Oh, Canada. I’m sure I’m not the only foreigner who thought you were just the harmless cousins of America. You looked like such a peaceful place, with your moose and your charming pronunciation of the word about. But now look what you’ve gone and done – smashing shop windows, starting car fires, provoking riot police to shoot you with tear gas; you’re just like the rest of us, aren’t you?
Of the 100,000 that gathered in downtown Vancouver following the Canucks 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins, 160 were injured and 12 were stabbed. Fortunately no-one was killed. The usually peaceful town is said to have been left reeling following the riots, with ashamed citizens helping officials to clean up the mess made by those involved in the destruction the previous evening. Those helping also tried to paint a brighter image of their city, leaving messages such as “On Behalf of my team and my city, I’m Sorry [sic]” on walls for the World to see. To summarise, everyone was really bloody embarrassed.
But don’t worry, Vancouver; in the UK sports hooliganism has always been a prevalent issue. The ‘fans’ of two of my local opposing football teams, Aston Villa and Birmingham City, meet up every season to beat seven shades of shit out of each other; the severity of the hatred between the rabid supporters means that an individual’s loyalty to a particular team will often take precedence over everything else. It’s violent, it’s terrifying, but ultimately it’s very, very, silly.
But the reason for this hooliganism isn’t because of a stupid game of football, just as the Vancouver riots didn’t start because the Canadians were so vehemently pissed off that the puck didn’t land in the back of the oppositions net as often as it should’ve done. No, it started because a large group of drunk kids got together in a number that wasn’t containable by the police, and seized the opportunity to act out their anarchic fantasies.
The rioters themselves didn’t even look that angry. After hearing about the whole ordeal I quickly searched for video footage expecting to see images of a Canucks fan holding aloft the severed head of a Bostonite, but the most graphic clip I found was this little gem.
From what I saw the whole riot could’ve easily been misinterpreted as an elaborately staged attempt by the youth of Vancouver to take cool Facebook profile pictures, with several clips appearing online of assorted dickheads setting vehicles alight before throwing up a white kid gang sign, with their buddies taking snapshots of the whole ordeal on their iPhone’s.
Watching the riots was like watching a group of dogs being told that they were finally allowed to sit on the couch. Unfortunately rather than taking that opportunity and behaving responsibly and civilised, they decided to tear apart its cushions and piss all over the seats. It’s not the “end of the world as we know it” as some hypochondriac YouTube commenter’s have stated, but it is a stark reminder of why us naughty humans should be kept on our leashes sometimes.
Photo Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS