Tag Archives: vancouver riot

Big Brother & Vancouver: My Thoughts on Crowd Surveillance

As the dust settles from Vancouver’s riots, a controversy brews.

Public shaming is Vancouver’s new favourite past-time. Know a rioter? Expose that ass!

But should we be doing this?

Some folks have very different opinions, and the loudest voice one hears on the matter is by local professor & author Alexandra Samuel, who explains her opposition very well in this piece, where she says “We have seen Big Brother, and he is us.”

While Samuels has great points, she is not in the majority on her opinions.

My position on public shaming shifting slightly. I worry about the severity of public outing right now because of the passion with which the entire city has jumped on these guys.

I loathe the extent to which some are taking the public shaming, via printing phone numbers and addresses of parents of rioters, contacting employers, and things like that. (Not cool, people. Don’t be an ass and do that, or initiate contact that way.)

We live in an era where the saying “Pics or it didn’t happen” is ubiquitous. Everything gets caught on video. If you had a camera on me 24/7, you’d find some real good footage for upending people’s thoughts on the person I am. This is true of all of us.

You’d sure as hell never catch me damaging public property, harassing or assaulting others, or flying into physical rages, though. You’d never catch me vandalising, shouting down a cop, shoving a citizen, or even littering.

That’s my ethos, and a lot of citizens share it.

We citizens are tired of the permissiveness with which people litter, vandalise, and generally abuse public spaces. We’re tired of people who get away with acting like assholes.

Maybe it’s time public shaming come into vogue.

Maybe it’s time we stop worrying about politicians with prostitutes, and start worrying about punk-assed people who treat cops like trash, who burn our city up, and who generally don’t seem to contribute to where we want to go as a society.

Destroying their lives, though, may do us more harm as a society than good.

In this instance, I believe we need to offer first-offense rioters a chance to redeem themselves. We need to give them an opportunity to give back instead of destroying. We need to allow them the chance to not throw their lives away over a stupid night in which they maybe chose to embrace a mob mentality when they might have never done otherwise normally.

Then there’s the part of me who feels that there are people on those videos doing heinous, awful things — beating people, blowing shit up. That side of me feels those people don’t get the benefit of the doubt. They don’t deserve it, they deserve to be outed.

In the end, my ambivalence on meting out justice the old-school way, in a court of public opinion, is tempered by the thought of living in a world where everyone felt accountable for their actions.

If people realise that being a jackass for 15 minutes on Youtube can have real long-term life effects, maybe then we’ll see people acting like citizens, not hooligans.

Actions should have consequences. Good citizens should be angered when hooligans act this way. Thugs who attack our police and other citizens deserve to be exposed for who and what they are.

However, just being present at the riot doesn’t mean one is complicit in it. Jumping on a burned-out car isn’t the same as burning it. There are levels of asshattedness going on here, and painting them all with the same brush of ostracism isn’t ideal.

So, I’m still at a loss. To some degree, this public shaming of thugs is long overdue. Hooligan behaviour needs to be seen as unacceptable, not “fun”. We need youth and others to understand that we expect more of citizens.

At the same time, lives can be destroyed by this process, and while I trust my own judgment in reading facts and situations in an equitable manner, I do not trust that others can or will do the same. My ethos is liberal and open-minded, which isn’t always the case with others, so whose idea of “wrong” is right?

The only thing that isn’t questionable for me is, if one is celebrating that kind of destruction, if they’re contributing to it in any way, if they’re cheering it on, then it makes them a douchebag, and maybe it’s in everyone’s interest to know that about ‘em.

Beyond saying “Hey, this guy is a rioting douche,” I don’t think we should be doing anything. It’s not up to us to contact their employers, their schools, their family. We don’t have that right, and anyone who does it should be reprimanded.

In the end, Alexandra Samuels has a very valid point — it’s a really slippery slope. It’s a worrisome possible trend when one thinks of ways it might be misused.

But I don’t like the society we’ve become. I don’t like the lack of social responsibility so many show. If this is what it takes to have a society where everyone cares about how the street looks, respects others’ belongings, and treats each other with dignity, then maybe it’s time to stand atop that slippery slope and see if it leads us to a better place.

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The Day After

Photo by Steffani Cameron.

Wow. What a difference 24 hours makes.

There’s something about hundreds, maybe thousands, of drunk-assed fuck-faces rampaging through your city, breaking glass, burning cars, and hurting innocent civilians that makes one go, “Hey, you know what? I love this place. And you just PISSED ME OFF.”

One of Vancouver’s finest somewhat-under-the-radar bloggers (bookmark that shit, yo) is Kimli. She has deliciously turned her snark on to these three asshatted rioters. Based on the strength & zeal of this piece, I think she should embrace her angst and do an entire series on these jerks (and out-of-towners!) who thought they’d try messing up Vancouver, and tarnishing our reputation worldwide.

I love my town, man.

I love my town with its disparity of lives, rich-versus-poor, plastic-ass districts like Yaletown, through to hard-ass hard-luck big-art cultural-love-in ‘hoods like Commercial Drive on the East Side.

I love my town with its ludicrous concrete jungle in the middle of a temperate rainforest at the bottom of big-ass mountains on the coast of the wide watery world of the Pacific.

