Monday, June 27, 2011

The Riots in Vancouver: A disagrace, but should the rioters lose their jobs?

MONDAY, JUNE 27, 2011

Blood in our streets.  I saw people on the ground, bleeding.  Shattered glass everywhere.  Police cars set alight.  Major bridges are now closed, preventing public access into the downtown core.  Transit is plugged up, there's no way out.  More police and fire crews are arriving, from the suburbs, but again, it seems too late.  And as I write this, the sun has just set.  Vancouver, what a disgrace.

- Brian Hutchinson
National Post

Some time has passed since the riots in Vancouver over the Canucks' loss to Boston in the Stanley Cup final.  Truth be told, their would have been rioting even if the Canucks had defeated the Boston Bruins.  A minority of drunken yahoos were out there looking for any excuse to vandalize, loot and cause a public disturbance.  Their actions on June 15, 2011 have sullied Canada's international reputation.  For this, they should be held accountable.  Should they lose their jobs?  My answer is no.

Let me be clear and unequivocal.  I am not defending the actions of the looters.  I am condemning them in the strongest possible terms.  They need  be held responsible for their actions.  They should pay restitution to the hardworking shopkeepers whose property they destroyed and whose merchandise they plundered.  In addition, they should be required to do community service or pay a heavy fine.  I do not, however, believe it would serve any purpose for them to lose their employment.  It would only cause suffering and create untold financial burden for the innocent members of their families, including young children.

The Vancouver rioters were shameless.  Some did not even hide their faces and allowed themselves to be videoed and photographed.  Drunk or sober, what kind of person behaves in such a disgusting manner?  Having said that, I have no desire to be a smug Torontonian.  I have no illusions that some people in Toronto would behave any better if the Leafs should ever win or lose the Stanley Cup final - not that that's going to happen anytime soon!  Remember the G20 Summit last summer!

What happened in Vancouver is truly lamentable.  Vancouver is one of the most beautiful cities in the world.  What happened there is cause for deep reflection and investigation.  There have been jokes about how hockey turns polite, peace-loving Canadians into violent brutes.  Yet, no city and no country seems immune to such behaviour given certain circumstances.  In Canada, hockey is used as an excuse to behave in a violent and uncivil manner.  In Europe, it is soccer.  There is one common thread, however.  The majority of rioters are young men. So,  is it testosterone?  Is it male angst?  Why do they behave in such a boorish fashion?  Why do they bring ignominy to their city and their country?  Are they frustrated or just plain boorish?  How can cities and police better deal with these situations?  So many questions . . . so few answers!

- Joanne

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