDT
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  2. Blondie Thatcher

    Thanks for the on the ground report. In this day of 24/7 cable news, everything is blown up to giangantic proportions. Your account shows this not to have been true. All it takes is a couple of knuckleheads to start something.
    Good for the police to have handled this situation in a professional manner. I only hope the actions of a few idiots don’t cause town leaders to decide not to continue what sounds like a nice tradition.

    • #2
    • October 19, 2014, at 11:37 AM PDT
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  3. iDad Inactive

    I blame GOP funding cuts.

    • #3
    • October 19, 2014, at 12:08 PM PDT
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  4. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Albert Arthur:I’m glad your family wasn’t in the middle of this!

    Too bad scoundrels do things like this.

    Thanks. It was a smaller version of the Occupy and A types.

    • #4
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:26 PM PDT
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  5. Richard Fulmer Member

    No Caesar:Perhaps the best explanation why is from a non-descript, excited punk who said he was from Haverhill MA, “it’s fun to do things you’re not supposed to.”

    Hurting people and destroying their property (and that part of their lives they spent earning it) is fun. I guess that I’ll go on being conservative/libertarian. Being a caring, loving progressive is just too mean.

    • #5
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:28 PM PDT
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  6. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Blondie:Thanks for the on the ground report. In this day of 24/7 cable news, everything is blown up to giangantic proportions. Your account shows this not to have been true. All it takes is a couple of knuckleheads to start something. Good for the police to have handled this situation in a professional manner. I only hope the actions of a few idiots don’t cause town leaders to decide not to continue what sounds like a nice tradition.

    When asked about the future of the Pumpkin Festival, the mayor (who happens to be a friend) wisely said that it was too early to say. He plans to calmly and clearly look at the facts after matters had been dealt with.

    • #6
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:29 PM PDT
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  7. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Richard Fulmer:

    No Caesar:Perhaps the best explanation why is from a non-descript, excited punk who said he was from Haverhill MA, “it’s fun to do things you’re not supposed to.”

    Hurting people and destroying their property (and that part of their lives they spent earning it) is fun. I guess that I’ll go on being conservative/libertarian. Being a caring, loving progressive is just too mean.

    Yeah. Some have commented that this is due to the entitled mentality of modern college students. I suspect that has an effect, but riots are not a new thing (except in Keene NH). Others suggest it’s the nihilistic nature manifest in much of modern culture. I think there’s a good argument there. I felt his words perfectly captured that nihilism.

    These people were animals. At one point they had stopped and surrounded a car with a mother and her young daughter in it. She had taken a back street in trying to get over to the festival and passed by one of the bacchanals. They rocked the car and laughed as they terrified the little girl. They are lucky I wasn’t driving that car, I would have run them over.

    • #7
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:33 PM PDT
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  8. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    It’s only a matter of time before Hassan employs that.

    • #8
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:36 PM PDT
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  9. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Boston.com has some good videos and pictures.

    • #9
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:46 PM PDT
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  10. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Drudge is linking to the story too. He has linked a good article in the Boston Globe. And another on Reuters.

    • #10
    • October 19, 2014, at 2:51 PM PDT
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  11. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Back from being out with the Boy Scout troop cleaning things up this afternoon. The town is really in shock over this. It’s the only topic of conversation. People feel violated.

    • #11
    • October 19, 2014, at 3:00 PM PDT
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  12. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    • #12
    • October 19, 2014, at 3:22 PM PDT
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  13. Danny Alexander Inactive

    I myself am from the suburban northwest of Boston — I’ll readily admit that my living circumstances are classifiable as “overly comfortable cocoon,” but that doesn’t mean I don’t know my local towns and the character of more than a few of them.

    Which is to say, if anyone thinks they can racialize this incident, they’d better double-check on how many buddies this punk from Haverhill arrived in Keene with.

    (Cue video of “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”…)

    • #13
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:10 PM PDT
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  14. Rightfromthestart Coolidge

    I guess we’re not supposed to punch the punk’s teeth out, but it sure would be fun.

    • #14
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:17 PM PDT
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  15. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Danny Alexander:I myself am from the suburban northwest of Boston — I’ll readily admit that my living circumstances are classifiable as “overly comfortable cocoon,” but that doesn’t mean I don’t know my local towns and the character of more than a few of them.

    Which is to say, if anyone thinks they can racialize this incident, they’d better double-check on how many buddies this punk from Haverhill arrived in Keene with.

    (Cue video of “Pretty Fly for a White Guy”…)

    Oh he was white as could be, a wanna be tough guy.

    • #15
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:29 PM PDT
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  16. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Rightfromthestart:I guess we’re not supposed to punch the punk’s teeth out, but it sure would be fun.

    Even moreso, one kid on social media was complaining about the “po-lice”shooting tear gas and pepper cannisters at them. “They were just havin’ fun.”

    • #16
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:31 PM PDT
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  17. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy:

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    And lack of an income tax.

