Thursday, June 16, 2011

On the riots in Vancouver.

I was planning on writing a post about a variety of mundane hockey topics that have been on my mind, but that'll come later. The events of last night have gotten under my skin, and I'm pretty upset about it.

I watched a video today, taken by someone on Georgia street, of a man trying to block a mob from shattering the glass on the Hudson's Bay store. He keeps them at bay for a couple of minutes, and then he's pulled into the crowd and beaten. Thankfully, after ten seconds, someone comes to pick him up, and the crowds disperse. As a warning, it's a very upsetting video, and some of you may want to not watch it. You can see it here.

When the reports from the riot first came in, I was sad but not surprised. It's almost a Canadian tradition to vent publicly when losing, and though despicable, damage is almost expected. But watching the level of anger and the sheer number of people vandalizing, it was far more intense than I expected. The pattern of destruction is very similar to the small riot during the Olympics, and it seems this is the same group of international anarchist come to stir shit up. Nonetheless, there were too many people participating in this riot for it to be isolated; actual Canucks fans were involved, and, as Gary Mason notes in a fantastic article, they were there in plenty.

How dare they lay waste to Vancouver. For the international anarchists, they are cowards. Take off those bandanas, you morons, and let the world know who you actually are. If it were only they who were involved, like during the Olympics, I could brush it aside - they're not our own. For the Vancouverites involved, I am deeply ashamed, and angry.

I miss home. I love and miss the city of Vancouver, and I don't get to live there. The cowards who kicked and burned and stabbed and smashed should feel a deep shame for blighting our beautiful city, and for bringing fear and sorrow to the millions who have worked to make Vancouver one of the greatest cities on the planet. How dare they do what they did. They have the privilege of living there, and like spoiled children they destroyed whatever they could find. Idiots.

One amazing silver lining is the citizens who volunteered to clean up the streets this morning. I wish I could have been there to help. Another is the sheer amount of Canucks fans I know who are awesome and honest-to-God hockey fans, both in Dominica and in Canada. They should be proud of how well their team did, and take assurances in the fact that they'll be back. Also, these guys did pretty well:

Hopefully, I'll get to writing about actual hockey soon, including my thoughts on the new team in Winnipeg, the Stanley Cup playoffs and why I cheered against the Canucks, where the Leafs are heading, and the unfortunate time of the year coming up where there is no news about hockey. Egads.


  1. I just wanted to say, from what I've heard, a lot of the rioters were probably not from Vancouver proper and certainly not from the downtown core. This is based on what other people have told me so I can't say for sure but it makes sense. The people who live and/or work downtown are so much more unlikely to destroy their own backyard. You don't flip your own car, break the windows of your own work or firebomb your neighbour's car.
    It's the people who come into downtown, trash it, and then can go home to their own safe, quiet neighbourhoods that I think caused the most damage.

  2. Good point - I had heard that a lot of the ruffians were from the suburbs, and not Vancouver proper. Another good point I saw in the Globe was that the Olympic crowds were nearly entirely families, where as this crowd was nearly entirely young drunk men.

  3. You should take a look at the writing that's covered all three sides of the boarded-up bay windows. It's breathtakingly perfect and heartwrenchedly moving...

    (I'd send you a few pictures but I left my camera at work.)