May I just set some of the record straight for what you’re no doubt seeing on the news.
1. If you were to talk to any Vancouver Canuck fan, they would tell you that they’re proud of their team, they worked as hard as they could and in the end, when it comes down to one game, that means that someone wins and someone loses. The other team won this time. And the sentiment of most of the fans was ‘We’ll get ’em next time… high five!’.
2. The people causing the problem (that core group of rioters) came prepared to riot no matter what the outcome. Hockey fans do NOT bring bricks, black balaclavas and Molotov Cocktails to a hockey game. They just don’t. They bring flags and signs and jerseys. Yes, they also bring and consume alcohol, but they don’t bring blow torches to light police cars on fire. They don’t bring bricks to throw at the riot squad. They don’t bring face masks and gas masks. They just don’t. The people that bring those things are people that have only one thing on their minds. Destruction.
3. The Greater Vancouver Regional District (GVRD) (which I think might now be referred to as Metro Vancouver) is made up of 13 cities and towns, the larger ones of which are all connected by skytrain and buses. The City of Vancouver is made up of 578,000 people. The whole GVRD is made up of 2,250,000 people. Do the math. A LARGE majority of the people that were downtown during the game and for the riot were not Vancouver-ites. They were hoodlums and assholes (pardon my language) from outside the City of Vancouver. So please, when they say ‘Vancouverites are embarrassing (etc)’, know that it’s not JUST Vancouverites… Vancouver-ites are historically very proud of their city, very much in love with their city and the vast, VAST majority of Vancouverites feel the way I do… sad, disgusted, shamed and astounded!
4. The Vancouver Police Department, the RCMP, the police forces from Abbotsford (over an hour away!), Richmond (20min way), Surrey (20 min away) all did an astounding job. Before you hop on the bandwagon of criticism, just remember that those officers have families. One police officer life is worth more than every Bay window smashed. More than every burning car. More than any of that. So when they, as trained officers feel that it’s not safe for the fire department to come downtown, not safe for the paramedics to come downtown and not safe for them to move in, then they’re not going to. Policing a riot isn’t about the police being as aggressive as possible. It’s about doing everything they can to minimize the damage, minimize the risk and minimize the injuries and casualties… including to themselves. Please don’t judge them.
5. Speculation is that the hoodlum gang calling themselves the ‘Black Bloc’ did/participated/instigated this. They’re not even from BC! Their main purpose is to travel to events and make a mess. Think the Olympics riot when they smashed up the Bay and downtown… same people. Think the G20 in Toronto where they smashed up Eaton’s and the downtown. Same people. Reckless, irresponsible and disrespectful jerks.
To the rioters.
1. You’re on camera. You’re on YouTube and Facebook and Twitter. Your peers are forwarding their pictures and videos to the VPD and RCMP so you can be identified. I plan to scrutinize the pictures as soon as they’re up and try help to identify the criminals. Many MANY Vancouverites will be doing the same!
2. The police and the government will be wanting to make as many arrests and write as many tickets as possible. The morons looting London Drugs for a bag of chips? You’re going to get arrested. You’re on camera committing a crime. The idiots jumping up and down on the police cars (not to mention setting fire to them!). You’re on camera. You’re going to be arrested. The jerks kicking in the windows of businesses. You’re on CAMERA! YOU’RE GOING TO BE ARRESTED!
3. I hope your parents and your employers were watching and you get grounded, spanked, and fired.
4. To the people that were taking videos, pictures and generally lollygagging around in an unlawful area, you were more trouble than you’re pictures are worth and you made the situation worse. You’re just as culpable in the crimes committed when you stand to the side, film the nonsense and cheer the idiots on! When the police told you to go home, you should have GONE HOME! Had you left, you innocent gawkers, the police could have opened fire with rubber bullets and water cannons (did we just borrow those for the Olympics or do we have our own?), tear gas and full riot actions. You staying down there and getting ‘involved’ made the situation worse. Next time, when they tell you to go home, GO HOME! The buses and skytrain were running until around 11pm. The bridges weren’t closed when it was still daylight.
I’m absolutely devastated. Mortified! Incredibly sad and insanely angry! This riot has given Vancouver a bad name, when it’s not deserved. This did not happen because of a hockey game. This happened because the City of Vancouver graciously opened their doors to the general public to have some fun. Come down to the city and watch the hockey game with 130K of your closest friends. Share in our joy and celebratory spirit. And some good for nothing jerks took advantage of that and decided to use the opportunity to get on the news and make a mess. It seemed their intention was to do everything they could to make it bigger and badder and much MUCH more expensive than the riot that took place in 1994. They succeeded. They also succeeded in people criticizing peace loving hockey fans and a city that was trying to bring a little community spirit to it’s streets. Thanks a lot!