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What's your reaction to the Vancouver riot?

On Cross Country Checkup: Vancouver riot

All the hope and good feeling of weeks of Stanley Cup hockey evaporated in the aftermath of the Canucks' loss. 

Some in the streets used the occasion to trash and burn the city.

How did it come to this?  What's your reaction?

With guest host Peter Armstrong.


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The smoke has cleared, the city is rebuilding. But the image of Vancouver has been, once again, tarnished. It seems hard to recall the pleasant afterglow of the Olympics now. The city had wowed the world. Huge crowds had gathered and peace and harmony had ensued

Most everyone in Vancouver and across Canada had hoped for a replay during the Stanley Cup final. But it was not to be. Vandalism, looting and mob violence ran away with Vancouver's good reputation in a matter of minutes on Wednesday night.

Cars were flipped over and set on fire. Windows were smashed. Stores were looted. Those who tried to stop the mayhem were beaten.

The police blamed a small group of instigators, professional demonstrators hell bent on destruction; those who came downtown prepared to cause damage and used the cover of the crowd to hide from police

But, in thousands of pictures and hours of videos posted on-line you can quickly tell, that's not the whole story. Many of those who jumped in and took part were not your everyday anarchists. They are students, athletes, middle class kids who dove into the deep end of an embarassing pool.

Others, by the thousands, stood by and cheered, took pictures, posing in front of burning police cars. The sheer volume of spectators hampered police efforts to stop the chaos.

But the crowd that was accused of providing cover is proving itself a treasure trove of evidence in the aftermath.

The drunken bufoonery that followed the game may well prove to be the most photographed riot in history. And THAT has led to a new twist in the post-riot saga. In each crowd, a sea of arms was raised holding cell phone cameras.

Those pictures and video have since been posted online in an effort to shame those reponsible. Police are poring over them, using face recognition software to put names to the rioters and lay charges.

BC's Premier Christy Clark has called on citizens to single out the guilty. Websites have answered her call, outing those responsible in a public shaming rarely, if ever seen after an event like this.

The morning after the riots, Vancouverites woke up ashamed and sickened of what had happened to their city. They flocked downtown to help. They wanted the streets clean again, but as much, they wanted their city's reputation back.

What do YOU think. Could this have been prevented? Could it have been handled differently? The headlines blamed angry or frustrated Canucks fans, but many say the real fans had nothing to do with it. Do you agree? Did police learn anything from the last time this happened... in 1994?

And of course, what about all those photos and videos -- this whole notion of public shaming? Will the presence of so many cameras deter the next crowd from descending into mayhem?

Many questions... our topic today: What's your reaction to the Vancouver riot?

I'm Peter Armstrong sitting-in for Rex Murphy, on CBC Radio One, and on Sirius satellite radio channel 159 ...this is Cross Country Checkup.




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It is sad that this kind of element exists in society. However, with that huge crowd of thousands, there should have been 400 - 500 police officers in amongst the crowd in groups of 4 - 6. That would have prevented things from getting out of hand in the first place. Another example of those in charge not thinking things through, and exploring the possibilities of what might go wrong. It does not take rocket science to figure out that over-crowding combined with booze and drugs will be a problem if not managed properly, win or lose. What will they do next time ?

John Nicholas
Edmonton, Alberta

The riots in Vancouver clearly indicate the state of mind of quite a few people in Canada.
They have been brainwashed by private sports entertainment companies such as the NHL into thinking that the ice hockey games played by their employees are a matter of national importance and pride. So while these brainwashed and deluded fans of ice hockey go around rioting and destroying property that belongs to other citizens of Canada, these sports entertainment corporations go laughing all the way to the bank.

A solution to this problem will be to make these private sports entertainment corporations and their owners pay for any damage caused to public and private property by their deluded and crazy fans.

Why should the law abiding public of Canada have to pay for the damage caused by the money making activities of private sports entertainment corporations?

