Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wednesday's Words for June 22, 2011

Under most circumstances, I am proud of my country and my countrymen and women. However, I am deeply ashamed of the riots that occurred in Vancouver following the hockey game last Wednesday night.

I do not for one minute believe that the rioting, the looting or the violence perpetrated against other people and their possessions were the actions of real hockey fans.

I very much doubt any of those punks actually attended the game, period.

I have no doubt that the rioting and the lawless behaviour was instigated by those who already are known to the police, who likely have criminal records. One good thing about this age of technology, there seems to be no shortage of video or still photos to assist the police in their investigation. At last count they had nearly one million images, and had laid hundreds of charges.

This mob mentality isn’t anything new, of course. There’ve been riots in the streets ever since there have been streets and people to populate them. Sadly, this is the second time such an event has occurred in Vancouver. The last time, in 1994, also followed a loss of the Stanley Cup in game seven, that time to the New York Rangers.

I like to believe that we, as human beings, have evolved beyond this kind of disgraceful behaviour. Yes, I know my naïveté is showing. Some people take their sporting events very seriously, often coming to blows. It’s happened over in Europe following close soccer matches, and in other places in North America, as well. Some folks just like to cause chaos, and actually there is apparently a class of people who call themselves anarchists whose sole purpose seems to be to simply wreak havoc.

The police chief of Vancouver stated that some of these people had come from out of town specifically to cause trouble last Wednesday night. I do not understand this group. Anarchists? Where’s the logic in that?

The price tag from last Wednesday’s rampage hasn’t been totalled yet, but the riot in 1994 caused over a million dollars worth of damage. People were hurt, then as now, so who knows what the real human toll could be? Aside from people being injured and property destroyed, how do you evaluate the cost to the province and the city of the tarnishing their reputations?

How long, I wonder, will the people of the world tolerate this kind of brazen destruction before things change in a very fundamental way? Perhaps cities hosting major sporting events, such as the Stanley Cup, or even the Super Bowl or the World Series, will begin to enact stringent measures with regard to these venues in order to protect lives and property.

What could city councils decide to do? They could enact strict curfews in the city centers; demand that all ticket holders board busses in outlying areas to be transported in, and then bussed out again—with marshals on each bus, of course. They could demand that police in riot gear, carrying tear gas and assault rifles patrol the streets, guarding the businesses and property of tax payers.

It all sounds rather draconian, doesn’t it?

I wonder that such tactics haven’t been used already. As a society, we seem quick to make rules and regulations in the face of stupid behaviour—hence the warning of “hot” being printed on paper take-out coffee cups, and the admonition not to iron clothes while wearing them printed on the boxes that contain those small appliances.

Maybe in the end there will be no more live events, period. Perhaps they will all be available only on video feed, and only in private residences.

In essence, eventually society will move to protect itself from immaturity and selfishness—because sadly, there seems to be no cure for these two traits.


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