This August will mark 30 years since I intentionally and consciously made Vancouver my home. Throughout these years, I have always been very happy about that decision – until the hockey game was over last night.
Along with the rest of the world – at least those of us who weren’t downtown and actively participating — I watched with horror and grief while insanity gripped the city I love. A small group of jerks who clearly have no clue about how to have their grievances heard in any kind of self-respectful way took it upon themselves to simply destroy Vancouver. According to our mayor and others in the know last night, this group planned these riots, obviously thinking they had every right to perpetrate this kind of destruction. This is so difficult for most of us to fathom.
Adding insult to terrible injury were the thousands of idiots who remained in the downtown core last night to witness the havoc inflicted by this group of angry and malicious yahoos. What could they have been thinking? Were they so drunk and stoned 3 hours after the game was over that they still thought this was fun?
Let’s face it – the combination of alcohol, drugs, testosterone, and sheer stupidity have caused some terrible damage, both physically and emotionally, for the city of Vancouver.
But – while the whole world is watching and judging us, shaking its collective head and thinking to itself “Tsk, tsk, tsk, it’s just a game” – I, for one, refuse to take on the shame of this horrible situation. I did not cause this. I did not plan this, I did not participate in this.
I did not want this to happen. I see nothing funny or interesting or rewarding about this and, rather than being held psychically hostage by the few thousands who chose to act out in such a heinous way last night, I choose to continue to be a proud Vancouverite who loves her city.
I take no ownership whatsoever for the actions of this mob. As angry as I feel, I refuse to take on any of the shame and blame that rest so squarely on the shoulders of those involved. I will not allow them to represent me.
I feel terribly sad and I grieve for the loss of our positive presence in the world this morning. But as a resident of what continues to be one of the most amazing places on earth, I choose not to be defined by what happened last night. I will not feel ashamed about something I had no part in. The shame belongs to those who were the perpetrators and the onlookers. Let’s leave it with them and hope that one day soon they will be caught and held accountable for their inexplicable transgressions.
Please join me in continuing to love Vancouver – let’s hold our heads high in the face of worldwide shock and potential ridicule and know that the weight of this does not belong to those of us who did not participate.