Let’s make sure Saturday night’s out-of-control behavior doesn’t happen again

A different take on the issues we had in downtown Lubbock last night after the great win by the Texas Tech basketball team.

I stayed up until the end of the Texas Tech basketball team’s amazing victory in their semifinal game of the Final Four (Yes, that was a big accomplishment for me). I, like most everyone in Lubbock, was extremely proud of Coach Chris Beard and the Texas Tech basketball team. They played with passion, discipline and patience. Beard and his team exuded class in their victory and all Texas Tech supporters should be very proud, not only for the amazing season they have had, but also for the way they keep winning with class and dignity.

Beard and his team exuded class …

When I woke up this morning to the news of riots, tear gas, destruction of property and drunken acts of criminal mischief, I had mixed emotions. I read a social media post by an elected official condemning the behavior and demanding justice. I agree with those statements but believe our elected officials should be asking some very hard questions this morning instead of just pandering to the masses.

Here are a few of the questions we should be asking ourselves this morning.

  • Should we have anticipated students and fans getting carried away in their celebrations? Texas Tech has a well-deserved reputation of being a party school and is known for our rowdy fan base.
  • Should we have boosted patrols and law enforcement presence in two bar areas in close proximity to Tech and tried to prevent things from getting out of hand instead of reacting after the fact?
  • Should city and university police departments have worked together before the game and cooperated to develop a strategic plan to ensure everyone could celebrate safely?
  • Should we have considered blocking off several blocks of Broadway, escalated police presence and provided a safe environment for students and fans to have a safe and exciting area to celebrate?
  • What can we learn from this event and what steps can we take to prevent it from happening again when we win on Monday?

We … need to learn how to celebrate our achievements with the same class.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not condone the actions of the individuals committing criminal acts. I also am not trying to blame our law enforcement agencies, I have great respect for the city of Lubbock Police Department and the dedicated officers who serve our community. I simply believe our elected officials and Texas Tech administration must step up and play a role in assuring we don’t see a repeat of last night’s bad behavior. Yes, anyone who participated in these unlawful events should be punished, but we cannot stop there. We, as a city, and a first-class university need to learn how to celebrate our achievements with the same class our coach and team displayed. We have to realize the combination of die-hard fans and students, an historic win, and alcohol, creates a potential for events like we witnessed last night.

So to the official jumping on the bandwagon, calling for heads to roll, I simply ask two things:

  • Let law enforcement and the judicial system deal with the individuals who broke the law last night; and
  • Focus on what is really important and your duty as an elected official. Take steps to determine where we failed and implement processes that will insure the safety of our great fan base.

We will surely be in this position many times in multiple sports in the future.

Texas Tech has done an incredible job of recruiting great coaches and staff. We will surely be in this position many times in multiple sports in the future and I believe it is time we take steps as a community to prevent events like this from ever happening again.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”