I wasn’t going to post this, as Quirky Travel Guy is not a controversial opinion-based blog. But for the past week, I’ve seen folks defend Vancouver after the despicable riots that took place following a hockey game by saying things like, “That was not truly reflective of the city.”
While that may be true, I just can’t bring myself to forgive and forget that easily. After a week of reflection, I feel it’s important to raise an opposing viewpoint.
I would not be so foolish as to condemn the entire city of Vancouver based on the actions of a few hundred people. But I think it’s equally foolish to simply shrug off the events of last week and say, “This could’ve happened anywhere.”
Doing so would be ignoring the larger problem. Vancouver is starting to build up quite a resumé of inexplicable violence, usually associated with sports. Something must be done.
Everyone knew the riots were coming
To examine the other perspective, let’s start with this:
That’s a tweet from Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reporter Dejan Kovacevic, a respected sportswriter who I read regularly.
You know what’s amazing about this tweet? It was delivered last Wednesday afternoon – before Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals was even played. In fact, he was predicting as early as June 6 that this series would end with police in riot gear.
He (and several other sports journalists on Twitter) knew that hoodlums in Vancouver would wreck the town, win or lose. Why? Because that’s just what they do. They did the same thing back in 1994 after a Stanley Cup Finals loss. They did the same thing in 2002 after Guns N Roses canceled a concert.
On top of that, some sports writers are convinced there would’ve been another riot in 2010 if Canada hadn’t won the gold medal hockey game in overtime (thank you, Sidney Crosby.)
So we’re dealing with a pattern here. When a certain segment of your population has such a horrible reputation that people can predict a riot before it even happens, your city has a problem. The post-loss violence is now being given a name: “The Vancouver effect.”
Every city has disaffected youth looking for trouble, but for some reason they don’t go off like this. Occasionally, other cities riot after sports victories – never after losses – and even that’s less common than it used to be, and it’s more of a “let’s get crazy drunk and celebrate” than “let’s burn the city down!”
I don’t have any brilliant solutions; I’m just trying to make the case that there is indeed a problem.
Did the city of Vancouver bring this riot on itself?
After the 1994 riots, suggestions were made about how to prevent future rioting. The authorities didn’t take the suggestions seriously.
The mayor of Vancouver said he was actually surprised by the level of violence. What planet is this man living on? Many feel his actions were largely to blame for the rioting in the first place.
Now’s the time to stop the excuse-making, stop the denial, and start taking action to ensure that in the future Vancouver can be known for its beautiful scenery and friendly environment rather than for its violent actions.
The many folks who came out to help clean up the city after the riots showed the best side of Vancouver. Those in charge should do right by them, by making sure they never have to clean up after a riot again.
Ok, that’s it for the rant. Feel free to disagree in the comments section. And if this was too heavy for you, come back Friday for another silly Quirky Attraction 🙂