Aftermath – Vancouver Riots 2011


The legacy of the ‘Stanley Cup Finals and Vancouver Riots of 2011’ may well end up being the ensuing social debate. We’ll here collect links to representative opinions, and other articles of interest. [This post will be updated with further readings; Please post suggested links, quotes or subjects in the comments. -ed. ]

Theories of Causation (not mutually exclusive):

1. “Criminals, anarchists and thugs”
– Police Chief; Mayor (Globe and Mail, Van.Sun)
– No, not anarchists (Brian Hutchinson, NatPost)

2. Widespread Deep-Seated Societal Problems
Adrian Mack and Miranda Nelson, Georgia Straight

3. ‘Disenfranchisement/Disinvestment/Powerlessness’
Froogle Scott

4. Sport Fan Riot/’Fun’/’Exciting’
“Forget Freud, Forget Marx. Rioting, above all, is fun.” – Andrew Potter, Macleans
Douglas Todd, Vancouver Sun

5. Bad Parenting

6. Mob Mentality/Madness of Crowds
Chronicle Herald

7. Poor Planning by Authorities
Calgary Herald

8. The Inherent Violence of Hockey Itself

9. Other?

Other subjects of interest:

Concerns About The City’s Reputation
“.. a huge black eye for the city of Vancouver” – James O’Brien, online hockey writer, NBC Sports

Comparison with the Olympics:
– Different
– Not So Different: Christie Blatchford

Comparison with G20 T.O.
– Different: Toronto Standard

City preparation
VPD response, Globe and Mail.
Police Chief acknowledged mistakes, 17 Jun 2011, Nat.Post
“Mayor Gregor Robertson was a little naive. He wanted these live events. He wanted a great big fun city.” – Leo Knight, former Vancouver city cop and RCMP, chief operating officer Palladin Security.
Debating the blame, 21 Jun 2011, G&M

The Effect of Social Media
Globe and Mail, ParsonsBlog
– “…the massive online reaction to the Vancouver riots is unprecedented and as groundbreaking as WikiLeaks.” – Christopher Schneider, a UBC sociologist

Public Outings of Rioters
– various websites: ‘Vancouver 2011 Riot Criminal List’; publicshamingeternus

“For reasons I can’t really explain, I went from being a spectator to becoming part of the mob mentality that swept through many members of the crowd.”Nathan Kotylak (pictured above)

“A UBC student photographed leaving Black & Lee Tuxedos with a piece of clothing in her hands has been called out online by one UBC donor, who is threatening to pull his annual donation if she isn’t expelled.” – Vancouver Sun, 19 Jun 2011

“Alex Prochazka, 20, a professional mountain biker, was photographed during the riots with a T-shirt emblazoned with the name of a sponsor. He has since lost multiple sponsorship deals and told The Sun, “I didn’t go there for the riot, I went for the hockey game and got caught up in the hysteria of it afterwards.”Vancouver Sun, 20 Jun 2011

Self Confessions
– Semi-Voluntary: G&M
– Unintentional: news957

Proclaimed Heroes
example1; example2; others

Backlash Against Social Media and Public Outings
“The online forums have gotten pretty ugly. It enables a whole dark side of our psyche to go public … it’s too bad and I hope it turns around quickly.” – Mayor Gregor Robertson
“I don’t think we want to live in a society that turns social media into a form of crowdsourced surveillance.” – Alexandra Samuel, Harvard Business Review

The Iconic Kissing-Couple
yahoo, cbc

The Clean-Up
Georgia Straight

The “Citizens’ Wall”

Healing? Penance? Purification? Blaming?
“Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city has been in touch with merchants and asked them not to throw the plywood away, while archival staff consider ways to save what he calls “these pieces of history.” – G&M 19 Jun 2011 [This just 4 days after the riots themselves. An attempt to instantly manufacture a palatable history. -ed.]

Notice How Nobody Is Talking About The Hockey Result
“I would like to congratulate the Boston Bruins on a game well played for the Stanley Cup.” – local Canuck fan
‘Ballad of Brock Anton’

‘You Gotta Be Here’

16 responses to “Aftermath – Vancouver Riots 2011

  1. Just a mix of booze, disappointment, and mob mentality for which the police was unprepared for. Everything else is people making stories in their heads such as finding justification for their actions or doing deep socialistic analysis. The intoxicated mind cannot be explained by logical thought.

