Officer Alasdair MacDonald, or “Big Al,” has reportedly been hired to lead Task Force Ranchero, an elite group of Public Safety and NYPD livestock experts responsible for ensuring Columbia students are handled like the animals that they are. It was he, not Public Safety’s notorious John Murolo, who came up with this year’s Bacchanal “riot control plan.” The Spectador was the only campus news outlet able to arrange a meeting with Big Al. After chatting for a while we finally got down to the nitty-gritty of the crowd control plan. Here’s a transcription of the exclusive interview:
How long have you been a Public Safety Officer?
What makes you want to come into work everyday?
Big Al’s my name, and safety is my game. Ain’t nothing more you need to know than that. But I’ll admit that there ain’t nothing that compares to thrill of packing a math geek in the slammer for public urination.
What would you say to students complaining that Bacchanal crowd configurations treat them like cattle?
I’d tell them they’re right as rain. We intend only to treat these students the way they ought to be treated: like the herd of animals that they are. Wandering around, following one another, and grunting and snorting something fierce, these drunken imbeciles are nothing but cattle.
So what was the motivation behind this year’s venue design?
Safety, of course! You see, last year the whole thing was kind of a mess: kids running around all over the place, wasted, trying to rush the stage and bust through the gates like bulls in springtime. Now I’ve seen some bullshit in my time here: people passed out on the sidewalk lying in vomit, people carrying around mattresses, hell, one time, a young man ran around campus in a Big Bird costume screaming obscenities. I’ve had my fair share of Rhett Adkins jamborees, telling people to kiss my country ass ‘n such, but I ain’t never seen such a ruckus as that concert last spring. For all y’all reading-type folk, let me tell you, Bacchus would’ve been proud.
Why is safety such a major concern this year?
Son, have you ever spent time on a cattle ranch? Cause my father ran a small longhorn operation a short way out of Norman, Oklahoma. I grew up around them beasts and when I got old enough to lend a hand, Pa put me to work. If there’s two things you learn quick on the ranch, it’s penning and sorting. After what I saw last year, I got to thinking what would happen if we did something like that: just put the really drunk kids together and separate them from the mellow, real high ones. It’s foolproof.
Are you saying you’ll be using a penning and sorting system?
Yes sir, I am. Penning students will allow ranch-hands, er, I mean, Public Safety Officers, to monitor things from the inside. Now, there’s no possible way they can get out of control, gore each other, or try to bust out of the pens. My boss told me that some young man wanted to install a “swipe-in, swipe-out” electronic system, but I told him that was the most ridiculous thing I’d ever heard. When you send a steer through a gate you don’t let him just come on back out on his own accord. I say, limit the number of cattle coming through, maybe even use an ear tag or something. We had it all set up, but the bigwigs at University Student Life put up a fuss, so we agreed to wristbands.
Do you really think these measures are the best way to keep students safe?
Yessir, cattle can be really mean sons of bitches, and with them horns, you better watch your tush getting in the pen with them. These kids ain’t any different. Some fellas will try to take a swing at you after just a couple of beers, and that’s just on a typical Saturday night. But when the whole campus goes wild, you have to always watch your back, and you have to always keep your eyes out for agitators, Trump supporters, Black Lives Matter protesters, and the like. It’s like my Pa said just before he died in my arms - see he was gored by a bull when I was just 19 - he told me, “son, if you run into trouble down the line, just remember that any problem, no matter how big, can be solved with a bit of steel fencing and a lot of prodding.”