Re: soccer violence as a model for post-scarcity gesellschaft

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jun 19 2000 - 10:01:16 MDT

Joao Magalhaes wrote:
> Hi!
> You wrote:
> >Seasonal riots? Really? Never heard of them. Do you mean riots in the big
> >cities
> >like LA once a decade???
> Yep.

They are not seasonal. They are set off by specific acts of the LA Police

> >Note that the social and legal systems in cities like
> >LA are as opressive as any european country (and far more racist).
> I didn't know we lived in a oppressive society? A question: since Europeans
> live in an oppressive society and legal system, how come we never riot as
> it happens in LA? No racism?

I don't know what kind of exaggeration you get on your media, but we see all
kinds of rioting in the news going on in europe: the french on trade and labor
reforms, the germans against immigrants, then you've got your organized violence
in the Balkan states.

> >Cities that
> >don't have such oppressive laws have very european level violent crime rates,
> >while few places in the US have property crime rates at even a small
> >fraction of
> >the huge amount over there in europe. Moreover, non-gun violent crime in
> >europe
> >pretty closely matches that seen in most of the urban US, while suburban and
> >rural violence is far lower.
> I believe it was you who said that there is one gun for each American;
> assuming that premise, measuring non-gun violent crimes in the US is
> insignificant.

Not so. Only a fraction of violent crime here is gun related, and I did not say
that every American has a gun. I did say that there were about 240 million guns
in the US. Most gun owners own more than one gun. Moreover, not all gun owners
carry a gun, and those with carry permits do not carry at all times.

Having a gun when contfronted with an armed criminal (knife, club, etc)
increases your survivability by a factor of 2.5. on average.

I think many foreigners have a very different understanding of crime, based upon
a story I just heard from the marketing guy here at Datamann from his trips to
visit freinds in Rio:

His freinds are wealthy, and have a few guards on staff, their house is gated.
However, more theives are armed with guns now, and will frequently wait by your
gate, and stick you up there. He will make you open the gate, and follow you
into your house, where he will rob everyone.

Andy asked one of the guards on staff what would happen if you didn't give up
your stuff. The guard said, "he will shoot you". Andy asked,"What would happen
if you gave him your stuff?". The guard replied,"He will go away."

Andy said to the guard,"Ah, so there are rules to crime here. In America, they
will take your stuff and then shoot you as well." The guard looked horrified,
and said,"THATS not right!"

> >New York fans are considered the rudest and most offensive fans in the US (I
> >recall all the Mariners/Yankees playoffs games I went to a 5 years ago, where
> >New York fans were throwing garbage on the outfield..The Seattle fans
> >wanted to
> >go out and sort it for recycling...;) ), so if you were amazed at the
> >goings on
> >at a New York game, then you would be stunned at a major league game in most
> >other cities.
> I forgot to mention what is probably the major cause for non-violence in US
> sports: geography. How many Pacers fans are going to LA to see the NBA
> Finals tonight? 10, 20?

Er, no. The US is a highly mobile society, you will frequently see at least 10%
of the spectators at a game being opposing fans in normal games. In playoff
games there will frequently be 20-40% of the spectators being fans of the
visiting team. Most fans are not geographically deterministic. I, for example,
live in New Hampshire, but my favorite baseball team is the Seattle Mariners, my
favorite football team is the San Francisco 49ers, my favorite hockey team is
the New York Islanders.

> It depends on including the players and their
> relatives or not. Well, in European sports when, say, the major Portuguese
> clubs face each other, they can well have as high as 50'000 fans each in
> the same place; and there's when the problems begin. US sports fans are
> never really in contact with one another, are they?

Yes, they are, they frequently go to the games together.

> Perhaps except the
> Superbowl but that's an annual event where only the richest people go, so
> it doesn't really count.

Who is the richest? I know plenty of non-rich people who've been to the
Superbowl. When I went to every game of the ABL playoffs the Mariners were in,
including flying to New York City from Seattle, at the time I was definitely not

> Actually, and since one of you mentioned Houston,
> I remember some problems when the Rockets won the NBA a few years ago; or
> was it when the Broncos won the NFL? I also remember that the Jazz fans
> insulted with obsceneties the Bulls' players in the NBA Finals. So we are
> not that different, you just miss the fans confrontations because they
> never meet.

Such incidents are so rare, that they are news when they do occur.

> >As to the rest of your post, Mike, I'll reiterate what I've said before about
> >the level of violence in the US: Most non-US folks have a wildly inflated
> >idea of the level of violence here, based on our movies and the filter of our
> >own "news" media, re-amplified by the local media in their own country who
> >further blow the violence here out of proportion. I've had many fairly comic
> >moments as a regular host of non-Americans on their first trips to the US,
> >watching as they look for the burning buildings from the "annual riots", the
> >running gun battles in the streets and the uninterrupted cross-country high
> >speed car chases . . . they seem a little disappointed, I think, when it all
> >turns out to be a glamorous exaggeration.
> I actually saw the Miami police performing an arrest on my first trip to
> the US; I've never watched an arrest in Portugal in my life. But my
> personal experience is not important. The fact remains that Washington has
> the second highest murder rates of all cities worldwide not in a state of
> war (second to Rio de Janeiro). Of course that the US is not Beirut. But
> for me, a Portuguese used to a society with a very low level of violent
> crimes, the idea that you can get into an argument with a driver or
> whatever and he pulls off a gun is a scary one; something that is very
> unlikely, to say the least, to happen in Portugal.

Washington DC also has one of the most restrictive gun laws in the country. Name
any other high crime city in the US, and you will find a city with extremely
restrictive gun laws. As I've said before, almost everyone I have known
personally that has visited europe has been robbed at least once while they were
there, they've had their hotel rooms robbed, their cars broken into or stolen,
and bags snatched out of their hands. The brazenness of theives in europe to me
is incredible, and testament to the fact that they know there is little a person
can do to defend themselves against robbery in europe. I've heard many stories
of women mugged and raped with bystanders just walking by, ignoring what went
on. Non-gun crime is so prevalent I beleive that most people there just don't
see it, or refuse to see it.

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