I love my wickedly multicultural once-upon-a-world white-folk sushi-capital crazy-ass side-of-Little-India jumble of a town.

And these guys picked the wrong fucking day to toy with us.

We were gonna take it all, win the Cup finally, and instead of just losing The Cup, we lost our reputation and our self-respect.

A sick billion dollars will be pumped down the drain because of these asshats. Some will be getting in trouble with the law for stealing a Big Gulp or Pringles, and I hope the insignificance of their theft does not diminish the extent of punishment they receive.

Principles, baby. Gotta have ‘em.

Because the world is hurting, because the economy has been gutted like a fish, because there are better things to do than coddle these spoiled drunk punks with incarceration, I would hope the City of Vancouver will solicit “alternative punishment” ideas from the public.

Whether it’s making rioters clean up inner-city elementary schools, ridding beaches of trash, doing clean-up after civic summer events, working for the employers whose businesses they damaged, being forced to talk to high schools about why they regret doing the criminal acts they did — I think there are two things we can’t really do; We can’t run up taxpayers’ tab with jail time for all these assholes, and we can’t cripple them too far into their future with huge reparations fines, thus escalating their angst.

But they need to pay with their time and their physical labour. The city and Mayor Gregor Robertson should let the public speak as to how that should happen.

Photo by Steffani Cameron.

Last night, I was embarrassed. I was hurt. I was angry. And I would have beat the living shit out of someone who was guilty of crimes against this city if I could have.

This morning, I got up, I did my social-media-woot thingie of informing the locals and world at large about Douchebaggery Central as the morning unfolded more and more. Then I decided that, back instability or not, I just had to get my ass downtown to experience the “Day After.” I couldn’t let the asshats win.

And I’m so very, very, very glad.

Tonight, fueled by the clearly mad-deep-true love most Vancouverites have for their city — because, after all, more than 18,000 people signed up on Facebook to do clean-up today and, as a result of those who honoured that commitment, the biggest riot in almost 4 decades was cleaned up before lunchtime.

During the clean-up, hundreds and perhaps thousands of people wrote on the boarded-up windows with markers left by every pane, messages of everything from apologies to the hockey team, testimonies of love for the city, through to rightful damnation of the rioters.

As the city was literally swept up in a wave of awesomeness, people’s angst turned to pride and love for their fellow citizens. Friendships formed, people shared and laughed. It was a really, really awesome experience to be there even for just an hour.

Photo by Steffani Cameron.

Now, people have turned their attention, like Kimli, toward trying to expose all these assholes for who they are. They need to pay with their friends, their schools, their jobs, everything.

We cannot abide this behaviour.

If the government cannot punish them, then we must socially ostracize them.

There is a code. You do not fuck with another man’s home.

This is our home. This is our town.

Whether local or not, that behaviour will never be tolerated in Vancouver at our public events.

You’re on notice, asshats. We have smartphones. You’re on video. And it ain’t the 15 minutes’ fame you’d hoped for.

Everyone else, we got your back. Get here, have fun with us. We’re good people. We’re not gonna let these chumps wreck our party.

We’ll see y’all same time next year, man. Without the losers.

See below for TIJANA MARTIN PHOTOGRAPHY’s link. Photo by Tijana Martin.

Visit http://tijanamartinphotography.wordpress.com/ for more heartwrenching riot (and pregame fan) photography.

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I’m a Citizen, Not a Rioter

A fan-created image on the Facebook “Post-Riot Cleanup” page for the Vancouver Riot.

Last night, a couple thousand drunk assholes brought shame to the city I’ve loved my whole life.

Normally passionate about personal freedoms, I’m shouting the loudest for people to ID those they know who have brought this riot and destruction, and the shame and poor reputation that come with, to justice.

Some speculate it was all suburb folk, some speculate it was all locals. We don’t know. I speculate more suburbs and other-place types who didn’t come looking for a hockey game, but who came looking to shit-kick the world.

More on that later.

But I know who it wasn’t. It wasn’t George Roux, this passionate Canucks Fan.

I want to share this brilliant twist on the great “My Name is Joe, And I Am Canadian” Molson ad, written for Facebook by George Roux, who knocked me out with this:

Hey.
I’m not a pyromaniac, or a car flipper,
and I didn’t trash Sears, or Chapters, or the CBC screens
and I don’t know Johnny, Sunny or Raj from Granville Street
although I’m certain they’re really, really drunk.
I have a jersey and car flag, not a Molotov cocktail.
I cheer all the time, not just when we’re winning.
I can proudly wear my jersey daily, not just on game days.
I believe in puck-handling, not crosschecking; passing, not tripping;
and that the Canucks are still the best team in the league
A fan is proud, a fire is to keep warm, and it’s a beer, not a weapon; a beer.
Canucks were the best in the regular season this year.
All of Canada cheered us on! and we’ll be the best again next year!
My name is George!! And I am True Canucks Fan!
Get off my Bandwagon

Thank you.

Thank you, George.

Thank you, Vancouverites who are cleaning up.

Thank you, Canucks, for trying.

***

Dear Francesco Aquilini: Can we get the team a sports psychologist now? If they didn’t need one before the game, they need one now. Thanks!

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