    As a country we chose to legalize the consumption of alcohol. Society knew that this kind of consumptions will have negative consequences, such as violence perpetrated by intoxicated individuals. It was decided to tax alcohol to pay for the damages to society and to provide educational and rehab programs to help society help themselves. For example, the Ontario liquor store makes $1.2 billion of profits a year, which are collected by the government. So if people are asking who will pay for the damages? Look no further than that.

    If Canada wants changes in young people’s radical behaviour, they should treat the consumption of alcohol in a more serious manner. There are daily TV ads promoting that in order to have fun one should consume some booze – Vancouver riots – Out of the blue – Yoohoo!! If they don’t get this problem under control, there will be more riots in the future, which is fine with me, but then don’t complain about it and accept it as something that does happen from time to time.

    Pressing criminal charges against the individuals, especially spectators that just joined in, will have very little benefit to society in this case. Are we going to prosecute the guy who smashed an already smashed car? Why destroy their future? For what? Will it prevent another riot in the future? Ordering some community service would be good though.

    I found Vancouver’s reaction to these riots quite strange. It’s as if they want to sell an image that Vancouver is perfect. Riots happen everywhere every year, the world barely took notice of this one and has already forgotten. Vancouver’s image as a nice town has not been tarnished, nor will this have any effects on outside investors. I mean, just look at Bangkok, street battles with automatic rifles and coups happens almost every year, yet investors and tourists still keep on coming. Heck, riots even happened in East Germany, even though big brother was in full force. Same reason there, people drinking booze.

    • I agree with alot of what you’re saying but alcohol was just one part of why the crowd went mad. Like the fuel thrown on the fire. In fact, many of those people didn’t seem very drunk, if at all. The best explanation is by Stephen Maher in the Chronicle Herald link above.

      At this point, the story is getting old and irritating. Very few people got seriously hurt, and the most injured guy did it to himself (may they heal quickly). All the shops are back in business.

      I’m just wondering how much all these “special prosecutors” are going to cost us.

    • Agree with Mike the riot analyses are getting irritating. What got me on Friday was how 7 of 9 stories on CBC were riot related. Betty Fox’s obit got pushed and mixed with all these various riot pieces. Am I the only one who finds this angering? Why not give Fox’s legacy 5 stories? Surely her positive legacy eclipses a few hours of smashy-smashy. Shame.

  2. I liked Andrew Potter’s take on it all, in that most people are over-thinking this.

    • Thanks, added the link.
      Also updated the post with The Mayor’s criticism of the identification of rioters on social media, and his attempt to instantly manufacture a ‘good’ history by stating the intention to preserve the ‘Citizens’ Wall’ (just 4 days after the fact).

  3. Locally, people will continue to obsess and puzzle over this for a long time, but the only thing most of the rest of the world will remember is that kissing couple!

    I’m serious. Riots come and go — in fact we’ll soon see plenty more over a long hot summer in Europe and elsewhere — but the kiss was iconic, and we live in a world where perceptions and feelings matter more than realities.

    This actually puts a feel-good spin on it all for overseas observers. Tourism will not be affected at all. It would have been very different if a Bruins fan had died.

    How foreign investors will react is another story. I think the most damaging image could be the one of the Asian dude yelling with the green hockey stick, rather than the photos of stuff burning. Chinese real estate buyers will see that and worry about their children and grandchildren “going native”. Still, the damage may be less than originally feared.

  4. Where is all the civic pride when realtors are buying houses in east Van, leaving the sign out front, jacking the price by $50,000 and flipping it on to some poor bastard with a massive CMHC mortgage? The damage from these riots will be measured in millions, the damage from the speculative mania will be measured in hundreds of billions. I too was disgusted by what I saw on tv the night of the Stanley Cup final, not the unfortunate collapse of a hockey team or the puerile breaking of glass, but of the local reporters who suddenly found their moral compass. These reporters had no problem telling me how disgusted they were with the spectacle before them, these same reporters who stand off to the side, “impartially” holding up their microphone for Cameron Muir to pitch whatever fiction about the legitimacy of stratospheric housing prices he chooses to trot out. Cut out footage of helicopters circling White Rock stuffed with actors…err…investors from oversears. Welcome to the best place on earth.

  5. Another article on the social media aspect of the post-riot human search engine was on the Harvard Business Review Blog.

