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We Burned Your Town To The Ground!

Nov 12, 2007 – 8:08 PM
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Nathan Fowler

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You know what the best part of Kansas and Missouri having their best ever seasons at the very same time is? The entire nation will get exposed to what is possibly the most bitter and hateful rivalry in the country in all it's glory (or shame, if you prefer). You can have your Ohio State v. Michigan or Alabama v. Auburn, but the last time I checked nobody from Columbus ever went to Ann Arbor and systematically executed every man they could find while burning the town to the ground. And certainly nobody made t-shirts later celebrating that fact.

But that did happen in 1863 in Lawrence, KS when William Quantrill led his band of "Bushwackers" to the "Jayhawker" stronghold and went on a 4 hour rampage that would become known as the "Lawrence Massacre" - one of the ugliest episodes of the brutal 10+ years of fighting along the Kansas and Missouri border. While the Civil War has become the South v. the North in most people's minds, the fighting in fact began as a violent guerrilla conflict between the abolitionists in Kansas and the slave holding Missouri settlers (more or less, like many guerrilla campaigns there were quite blurred lines at times). In many ways, those old wounds have never quite healed - Grandpa Simpson will be be deep in the cold, cold ground before he recognizes Missour-ah as a state, for example.

Those t-shirts seen above that some Missouri fans are making for the showdown at Arrowhead in two weeks are celebrating the Lawrence Massacre and in fact have Quantrill's visage and slogan emblazoned on the back - "Raise the Black Flag and Ride Hard Boys. Our Cause is Just and Our Enemies Many". Talk about going straight past normal levels of fan behavior and making a hard right turn into loony land, that might be the single most offensive gameday t-shirt I've ever seen. Kansas fans are now responding with t-shirts sporting noted violent Kansas abolitionist John Brown (who led a massacre of his own and the 1859 Harper's Ferry raid that really kicked off the Civil War powder keg) with the slogan "Keeping America Safe From Missouri Since 1854" - a mock-up of those t-shirts can be seen here.

This game is going to be played on a neutral site at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City - home to huge parking lots for tailgating and beer sales in the stadium during the game. It's going to be for a berth in the Big XII Championship Game at the very least, and a shot at the National Championship at the most. Liquored up fans sharing the same parking lots and stadium, some who are celebrating their history of brutal violence against each other? Two fanbases who hate each other, with the chance to not only continue their own dream season but also to end the chance of glory for their rivals? Yeah, no way that doesn't end up without at least a few folks in the slammer. It's going to be a fun Saturday for the KCPD and Jackson County Sheriffs.
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