Fatal Summer Fun

Does summer make people stupid? Is there some sort of connection between sunshine and testosterone? Or do all the idiots just come out of the woodwork when the snow melts?

While I spent the long, cold days of April and early May indoors lamenting the snow, I would have been happy to endure it a little longer knowing what the spring thaw had in store. The rash of pointless, senseless, violent incidents that have occurred since the first days of "summer" arrived have tarnished the unbridled bliss that usually consumes me.

Since the sun has come out, since the nights have been milder and longer, Calgary’s nightlife has become much more violent. The saddest thing about it all is that it seems to be people who are not necessarily inclined towards violence who are perpetrating the acts, nor been violent people who are being directly affected by it.

The two most high profile cases recently are those of Kevin Connor, the 18-year-old Bishop Grandin graduate-to-be, and Gordon Kiteley, the one-punch fatality outside Cowboys. In the case of Connor, it has been reported that the whole 30-odd person brawl that led to his death was over a girl. Having spent a night or five at Cowboys in my time, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn of a similar catalyst for the fight that ultimately cut Kiteley down at the young age of 19.

If it were limited to these two incidents, it would be unfortunate but not altogether alarming. Sadly, this is not the case. The tension at Calgary nightspots has shot through the roof over the past few weeks, as it seems to do every year when the soil thaws and the crowds return.

Now, I’m not a sociologist or a biologist, so any attempts to understand or explain this phenomenon are no more than pure speculation; however, it seems to be the same thing that happens across the animal kingdom when mating season rolls around. Like mountain goats locking horns or roosters tearing each other to pieces, young men seem to have a significant problem controlling their hormones-and consequently their actions.

There’s a reason bulls are sequestered in separate pens after all.

But we aren’t bulls, nor are we roosters, mountain goats or any other primal, parading beast-or so we like to think. The pair of deaths in the past couple of weeks and undoubtedly a large number of other non-fatal confrontations have been the result of one thing-rash stupidity. People not thinking,people not having the wherewithal to realize how far is too far until it’s too late. And, as of press time, there is no cure for adolescent immaturity or post-pubescent stupidity.

So enjoy summer, and enjoy your nights on the town. Just be sure to keep your head up and know when to let shit slide, because recent history has shown us that being the tough guy may well be a fatal mistake.

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