A Saturday Afternoon Goes Awry with Goat Slaughter

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Author: Eric Kleinsasser

A couple of weeks ago, a group of Occidental students acquired a goat, and intended to get together and “sacrifice” it for reasons that are beyond my comprehension. The animal was apprehended by other students and turned over to a humane society. Alas, the first group took back their “stolen” pet and proceeded with the sacrifice.

I hope that most students agree that this act was atrocious and despicable, and that the fact that it was carried out by some of our peers at Occidental makes it particularly shameful for us. Beyond the legal and moral issues surrounding this killing that could undoubtedly be debated for hours on end, this act was fundamentally a wasteful, unsanitary and completely unnecessary mess that reflects a total lack of common sense.

Having presented that perspective, I suspect that to follow up here with a rant against the abusers and further declaration of them as immature and inhumane would be preaching to the choir. My expression of anger over an isolated incident over which most of us are probably in agreement is not likely to solve any of the underlying fundamental problems. In reaction to such a stunning event, I prefer to address a more general but related problem, and in the process, maybe hit on a more volatile subject. What’s the fun of an Opinions piece if it doesn’t generate angry letters to the editor?

On the surface, the goat slaying represents how a few troublesome students can dent the reputation of the college through waste and extremely bad judgement. However, it also alludes to something deeper over which I have had misgivings since I arrived at Occidental last fall.

Weekends tend to provide an opportunity for us all to get together and release a little stress through partying and such activities. That much I understand completely. Part of college life involves crazy weekend antics and fun, and I have also come to accept the notion that drunken tomfoolery is a part of that.

In some cases, though, I feel like the purpose of partying has been mangled and replaced by a quest for excessive consumption, shallow and meaningless interpersonal interactions, and a particular brand of immaturity only achievable by the heavily intoxicated. Perhaps it is acceptable, if childish, to splatter viscous goop all over the windows of your residence hall, or strew trash over various open spaces on campus, but where does one draw the line? Does vandalizing college property overstep the rights of partying students? What about extreme public disturbances? I maintain that killing a goat for any casual reason, at the very least, oversteps our morals and common decency, and I hope that most students can agree on that.

I should clarify my reasoning at this point: I do not think that alcohol was the singular factor that drove students to slaughter a goat. The fact that they retrieved it after the animal was taken from them is evidence that this deed was premeditated. What lead to such a despicable act, however, is a set of principles that I fear are part of what partying in college has now become.

Here’s my sales pitch: consider taking a weekend off of getting wasted and doing something valuable with your time.

Some of you, I imagine, might perceive the previous statement to imply that I think we should spend our Saturday nights playing Scrabble over plates of sliced carrots, and then go back to our rooms at 8:30 to read or study. Believe me, I am of the opinion that college students should definitely take opportunities to go have fun, be adventurous, and party. My point is that we have, in our quest to have as much “fun” as possible, mistaken enjoyment for acting crazy and flailing around carelessly at the expense of others.

These are some questions for those of you who enjoy the hardy kind of partying that seems to have become so popular lately:How fun is a night at a dance or a local party if you got too hammered to remember most of it the next day? What exactly is the point of savoring a delicious Taco Truck taco if you’re just going to throw it back up? Doesn’t being severely hung over detract a little from your Sunday morning?

Here’s a couple for the cool people that killed a goat for no logical reason: What on Earth did you get from acting like a bunch of jerks? Are your lives somehow more fulfilled now that you’ve made complete morons of yourselves to the knowledge of hundreds of your peers?

The goat slaying is, I hope, the pinnacle of what partying at Oxy has become. I make this assertion in the hopes that nobody does anything worse than kill a goat. May this event be a some sort of tipping point for Occidental.

I challenge students to redefine “weekend fun” in a way that prevents it from being detrimental to others. Be creative. Have a cookout. Go see an obscure independent film at the Pasadena theaters. Watch an old movie from the Library. Do a little research, go for a night hike. If these ideas are lame, come up with your own. I dare you.

Perhaps the lure of Beer Pong and Sunday hangovers is too strong for my meek opinion piece to have any effect on. Fine. I acknowledge that I cannot control anyone else’s life.

I, for one, plan to have fun while I am at Oxy. And it is not going to involve slaughtering any goats.

Eric Kleinsasser is a first-year geology major. He can be reached at kleinsasser@oxy.edu.

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