At the risk of being the last person in the world to give an opinion on the Stanley Cup Riot, I will throw in a few observations of my own. Rarely do my views coincide with the "Main Stream" so I will not be repeating what's already been written. The initial riot was staged between the CBC building and the Post Office, and created countless photo opportunities as the V.P.D. dispersed the crowd harbouring small pockets of experienced thugs, who roved the downtown seeking soft targets for vandalism. Not so destructive as North American riots go, this event was rather tame, but it stings local pride because of the premium Vancouverites (and their government) place on "image".
I was born and raised in a much grittier province - New Brunswick, so I saw a few riots in my youth which were not recorded by cameras. I recall black versus white rioting, and recall the happy hell raising when this or that police union walked off the job, effectively surrendering a town to the mob. My home city of Saint John, N.B. has a history of rioting and killing (ethnic hatreds and labour clashes) which extends back to the 1840s. I was thinking of the "bad old days" as I watched on TV a pair of Vancouver policemen permitting a crowd of jubilant jerks in Canucks jerseys burn two new patrol cars. Now, we have all seen what four motivated federal troopers can do to an unarmed Polish immigrant at the YVR airport, so this surrender of authority was disheartening to say the least. Were the cops intimidated by this mob of happy hooligans? Really? NO. Something else was going on.
None of the hate inspired ugliness of historical Canadian riots can compare to the Game 7 Riot in Vancouver. This is a new phenomenon. A handsome crowd of middle and upper middle-class British Columbians trashed a downtown district for fun, and for the benefit of the media which had deployed staff to cover an eruption of emotion - win or lose, and was not to be denied. Healthy, happy and fashionably dressed, the rioters photographed themselves for hours, committing acts of vandalism, arson and theft. The media had a hot story to peddle worldwide.
Vancouverites are a boastful bunch, seemingly starving for attention. What were the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Games if not a recklessly expensive exercise in self-promotion. What my generation fails to recognize is the latent hostility and aggression in their children, which is manifested in wasteful and destructive behaviors. The fact that so many outraged citizens sought to shame the rioters, bu outing them online, was a healthy process. It would be a powerful social trend - IF - it continued. I ask myself who ultimately is the more dangerous, a teenager ("elite athlete") who brazenly tries to ignite the gas tank of a police car in the midst of crowd of people, or a gangster cold blooded enough to shoot a rival in the parking lot of an IGA? Another question might be, "Who would you prefer as a neighbor - a teen arsonist or one of the bosses of the U.N. gang?" I would rather have the gangster next door, and the reasoning is simple. The gangster has no reason to harm me, or destroy my property. But who is safe from a brazen teen who has torched a police car in front of cameras and in front of the policemen?
I am just one of many cynics who knew the Game 7 Riot was going to take place. I know that the police prefer containment over suppression, and no doubt the Blue Wall recognized many nieces and nephews in the crowd. Still, the sight of policemen standing by as Nathan Kotylak and his buddies torched their ride, was jarring. I might have preferred one of the cops pull his pistol and warn him "Back away from the taxpayer's property, lawless youth". But they didn't. Now it is left to the general public to respond to an expensive new phenomenon - anarchy as entertainment.
Both premeditated crimes - a destructive riot and a planned murder, evidence a callous disregard for human life, so it might be hard to choose between the thugs. I watched those two police cars being torched on Live television, as did a half million others. We all knew that riot would occur, just as we know that there are still thousands of bored youths in our city who fantasize of their own opportunity to put one over on Vancouver law enforcement. With the proliferation of video and cellphone cameras, it's only a matter of time before a local TV station gets the "scoop" of broadcasting someone being stomped to death, just as we got to witness Robert Dziekanski being electrocuted by RCMP tasers.
Nathan Kotylak, wearing the uniform of the Vancouver Canucks, went downtown to wage war. We don't know all he carried in that backpack, but the old dress shirt he is stuffing into the gas tank of the police cruiser did not materialize from thin air. The "star athlete" does not smoke yet he carries tools to light up. He is wearing a hoody, standard gear for the urban anarchist, but at the Game 7 Riot he chose not to conceal his identity. [Photo scraped from the Net, but attributed to Gerry Kahrmann] Video taken at the crime scene, showing Kotylak throwing burning newspaper through the window of the $50,000 police car, is available on Youtube, as is the press conference Kotylak gave to express his regrets for his part in the riot.
Kim Bolan is the famous Vancouver Sun reporter who specializes in local Asian criminals, violent street gangs and Sikh terrorists. Her reports are particularly interesting when she uncovers linkages to the white bread stakeholders in the drug trade - businessmen, lawyers, accountants, realtors, etc. who (witting or unwitting) provide capital or services to the outlaws. On June 21 she shared some of her knowledge of the visit to Burnaby Metrotown of Conor Vincent D'Monte, who is key figure in the UN Gang. Bolan's article is here: Real Estate Council of B.C. probes gang leader's house transactions.
In brief the story is this. A young, healthy male walks into a law office and requests the lawyer witness documents. He wants to transfer sole ownership of his valuable property (7350 Pandora Street , Burnaby) into the hands of his wife, who was said to be a "house wife". It transpired that Ms. Kong had secured employment as a licensed real estate sales person, for the firm which listed the property which D'Monte had transferred to her. The lawyer told the SUN that he did not know that he was witnessing the signature of a local man wanted for murder, and more - he wasn't curious. The SUN published the document on its web page: Had lawyer Larry Routtenburg simply Googled his client "Conor D'Monte", as I did after reading Bolan's story, he would have found on the first page of results an RCMP WANTED Bulletin, complete with colour photograph. The SUN was not implying that the legal profession should begin to 'rat out' clients to FINTRAC or the RCMP, but as a reader I was struck by one more telling juxtaposition - In the same week of saturation news coverage about a widespread effort by law abiding folks to assist their police in identifying the looters and arsonists of the Game 7 Riot, we also read of a professional man with a trained mind, who was not moved to question the motives of a couple who wanted to swap identities on a property.
AND FINALLY THIS USEFUL LINK TO GAME 7 RIOT IMAGES- A revealing set of photos taken during the Stanley Cup Game 7 Riot was published on CRYPTOME last week. It's worth a look. VANCOUVER RIOT AS PERFORMANCE ART.