The High Cost of Victory
Competitiveness is an aspect that has been ingrained into the human being. The survival for the fittest theory that tries to explain the evolutions of species, clearly puts it that only organisms that have the desired qualities as per the environment, will survive. The key factor under this consideration is desirable qualities, and that is the basis of completion. Competitions either for the sake of survival or for the love of a game is based on the premise of the winner being the be with the better quality. However, in the recent past there have been worrying development in sports where the competitiveness is brought outside the defined sphere, leading to confrontations and sometimes loss of lives by fans and police. A number of unfortunate events in the recent past have led to death of people following wins or losses in competition. This paper looks at the nature of such unrest and determines the effects they have on the objectives and nature of competitive sports.
There has always been controversy on whether basketball, football or baseball is America’s favorite sports, however there was no doubt about the joy and elation in the hearts of the Boston Celtic fans when they won the NBA title in 2008. Boston which is home to the champions was in a partying mood which unfortunately led to the death of one fan, after police tried to subdue him for causing violence. According to Lewis (2007), this is not a first time event, since in 2004 the police shot and killed a 20 year old student with paper spray, after thousands had taken on the streets and celebrated violently, following the Boston Red Sox win of the world series.
It is worth noting that the events often involve loss of lives, injuries, and damage to personal property due to violence among the fans and the effects of their confrontations with the police. In a different case, New England Patriots celebration of Super Bowl Victory turned tragic when police killed a fan during confrontations. These are very disturbing events, since they suggest a form of impunity for the officers involved. Clearly such incidents occurring within short durations point to a weakness in the legal system or trend, where officers believe that they are immune to the law.
The police have an ethical responsibility to protect the lives and property of all people, without discrimination on any grounds. In these situations, the police have a responsibility of protecting the lives and property of the people under threat. If the crowd is unruly, the police have a responsibility of protecting property that can be damaged, or people who can be injured. This is according to their professional training and ethics that defines their role in protecting people and property.
It is however a difficult responsibility to perform, since one cannot differentiate the guilty or innocent party in a hostile crowd. However, this does not allow the police to use lethal force, if there is no lethal danger. According to Margolis (2005), police officers are only allowed to use lethal force if they are preventing extensive damage of property, are protecting themselves and others from lethal force, or are preventing people from escaping from police custody. In the other situations, the police can use batons, tear gas, water cannons and other means of crowd dispersal. When they start using live ammunition against people with pepper sprays, we should be very worried. The implications of these incidences is showing us that we are not safe, even in a celebration mood in our neighborhoods.
The major issues that arise are the challenges police face in such situations, and the person to blame for tragedies occurring after confrontations. The police are also not entirely to blame for these incidences. Unruly fans who damage property and attack others put them in a difficult situation. It is difficult for anyone to control unruly crowds, especially if they are armed with any weapon, even if it is a paper spray. Some police men and women do not possess the necessary gear to protect themselves, during such confrontation. This may be one reason that makes them use lethal force. There are also issues that arise about the origin of such violence. It defeats logic when fans fight, while they are celebrating their team’s performance. This can however be traced to use of drugs and alcohol when celebrating, and it hinders the ability of the fans to make rational decisions.
Conclusion and recommendation.
It has been seen that police are unfair to use lethal force against people who do not possess lethal weapons. Such police men and women who engage in such acts have actually committed murder. It is important to note that although the police are unjustified in committing these acts, they actually face challenges that sometimes make them perform irrational actions. It is the duty of fans to control themselves when celebrating, so that they do not pose a threat to others and their property. The police have a duty to use reasonable force when dispersing crowds. It is the duty of everyone to maintain peace, and everyone should be held accountable for their actions.
Margolis, J. A. (2005). Violence in Sports: Victory at what Price? New York: Enslow Publishers.
Lewis, J. M. (2007). Sports Fan Violence in North America. Washington: Rowman & Littlefield.