Rioting for the wrong reasons.

Keith Montes, Editor in Chief

San Francisco Giants fans have been exhibiting brighter smiles than usual. ‘BIRGing’ is the very likely culprit for the recent spike of happiness in our community.

The phenomenon I am referring to stands for “basking in reflective glory”. This glorious concept is a type of social identity theory which helps a person define their identity and role in society.

When a person assigns their loyalty to a particular sports team, they are creating and developing a part of their socially created identity.

BIRGing dictates that one is very likely to display their sport team’s regalia the day after a win. The recent barrage of black and orange paraphernalia flooding the campus and community is a testament to this.

According to a 2010 Auburn University study, “Fans who associate themselves with a favorite team attain feelings of vicarious achievement simply by being fans….”

Since I’ve never followed sports closely, I find the concept of identity association with any sports team completely foreign. Though it is important to note, BIRGing is not exclusive to sports.

My BIRGing experiences are related to social justice activism. I found myself basking in higher self-esteem and feelings of happiness when reading about a recent decision surrounding the infamous University of California, Davis pepper spray victim case.

Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California, stated in a Huffington Post interview that the UC system agreed to an award of, “$30,000 to each victim, $250,000 in attorney’s fees and a requirement for UC to set aside $100,000 for anyone else who can prove they were harmed or arrested during the incident.”

Though the suffering of the UC Davis pepper-spray victims cannot be equated to an arbitrary monetary amount, it brought to me feelings of satisfaction and justice to witness the UC system was held accountable for making such a violent decision against students and alumni for raising dissent in a peaceful fashion.

As I was recently witnessing images of SF Giants fans setting a SF Muni bus ablaze, turning cars over while piles of trash were simultaneously burning into the night’s darkness, this nagging question remained at the forefront of my mind… did I miss something or is the destruction of public transportation and causing general mayhem post-World Series victory standard issue protocol?

For those who missed the memo, the answer to this would be… no.

If we as the public come to a point when we are causing social disruption within our society, let us use it to bring attention to important issues like defending our public higher educational system from being privatized as was displayed by our fellow courageous UC Davis students.

Let us refrain from acting like mindless boneheads who riot simply because our BIRGing and mob mentality got the best of us.