Victor Matthews
Ottawa, Ontario

It seems to me that Facebook today is taking the place of the "stocks" used to shame people in the medieval marketplace.  I can only hope that it will be effective.
Gerry Laarakker
Coldstream, British Columbia

I grew up in Vancouver, but now I am living in Sechelt. Before game seven I passed on words of wisdom to people, asking them to remember 1994 and to talk to their friend and children to do what they can to prevent it from happening again. The night of game seven I went to bed crying, I was appalled at what I was seeing. I couldn't believe that it was real, I could not believe the city I grew up in was in that state. I was very happy when I saw how so many people went out the next morning to clean up, that makes me happy and proud. I then got upset again when I was hearing people trash the Vancouver police. Nothing is perfect, maybe they could have done things better, but the could also have been worse. Due to so many insults, my husband and I sent the police some flowers. I want the police, and fire fighters, and paramedics know, how there are more people in great appreciation of them, than there are in anger with them.

We did have a horrible event, but it ended very beautifully, we have to always be thankful for that.

Sarah Vatnsdal
Sechelt, British Columbia

It seems to me that, win or lose, there was going to be a riot after the game. As a university student of the sixties, I think that I have matured to be able to use a degree of common sense.  Riot for human rights issues, not for a sporting event.

As was evidenced at the Toronto G20 riots, the instigators covered their faces. I think the police should be given carte blanche to arrest and detain those in a crowd where mayhem occurs who cover their faces. If you are certain that what you do is correct and righteous, show yourself and stand up for it. Don't be a coward and cover your face.

Stephen Stone
New Ross, Nova Scotia

I would like to see that the people that tried to intervene and protect businesses and cars be given special recognition by the City of Vancouver at a ceremony thanking them for their service, stepping up and doing what is right. If you can spot the baddies in the photo's and bring them to justice, you can just as easily spot the good guys, and give them special recognition for their efforts.

Gwyn Davie
Victoria, British Columbia

It was unrealistic to believe that the downtown gathering  for the at home games would be like those for the Olympics. The Olympic crowds were there from morning to night, and were made up of everyone from seniors to young families with babies in strollers.  We felt like hosts, mingling with people from all over the world. The competitors we watched on screens were participants from all over the world, competing for many prizes. However, all the conditions for a repeat of the 1994 riots existed there on Wednesday; the final game: at home: a loss: thousands of young people gathered in the same spot fueled with alcohol and riding on the coat tails of a few bent on willful destruction and chaos.

Louise Whitaker
Burnaby, British Columbia

I stayed downtown after the game because I wanted to witness and particpate in such a large event.  Shortly after game's end, guys in the area I was at were tipping over newspaper boxes and destroying plants in planters- this evolved into punches, stabbings and other injuries. By the time the cars were set on fire, I was right in the middle of the intersection of Granville & Georgia - a hub of activity. What I saw first-hand over and over, were gangs of guys - late teens to mid 20's - whipping themselves and each other into frenzies to fight and cause trouble. Sure some were drinking - but NOT not all of them  All however, were SHEEP following and bleeting after whoever was the loudest voice.
I do not blame hockey or the CBC for helping our city get excited about being a part of such an event, or the understaffed & outnumbered police who had the whole thing tied off by 11pm. (We all know the criticism they would have recevied if they had used more force.)

There were no doubt, professionals there setting fires & getting people going - but what I saw, non-stop throughout the night were young males, excited & participating in mob thinking and actions. These were clean, shiny, well dressed guys of all colours. THEY are to blame for their own actions and should be held accountable. 

I am proud of how our citizens have said this is not acceptable and are assisting with IDing via photos & vids. My only hope is that the legal system will carry through and not be lienient because some of them turned themselves in or say they were drunk or whatever else.

Melanie Li
Vancouver, British Columbia

Why isn't the NHL responsible for security at hockey games?  Why does the cost of security, not to mention the inevitable costs to repair/replace damaged properties (because insurance companies never pay off 100%), have to come out of taxpayers' pockets?
I say the NHL should provide security and riot control, in a manner similar to mega-rock concerts.  That way, the price could be tacked onto ticket prices, to more accurately reflect the true cost of hockey to the spectator.
Richard Weatherill
Victoria, British Columbia

Today is Father's Day. What happened in Vancouver is a catastrophic failure in parenting.
Nothing more. Morals don't come from church or school, they come from Dad's and Mom's. 70-hour workweeks to pay off unbelieveable real estate values does not a responsuible adult make. Note that very few women were involved in the worst of it.
Thomas Brawn
Ottawa, Ontario



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