Well it's been a month and a half now since Vancouver had it's reputation for being a plesent city with nice people smeared by a few crazed fans. Yes, I'm talking about the 2011 Stanley Cup Riot. Such a disappointment in mine and a lot of citizens eyes.
I was at work, annoyed at missing the hockey game; trying in vain to get away for a few minutes to the TV in the staff room. Nevertheless, I wasn't to optimistic that the Canucks would win; they have a bad track record when it comes to the Stanley Cup. So I wasn't surprised at all when I heard we lost 4-0. Now, I enjoy hockey, and always watch the Playoffs, even though we haven't won as of yet. There's just some irresistibly when it comes to the playoffs; the whole city is just so alive.
I was working until ten thirty that night; another hard closing shift. A little while after the radio said we lost (I was listening to it on my BlackBerry while I cleaned), a co worker came in and told us the city was rioting and chaos reigned. I was shocked upon hearing this; it's just a f**king hockey game after all! I was concerned about how I was going to get home safely and quickly since I worked at Costco downtown (smack in between Roger's Arena and BC Place). I had heard that all the bridges were closed too so was preparing myself for a long drive home. When I went up to the staff room and saw the destruction, I was speechless; my mouth was literally hanging open. What I saw on the TV looked like it was a movie; fires burned, cars flipped, every store window crashed and each store looted. Cops in riot gear everywhere, hitting people with billy clubs, spraying them, using horses to chase them away. Those brave men and women doing everything in their power to keep order and protect this beautiful city. I just couldn't believe what I was seeing. It still saddens and disturbs me now that people could get so out of control like that.
There was lots of talk about the lack of police presence, especially in that area and the media was pointing a shaking finger at the mayor and chief. Yet it's the people who did this that are to blame; the police can only do so much and have little to no experience when it comes to riots. And why should they? This isn't a politically unstable country where riots and protests are commonplace. There were over a hundred thousand people in a small area of downtown; that alone is asking for trouble. A hundred thousand plus people and less than three hundred cops to maintain order. That's just wrong to start with, but what can you expect when literally all police departments are running on a tight budget? I think the police did as good a job as they could in the situation; just imagine a twenty year old kid trying to control people bent on destruction, fueled by liqueur and who knows what drugs. It's amazing as it is that they were able to get in under control in only four hours.