Canadians are considered to be some of the most polite people on earth, but I have yet to hear an apology for the way we behaved after game seven. Like most people, I have never really been in a fight, caused damage to public property, or vandalized a washroom stall. However, unlike many in Vancouver, I also would never incite a riot.
In case you were living under a rock yesterday, the Boston Bruins thrashed the Vancouver Canucks in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. The loss was made even worse by the fact that the Bruins got a shutout on our home ice. In the wake of the crushing defeat, a freshly carbonated mob of anger burst forth from the stadium and began looting, smashing and burning as they made their way through the city.
Compared to the riot that followed the loss to the Rangers in 1994, this is much worse. The damage estimates are already over a million dollars, and at least four people are in the hospital with serious injuries.
I don’t know about being a soccer hooligan in the UK, but from what I gather, supporters often start brawls with supporters of other teams. The result is police show up, gas is released, and water cannons are fired. Then a movie is made with Elijah Wood. On this side of the pond there is little to none of that between opposing fans, but that was some proper rioting yesterday. It made the G20 riots look like a schoolyard brawl.
Which begs the question: where were the police while all of this was going on?
They arrived, but many are saying they took too long. Maybe; but they did arrive, and if you watch the videos that have sprung up on the web, they didn’t just stand around and look tough. While I have yet to hear of any police misconduct, they definitely put foot to ass for their city. Amidst the clouds of tear gas and flaming cars, order was restored.
Far be it from me to criticize the extensive clean-up today, but I’d like to know why the city’s residents are doing it. Police have made nearly 100 arrests: make the hooligans do it. They behaved like a bunch of 6-year-olds who lost a game of checkers. They smashed and grabbed, so make them bend over and start scrubbing. Oh, and while they are at it, get them to work off the still mounting cost of repairs to property. We Canadians are too nice, even when we are angry. How about some payback? How about taking everything away from those who took? How about sending a message to future rioters that this behaviour will not only not be tolerated, but will be punished with a swift and brutal gavel stroke?
As arrests continue to be made I am sure that there will be some serious justice to be had, and I welcome that. Just please don’t make a movie about it.
Cut Canucks fans some slack – Counterpoint by Jacqueline Perlin