Monday, June 20, 2011

Vancouver Vigilante Justice

Last Wednesday, shit hit the fan.

After an outstanding season, the Canucks lost to the Bruins. Do I care to comment on the playoffs? No, not really. Not here and now. Buy me a drink and maybe I'll give you my complete thoughts on the wins and losses of the playoffs, but that's not what I'm writing for. In 1994, we lost and it wasn't a clean loss. There were some fairly shitty calls in that game and it was damn close. I don't agree with a riot, but I can see why it happened way back when.

This loss was a less pretty one. Tim Thomas played wonderfully and, as much as I love my Canucks, the Bruins won game 7 fair and square. No reason for a riot.
Do I know what really went down? Being a Vancouver resident I've heard so many stories. Ask any of us, we all have our tales to tell. Am I ashamed to be a Vancouver citizen? Nothing could be further from the truth. Allow me to digress...

A long time ago, there was this story I read about that just stuck in my mind and really got to me. It was the story of Vince Weiguang Li. Maybe some of you know this one, but for those of you hearing about this for the first time, let me take you through it.

On July 30th, 2008, Li committed a horrible act. He boarded a Grey Hound bus in Winnipeg and about 10 kilometres east of Portage La Prairie, Manitoba, he stabs a man he's never met to death brutally. He stabs him in the neck, cuts off his head, and mutilates his body, even eating portions of it. He was stabbed over 50 times. Tim McLean was only 22. Now why would I bring up this horrible event? I've never been able to get over one fact...

There were 37 passengers on that bus. 37. Not one attempted to intervene? I understand the fear for one's own safety, but if we all were heroes, if we all stood up, what kind of world would we have? A place where someone snatches a purse and everyone turns in pursuit. A place where kids can get on a bus and if some monster comes on with a knife, someone will try to pull them off, a place where you don't riot and vandalize for absolutely no fucking reason without someone standing in your way.

I now come back to the riots in question.

Was it a Vancouver riot like that of '94? No. It was a few shitty people that intentionally went in there to blow shit up and take advantage of a cover of 100,000 people to get away with vandalism, theft, and violence. It has been revealed that gutted vehicles were brought in with the specific intention of burning them, regardless of whether or not the Canucks won or lost. Some people got swept up in the crowd mentality. Most people didn't think they would be seen in a wave of fans, so they made some stupid choices. But I am proud to be a citizen of Vancouver as most people decided to be heroes.

There were 1,000s that photographed and videotaped the rioters. I heard an incredible story about a group of football players that went into London Drugs after rioters smashed in the windows (with terrified staff still inside) and began to steal merchandise that grabbed said rioters and tossed their shameful asses out on the street until Vancouver Police were able to arrive and block off the store. If you kept an eye on twitter on the night of the riots and the next day, people were giving instant updates to the VPD and sending them photographs and video of the bastards who thought it would be cool to tear our beautiful city apart.

A lesson to every idiot out there, don't commit a crime with 100,000 witnesses.

The photographs I've included are from an outstanding local freelance photographer and are some of the best I have seen from the riots. Her name is Tijana Maria Marguertia Martin and you will certainly want to keep an eye out for her breath taking and powerful work. You can see her official site here.

I want to extend my humble gratitude to everyone who risked their safety to help. Everyone that stopped a vandal, every photographer, everyone who tweeted to the VPD. Vancouver became a city of heroes more than ever. And wouldn't that be an incredible world to live in?

I am proud to say that even more heroes came out Thursday to right wrongs and tidied up our town. People wrote beautiful inspiring messages on the boards covering broken store windows and those boards will now be kept as a reminder.

I love you Vancouver. And don't sweat it, Canucks. We love you, too, and will start next year saying and believing, "this is our year."

Bloody Best!

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