    • Ah that’s another good one for the annals.

      There was disturbing footage of a young Iranian protester dying after being shot on the street that made headlines last year. What got me about the footage was that there were as many people snapping videos and pics of her dying as there were people rushing to her aid.

      Imagine a day where youth decide to protest and riot over something that really matters. If you’re rioting over something that extols a message for the greater good, the more cameras the better, perhaps.

  6. The people involved in the riot should be identified and prosecuted. If you wonder what the cost to our society will be, I assure you that it will cost far less than allowing the youth of this city to continue with the mentality that there are no consequences for their actions.
    A few years ago, my cousin was at a house party in Abby. I am not sure if alcohol was involved, my guess would be yes. As she left the party she was followed by a group of six other kids who proceded to beat her up in the street. These kids all knew my cousin, knew that she was a type 1 diabetic, and likely would have beaten her to death if an adult in a passing car had not stopped and resued her. My cousin went home and my aunt called the police. At 3am when they had finished taking my cousins statement, my aunt inquired whether the police would go directly to the homes of the attackers and inform their parents. Her thinking was that hey, it’s 3am and I am out of bed because my child was attacked. Shouldn’t these other parents also be “inconvenienced” and have to wake up and deal with what their kids have done. The cops refused to wake up the parents of the attacking kids.

    My point is, the cops have actually helped shape the mindset of todays youth. It’s not that these kids feel disenfranchised…it’s that they have learned that there are no consequences. If we as a society continue to say that it is to costly, to much hassle, etc…to prosecute bad behavior, criminal behaviour…then what the hell do we expect to happen.

    • +1. I agree entirely with you. And I’ll add that people have figured out that even if they’re caught, all they have to do is express remorse and they’ll get away with it. And even if they don’t, all they’ll get is a slap on the wrist, and it won’t matter anyway.

    • For many a “slap on the wrist” is a big deal. Your friends know about it, your employer knows about it, and your family knows about it. Anyone who thinks that a first-time-offender gets off Scot-free hasn’t had such an event happen to them. I’ve seen it and it changes people, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but it’s not something they took as a joke; adding jail time wouldn’t change much. For a great many people, the mere shock of seeing the justice system at a glance, with its cold formality, is enough. For another group of people, that’s all that’s left since public shaming has lost most of its potency.

      Sorry about your cousin, T. In that instance it sounds like the police let your family down.

      • Webterractive

        Yeah but you cannot get fired if being in a mob and acting stupid doesn’t affect the job that you do. There are lawyers for that, and as for the Burrard Acura chic, well taking pants that you don’t need doesn’t make you a thief like her boss pretty much said. But people won’t do business with you, well that’s just business. So tomorrow that same anecdote can be applied if you refuse to do business with a McDonald’s because someone gay works there. Do you fire the homosexual/lesbian or do you let them eat somewhere else? Gordon Campbell is the great example, he erected tougher DUI laws, yet he had his own DUI from before, hypocrite? or lesson learned? Sven Robertson is protecting a Chinese national who is wanted for a multi-billion dollar scheme in Xiamen, China, but this is coming from someone that attempted to steal an expensive wedding ring. So what’s his reasons? Cause he too is a thief or does he really care about human rights?

      • ahhhh so that’s your deal

  7. Vreaa, you forgot to include this picture in your list (look at the guy on the right…)!

  8. Webterractive

    The clean up attempt is an image seller. It’s the fact that people that are cleaning up were cheering people on but like a hang over it feels bad the next day. So it’s like I AM CANADIAN, except it’s BC THE BEST PLACE ON EARTH. Like Canucks hockey it started with a few, but the bandwagon effect takes place and now everyone’s been living in Vancouver their city even though they live somewhere else or have just arrived. Like hockey “Loungo, Kesler, and Sedin” will win the cup, forgetting to mention that the Canucks are made up of more people than the obvious three. This will fade as most fads do, but it just shows the true non-identity mentality of BC. We’re all drunk in Kelowna in the summer, we’re all the fireworks in July, and we’re all what ever the wave of social flavors dictates. That’s why everyone I see now-a-days has a tattoo, expressive art? Nope just because it’s cool and in. Everyone was green shifting a couple of years ago. Most politicians will play into this and it will be interesting to see how it’s exploited, perhaps next election BC won’t be lowest in ballots cast.

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