An Unsurprising Riot, but it Still Gets Me Down.

(for context, the Vancouver riot after the final Cup game last night)


I made the mistake of looking at pictures of the riot before it was time to go to bed. I should have known better, as I always take these things to heart. It's well past any hour where I can still form coherent thoughts. It challenges my faith in people that so many were so weak-willed that they were readily swept up in such hate-filled hysteria. Apparently, there are two 'sapiens' too many in Homo sapiens sapiens. What are our brains for if they can't prevent even the most obvious of herd mentalities? I won't besmirch the good name of sheep by likening them to these cretins; to the best of my knowledge, sheep don't set cars on fire. If they ever do, I bet they'll have a damn better reason than this.

What was the reason anyway? Don't tell me it was about the loss. It's clear that many people anticipated the riots even before the start of the match. Don't tell me it was about hockey even. It's not my game of choice, but I know many hockey fans who love and respect the game. What person with pure appreciation for the sport would let their love and respect be so easily perverted, corrupted, turned to selfishness, malice and disgrace? To those who rioted, you are not fans; you are tyrants and assholes.

To those who rioted, you are traitors. That may be the only time I've ever directed that word at anyone. "Traitor." Leaves a funny taste in my mouth just to say it, but that's what you are. To anyone who knows me, I am no patriot, no flag waver, no jingoist, but you have betrayed your city, your peers, and basic human dignity (for whatever little that means). Who do you think pays to clean up your mess? The businesses, cars, boats (yes, boats) and other private property destroyed will be paid for out of insurance. Contrary to what some people believe, insurance companies to not magic money out of the air to cover these costs. It often gets taken from the bottom, not the top. That means the cost is eventually covered by everyday Joes in premiums and monthly payments, or increased costs of goods and services due to increased insurance costs for businesses. The money has to come from somewhere. Those squad cars you destroyed, the riot squads, ambulances, hospital treatments, firemen, street cleanup etc. -- where do you think that money comes from? Our collective taxes. I hope you don't pay taxes, because that would mean you are not only a failure at being a decent human being, but also a failure at being a self-centred prick: you probably just fucked yourself.

And that's just talking about money, but you know what? Fuck money. In the grand scheme of things, it's paltry compared community. To those who rioted, take off your Canucks jerseys and burn them along with everything else you saw fit to burn last night. I don't want to see you wearing this city's name. We all saw what you think of Vancouver; you think she should be trashed and treated with reckless disregard. Are you proud to live in a city with trash all over the streets, broken windows everywhere, looted stores? You've made it clear that you care only about yourselves, not the city. Perhaps the hundreds of people rioting fooled you into thinking that this rebellious expression was a testament to your passion for Vancouver. Perhaps you felt camaraderie in this. I hope not though. If you did, you are delusional. This region is not made of hundreds of people, nor thousands, nor tens or hundreds of thousands; it's millions. There are millions of people who are embarrassed for you and sickened by you. Millions of people who have every right to spit in your face, because you sure as hell didn't think twice about spitting in theirs.

And that's just talking about community. In the grand scheme of things, community is paltry to human welfare. There were people who wanted nothing to do with these riots caught up in them. Innocent bystanders, people at work, people who just wanted to go home after the game. Undoubtedly, there were children, elderly and the infirm stuck in your midst left navigating through fires, fights, looting and tear gas. There is nothing special about violence and destruction. I'm no fighter, but I'm also not a small guy. If I put my full weight and force into a punch you wouldn't be walking away unscathed... but that wouldn't happen. It's not about the strength of my fist, but rather the strength of my character. It's easy to tear things down, but incredibly difficult to shelf your ego, put your needs aside and actually try to protect something. I know there were people out there trying to break up fights and help the injured. Those people are strong. You aren't. You are weak-minded, weak-spirited, and weak-willed. To those involved in fights, stabbings and gang beatings, you are the weakest of all. You stand for nothing, and I assure you, nothing stands behind you. In modern times, strength is defined by a community and the compassion and cooperation of it's members. That's the means by which we can all hope to improve our lot in life. You've degraded that. You've earned the ire of not just of Vancouverites, but the disdain of many people abroad.

Bruins fans were guests in our home. It's a guarantee they were outnumbered by Canucks fans dramatically. I know some of you hid behind that fact to take a cheap shot. That's not what they came here for. They came because they were passionate about their team. They have a right to be passionate about their team. They have a right to enjoy the game without fear for their safety. Every person has that right. Sure, shit talking about other teams is part of the experience, but underneath it all should be a basic level of sympathy and mutual respect. You should understand what it must have meant to them to win and not have been so petty as to want to take that away from them. For those rioters that are sitting in police custody at the moment, don't forget that some of the people sitting beside weren't rioters themselves. They got dragged down by your insane stupidity. Don't forget that some people aren't sitting in cells; they are lying in hospital beds.

But through all this, I am not hateful. I am saddened. Saddened that this occurred and that people had to suffer. Saddened that it was all so misguided and meaningless. Saddened that some will not only repay nothing for their misdeeds, but will unrepentantly brag about them and never understand the sickness of it all. Saddened.

To the shameless rioters: seek mental help; you really need it.

Views: 17

Comment by Arcus on June 16, 2011 at 7:37am

I asked my Canadian colleague today whether there were a lot of Greeks in Vancouver.. ;)

It surprises me that the English language lack the correct descriptive word for such vile and despicable antisocial people - pöbels in Germanic. Raking the crown with live machinegun fire is an acceptable solution, though it brings out crocodile tears galore from those of a bleeding heart disposition.

Comment by Robert Karp on June 16, 2011 at 9:26am
I was disappointed to see our Canadian neighbors riot like this. Testosterone, just say no.
Comment by kris feenstra on June 16, 2011 at 2:04pm

"It surprises me that the English language lack the correct descriptive word for such vile and despicable antisocial people."


The problem is, the words exist, but the people who most need to hear them are often too willfully ignorant to know what they mean.  I assume that a the true sense of pöbel is carried in the spirit and undertone of the word -- something that really digs at the baser nature of mob behaviour --, but I worry that many people in my country are losing the ability to detect these things.  We stole some of our best insults form the French, but (as a random example), if I called someone a dilettante in the pejorative sense, they'd probably look it up in the dictionary and say "Oh, that's not so bad" without really grasping the depth of the insult. 

Comment by Arcus on June 16, 2011 at 2:22pm

Good points Kris. The term 'pøbel' describes the individual participating in a mob - in psychology it's called anti-social behavior. A close semblance would be a vandal, but a vandal tend only to desecrate, while a pøbel tends to destroy using violence. A vandal would tag down a McDonalds, a pøbel burns it to the ground.

Please add it to your active vocabulary akin to other borrowed germanic words like schadenfreude, gendankeneksperiment, slalom, etc. English is missing out. :)


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