The psychology of the street brawl

The psychology of the public disturbance.

I saw a street brawl Saturday night in on Division St. outside the gym. Looked like a hockey fight. Made me think of the 1960’s hit Eve of Destruction – “Hate your neighbor but don’t forget to say grace.”  I had to call the police because all three lanes were blocked with men and women restraining one another as vulgarities filled the air.

As an ex-cop, I never understood the psychology of the public disturbance – men and women exchanging obscenities, hurling profanities, taunting each with “Oh, ya???”…”YA!!!”…followed by the proverbial referee-style restraint…the implied, let-me-at-’em.

Come on, it’s 2011. Civil unrest had its day but is there any need for it in 2011? Surely there’s a more civilized way to solve social injustices and personal insults. We’re in a golden era of combat sports. Octagons are all over the place.  Legal cage fights can be easily scheduled. MMA training is accessible and affordable. There’s no need any more to blocking 3 lanes of traffic with unresolved conflict that spills out from the living room to the street. Join a legal fight club. Why risk getting jailed when you can call the UFC and get paid to fight?

Unresolved conflict truly is the root of all evil. Tonight, a woman and two men were exchanging profanities a block away from the gym… like a boxing weigh-in. This was the kind of disturbance where you can’t tell who’s mad at who. It reminded me of when I was a cop and we would invest hours on midnight shifts trying to restore peace in bars, restaurants, church parking lots, even in the sanctity of homes. Springsteen could have written ballads about some of these battles. Some disturbances reminded me of the lyrics of a soundtrack by Greg Allman from the epic 1989 movie  Next of Kin starring Patrick Swayze and Liam Neesom….”Brother to brother, father to son…” Families shouting death threats, shoving, pushing, grappling, hair-pulling, biting, fist fighting – rage-filled main events featuring loved ones who shared DNA. Getting arrested and charged when they could simply have joined a legal fight club. Convert rage to workouts. Legal sparring burns mega-calories, with or without a referee.

The psychology of the street brawl needs to be studied. MMA and boxing are nowhere near as expensive as football. Handwraps, gloves, shorts…take it of the streets and into gyms. The government should consider legislation to curb street brawls by offering tax breaks to those who bring their street brawls to legal fight clubs. Or, sentence convicted street brawlers to 6 months of fight training and schedule them to sanctioned MMA fights. Taking rage off the streets and into the cage would save the taxpayers a bundle.