Everyone seems to have something to say about the riot in Vancouver on Wednesday night. I am going to climb up on my little soap box here and throw out a few thoughts to anyone who wants to listen.
Like others, I’m disturbed by what happened. I’m also a little disturbed by the general population’s reaction to the event. Most can agree that it was an ugly display of humanity. It was very emotionally charged and the average person automatically wants to point blame and have an outlet for their own emotions about the event. I think those are often misplaced.
In my humble opinion, the riot had nothing in particular to do with hockey, the Canucks or even any evil characteristic of Vancouver or its people. It only takes a very small number of people in a crowd of thousands to get an ugly scene rolling. I am highly suspect that this was a spontaneous act of angry Vancouver fans looking to seek retribution for losing the cup. Isn’t it highly unlikely that people would coincidentally have the fire accelerant “handy” to light cars on fire? Someone had a sign that celebrated, “Riot 2011!” – sure seems logical that they had put some forethought into preparing for the event. Why did some have ski masks?
While most of us cringe at what happened, there are going to be a small percentage of people that CELEBRATE these types of things. Given the seed of hockey-related-riot in Vancouver that was planted 17 years ago, Wednesday night would be the perfect opportunity to recreate such a “spectacular” event for those that a drawn to these things (I won’t explore the various reasons they might have this attraction). Take a little gas, a few bricks and a just a small number of likeminded people and you have yourself that catalyst to start a riot. Mix in thousands of highly emotional, drunk excitable adolescents where anonymity seems promising and presto! It is like a match and some kindling – start yourself a fire; It doesn’t take much under the right conditions. The fact it was in Vancouver and after a Canucks game was mostly opportunistic. It could have been any large event in any large city that promised the potential of such a show.
Honestly, I haven’t followed the coverage or know much for details. I may be ignorant here. I’m sure hindsight offers us lessons on how this could have been prevented and/or lessened. After all, the entire Olympics went without any incident of this magnitude and would seem to have offered the same opportunity. I don’t suggest we just accept what happened. I am just suggesting that we think about the root cause of things a little more closely.
The root cause of this event was not hockey in Vancouver.