I think it’s safe to say that the majority of people who make sweeping opinions about things are not actually affected by whatever it is they have an opinion on. Like, for instance, people who condemn the “drug scourge” in our inner cities; who’s got the harshest criticisms? Rich white men who absolutely never have to set foot in our inner cities ever. Or those fervent “patriots” who want nothing more than to bomb the Middle East into submission: those are your mullet-clad rednecks with cans of Bud in their hands and a million excuses as to why they’re not “over there” getting the job done for Uncle Sam.
The point is, the only people I want to hear from when referencing the Vancouver riots last night are the business owners whose establishments have been destroyed. Everyone else is simply parroting politicians with no real ties to the carnage going down on the streets.
First of all, unless there were a bunch of murders or rapes, I don’t see what the problem is! Some property damage, BIG DEAL. That’s why we pay exorbitant amounts of money for insurance!
Oh, it’s a “black eye” for the city of Vancouver. Is it really? Is anyone going to remember this in two months outside of Vancouver? Unlikely. Being embarrassed isn’t the worst thing in the world. You feel a little shame, some time passes, that shame goes away. No one is going to hold this against Vancouver. Except, you know, for the fact that they stuck thousands of drunken fans in one outside area to watch the game on a jumbo screen … didn’t that kinda have Riot Waiting To Happen written all over it, win or lose? I don’t think they’ll be doing that next time.
I understand why the mayor and other city officials might be upset; they HAVE to be upset. They’re conditioned to be upset. Politicians are compelled to feel whatever it is the majority of their constituents feel. But, anyone who’s not a politician, or a business owner whose store just got looted the fuck out, I don’t want to hear what you have to say.
I won’t accept your Holier Than Thou stance on things you don’t understand. You can sit there behind your computers, wagging your finger at the heartbroken, angry citizens around you, but you’re not going to convince me of anything except that you forgot what it’s like to be a fan.
To be passionate about something. To care so deeply that just yelling and screaming and booing aren’t enough to express the rage you’re feeling. This carnal uprising, instigated by a single spark: the game is over, everyone is dazed and upset, wandering listlessly through the streets; then someone throws a beer bottle, it crashes against the hood of a car. Soon, another bottle and another bottle, until the rest of the herd is joining in on the ephemeral joys of taking out their frustration on whatever and whoever stands in their way.
No, I’m not going to condemn the people of Vancouver who participated in last night’s riots. In the heat of the moment, people are capable of just about every unthinkable act. I blame those people not involved, those casting their ire on the troublemaking few: you hold just as much of the blame. You hold your city to a higher standard for reasons undeserved. Then, when you realize Vancouver is just like every other city – with feelings and emotions and pent-up frustration – you try to pull the “We’re Better Than This” card. I’m sorry, but you’re not. You’re no better than Detroit or Los Angeles or any of those insane soccer cities over in Europe.
And, you know what? There’s nothing wrong with that. Loosen up that tie and uproot that stick from your ass, Vancouver. Join us in the depraved world of sports fandom. Sometimes, it gets a little messy, but that’s nothing a few cold ones can’t help you to forget.