I was in Vancouver for Game 7. We were in the large crowd about 1/2 a block from where the riots started. We left early and stayed up late watching the news and listening to the police helicopters. It's a sad moment for Vancouver. Call in shows, TV experts and the print media had a single focus all day Thursday and they missed the real story. Hooligans and anarchists saw and seized an opportunity to exploit the situation. They counted on a mob mentality taking over. They hoped correctly and got their desired result. They rioted for 6 hours until police got the situation under control.
The collective hand wringing, apologizing and prognosticating of Vancouverites and Canadians at large has now gone on for well over 24 hours. We are embarrassed, humiliated, etc, etc by the actions of a relative handful of trouble makers. In true Canadian fashion we will probe what has gone wrong with society, how this could happen and what should be done about it.
Lost in the shuffle are the heroes in Vancouver. Hundreds of police officers showed tremendous restraint in dealing with the rioters. Hundreds of Vancouverites volunteered, organized and came downtown to serve their city and assist in the clean up. My son and I drove through the area on Thursday morning. The street were clean. Windows were boarded up and people were orderly, calm and sweeping and cleaning. As we got to the Bay Store that was looted, people had begun to write thank you notes on the wood to those who had stepped up to keep things from getting worse. It's now called 'The Citizen Wall'. Click the link to see what people have written. Last night, a police officer left his vehicle unattended only to return to see his car surrounded by a crowd of people. Fearing the worst, he was relieved and delighted to see his cruiser covered with sticky notes expressing words of thanksgiving and appreciation.
The Vancouver media could do the city a huge favour by shifting their focus solely to the actions of the heroes. The world needs to hear about the great people of Vancouver who refuse to be defined by the violent actions of a few. Use your influence to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism that didn't need a committee to respond to an obvious need. Send the message that represents the true spirit of your great city.
Oh yeah... and Go Canucks! (from a Blackhawks fan who thinks you can do it next year...)