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Thursday, June 16, 2011

Angry and Embarrassed

I was kept up most of the night due to the 5 helicopters hovering overhead.  What the hell were these people thinking?  I hesitate to refer to them as people as they behaved like animals.  The group responsible were mostly young men and a few women, under 25.  See?  This is what happens when parents stop spanking their kids and teachers became afraid of the ugly teenagers.

As reported yesterday, it started off with so much excitement and promise.  I was actually having a great time (well, except for the eye thing) and it was easy to get caught up in the energy all around you.  However, even before the game started, there seemed to be a bit of a shift.  You could feel it in the air.  In fact, one group of kids walking down the middle of Granville street started to shout "Riot 94" at the top of their lungs.  I really didn't pay much attention at the time as I figured this particular group was either in diapers back then or still just a twinkle in daddy's eye (wonder if that particular daddy wishes he could take back that twinkle?).

I watched in awe from my office 29 floors above Georgia street as the crowd surged to at least 100,000 below me.  It was quite a scene.  I was invited to watch the game from an office on the 8th floor as they had a party going in their boardroom with wine and food (two popular favorites). 

The game started off great and it was exciting to be in a room where everyone else was excited.  After the first goal and at the end of the first period, I ventured down to street level to take in the crowd.  A bigger shift had started.  The young men were no longer just yelling "Go Canucks Go" but now swearing about the Bruins, pushing and shoving and kicking the garbage can in front of the building.  The change was palpable.  I went back inside for the second period.

As the second goal was scored half way through, I figured it was time to get the hell outta dodge.  Not only did I expect a huge number of people to leave the downtown core now making transit a bit of a nightmare, but I had a feeling it might get ugly on the streets.  I had no idea how ugly.  I only thought perhaps some fighting, perhaps a broken window or two.  What happened next caught me completely by surprise.

I made it home safe and sound and totally oblivious to the mayhem that had started to take place only a few blocks  from my home.  I knew the helicopters had been up there since about 3pm - but there were only 2 - one for the police and one for a news organization.  By about 7:30pm, I looked up and counted 5 plus 3 small airplanes.  By 8:30 billows of smoke were rising above the city.  The city was on fire - cars, garbage cans, newspaper stands and the awning on The Bay.  I could hear what sounded like canons going off in the distance as police set off smoke bombs and tear gas.

I ran back inside to turn on the news to see what on earth was happening.  I was sickened to see the mayhem and the idiots who were standing around taking pictures.  My office building was surrounded and I watched while looters broke windows in The Bay, London Drugs, Pacific Centre stores, Sears, Chapters and the list goes on.  My children started calling by 9pm to make sure I was home safe and sound (aww, they love their mama).

As I arose from the train station this morning, it was to a bit of a surprise.  While I could see the broken windowns of the train station, the boards covering the windows of The Bay and London Drugs and the others, the streets themselves had been pretty much cleaned up and other than the stores being closed, it appeared to be business as usual.  Mind you, most of us were looking in around in shock and it was eerily quiet for a bustling weekday morning.

I am embarrassed by what this makes our city look like to everyone else.  The vast vast majority are feeling the same.  I think those idiots, when they are caught - and they will be as they smiled for the cameras taking their pictures - should have to not only pay the cost of clean up, but have to perform their community service by wearing  bright orange and yellow vests emblazoned with "Forgive me for being an idiot" or "I'm too stupid and need help tying my shoes" while they pick up garbage on the side of the road, paint park benches, clean the beaches or any other menial job we can think of.  Then they should have their drivers licences revoked until the value of each of the cars they burned is paid in full.  I understand that Hummer they burnt to the ground could take a few years to pay off.

I will keep you posted.  I now need to focus on this weekend and my training for the 24 hour relay.

Cheers

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