Barstool Follow Up
By Rudy Dousset
Upon arriving at the front gates of the Washington Armory on Thursday, Oct. 18, I could sense an invisible bubble of adrenaline stretching as hundreds of impatient University at Albany students lined up to experience the most hyped-up event of the semester; the Barstool Blackout Foam Party.
Moments later, the bubble burst as a verbal altercation between a police officer and a partygoer turned physical when blows from each testosterone-overdosing party started flying back and forth.
Shit had just gotten real.
In the blink of an eye, the semi-orderly line had turned into a mosh pit, opposing the outnumbered police force to the outgunned college students.
Meanwhile, sidewalks on all sides became full to capacity as the macho V8-powered Police Interceptors closed off both ends of the block, effectively keeping everyone between Lark and Dove streets hostage.
The police proceeded to shove the school of student sardines out of their way; unfortunately for them, cattle prods lacked from their already zealous arsenal.
A chill ran down my spine when I noticed that Albany’s finest, those devoted to protect and serve, became blind with rage, looking ready to punish and enslave anyone who stood in their way.
After being told to “fuck off” by an officer, I came back home with the consolation that at least nothing could have gone any worse, and the following weekend’s Masquerave event would more than compensate for the 18th’s disappointment.
As it turns out, injuring three policemen has a wide array of consequences.
One consequence was the arrest of seven alleged perpetrators.
Another was the punishment of Albany’s young and reckless as a whole. The city of Albany issued a cease-and-desist order to the Washington Armory, preventing it from hosting events that aren’t related to sports.
Although the Armory holds a special permit allowing it to host concerts, it needs a redundant cabaret license to host live entertainment of any kind.
This new bureaucratic obstacle shows the extent of the zoning board’s deceit once we consider that the Armory has been hosting events of this type, without incidents, for decades.
The city and the police department’s attempt to spitefully undermine Albany’s only congregational environment for students puts the future of coming events for which hundreds, if not thousands of tickets have already been sold, into question.
Masquerave, Wet and Reckless with Dillon Francis, the Nas/Jadakiss concert, and Fantazia 360 have all been “postponed” until a compromise can be reached.
This abuse of power has been coupled with an increasing police presence downtown, where all the rave-goers are now forced to wander.
Indefinitely shutting down the Armory wastes the police department’s own resources, as supplementary outfits are needed to patrol the more crowded (and rowdy) streets.
Many rumors have been circulating concerning the outbreak of the Barstool disaster.
Had tickets been oversold, the Armory would have been to blame, and a cease-and-desist would have been deserved. Had a drunken student randomly assaulted an officer, it would have been understandable if some measures had been taken against the student body as a whole.
Neither of these scenarios are accurate. The doors were scheduled to open at nine p.m., as opposed to the Armory’s habitual policy of letting people in at seven or eight.
This time lapse led to a higher than expected flux of students trying to enter once the doors finally opened, leading to would-be attendees, who had paid in advance for their tickets, being turned down. Of course, this caused uproar and the corresponding overreaction from the police, who decided to close the Armory’s doors for good.
Those in charge of the party’s logistics are therefore to blame, as a large group of students having paid upwards of 40 dollars for a night of thrills cannot be blamed for adopting a kind of mob mentality.
This is obviously an isolated incident, and the UAlbany student body should not be penalized.
Continuing the Armory’s lockout will only increase disdain and hatred of the police force, in addition to keeping partygoers from the city’s only safe and contained large-scale music venue.