    • #17
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:32 PM PDT
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  18. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No Caesar:

    Misthiocracy:

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    And lack of an income tax.

    Won’t somebody think of the children!?

    • #18
    • October 19, 2014, at 4:57 PM PDT
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  19. Albert Arthur Lincoln

    No Caesar:

    Misthiocracy:

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    And lack of an income tax.

    Why, yes, I am moving to New Hampshire in two weeks. *heavenly music plays in the background*

    • #19
    • October 19, 2014, at 6:15 PM PDT
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  20. Robert McReynolds Inactive

    Have you guys ever seen Clockwork Orange? Yeah that is what the Millennial Generation is. It’s too bad too because I know there are some good kids in that generation, but on the surface they are feral animals. Sorry your Pumpkin Festival was tainted, if you will, by these malcontents.

    • #20
    • October 20, 2014, at 1:27 AM PDT
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  21. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Robert McReynolds:Have you guys ever seen Clockwork Orange? Yeah that is what the Millennial Generation is. It’s too bad too because I know there are some good kids in that generation, but on the surface they are feral animals. Sorry your Pumpkin Festival was tainted, if you will, by these malcontents.

    None of the characters in A Clockwork Orange were privileged college students.

    • #21
    • October 20, 2014, at 7:13 AM PDT
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  22. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Albert Arthur:

    No Caesar:

    Misthiocracy:

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    And lack of an income tax.

    Why, yes, I am moving to New Hampshire in two weeks. *heavenly music plays in the background*

    Welcome! A conservative vote to counter the CT & NYers (“flat-landers” in NH-speak) moving here for the low costs & natural beauty, and bringing their high-cost life style and politics with them.

    • #22
    • October 20, 2014, at 7:33 AM PDT
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  23. No Caesar Thatcher
    No CaesarJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Misthiocracy:

    Robert McReynolds:Have you guys ever seen Clockwork Orange? Yeah that is what the Millennial Generation is. It’s too bad too because I know there are some good kids in that generation, but on the surface they are feral animals. Sorry your Pumpkin Festival was tainted, if you will, by these malcontents.

    None of the characters in A Clockwork Orange were privileged college students.

    I blame social media. Seriously. It is too easy for the mal-adjusted and self-marginalized to find “kindred spirits”. They can quickly congregate like a hive of killer bees (flash-mobs) and sting everyone else. Also, everyone with an ax to grind now has a wider net to cast. Before they just were the tiresome crank in the “edgy” bar.

    • #23
    • October 20, 2014, at 7:37 AM PDT
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  24. Misthiocracy got drunk and Member
    Misthiocracy got drunk andJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    No Caesar:

    Misthiocracy:

    Robert McReynolds:Have you guys ever seen Clockwork Orange? Yeah that is what the Millennial Generation is. It’s too bad too because I know there are some good kids in that generation, but on the surface they are feral animals. Sorry your Pumpkin Festival was tainted, if you will, by these malcontents.

    None of the characters in A Clockwork Orange were privileged college students.

    I blame social media. Seriously. It is too easy for the mal-adjusted and self-marginalized to find “kindred spirits”. They can quickly congregate like a hive of killer bees (flash-mobs) and sting everyone else. Also, everyone with an ax to grind now has a wider net to cast. Before they just were the tiresome crank in the “edgy” bar.

    Rowdy, drunken college students have caused mayhem since long before social media.

    • #24
    • October 20, 2014, at 7:43 AM PDT
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  25. Tuck Inactive

    Surprisingly, NH has a pretty good history of riots, for a quiet New England state!

    “History of Laconia Motorcycle Week”

    http://www.weirsbeach.com/Largejpgs/bikeweekguidecovers.html

    They had a mini-riot in 1981, and some friends told me about it. Their tale of clouds of tear gas wafting past the motel made for an interesting evening.

    When I was there ~10 years later, the State Police presence started 10s of miles away, and the main street of Weirs Beach had a cop or trooper every 10 feet.

    There was no trouble at all.

    So I expect next year at Keene will be quite peaceful.

    • #25
    • October 20, 2014, at 9:23 AM PDT
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  26. ctlaw Coolidge

    This is the second most destructive thing busloads of Massachusetts college students have done in Keene after voting for Obama in 2008.

    • #26
    • October 20, 2014, at 10:22 AM PDT
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  27. GLDIII Temporarily Essential Reagan
    GLDIII Temporarily EssentialJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Albert Arthur:

    No Caesar:

    Misthiocracy:

    iDad:I blame GOP funding cuts.

    Clearly, it’s because of New Hampshire’s lack of sales tax.

    And lack of an income tax.

    Why, yes, I am moving to New Hampshire in two weeks. *heavenly music plays in the background*

    Not unless you get packing :)

    • #27
    • October 20, 2014, at 11:04 AM PDT
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  28. Ansonia Member
    AnsoniaJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member