Since my last post, I’ve had some time to think, reflect and gather more data about what went down Wednesday evening. Obviously my knowledge is still extremely limited, as is the nature of communication and media, but some new insight (from thoughtful friends and various blogs and publications) have helped me build a fuller picture of the situation. Unfortunately, it’s only added fuel to my fire (if you’ll pardon the metaphor), sparking further questions into the nature of humanity and how it is we can ever live in a civilized world. Apparently the atrocities were not the sole effect of too much alcohol, testosterone and broken dreams. People, some might say “anarchists” (though premeditated violence and looting doesn’t quite match my understanding of anarchism) had designs on the city before the game had even begun. Some of the rioters were known to have wreaked havoc during other events, like the Olympics and the G-20 Summit in Toronto. However, in this scenario, the authorities had no warning, no apparent reason to hire extra security and protection. In hindsight, perhaps a little naive, but I think it’s safe to say the whole city was a little high off the possibility of the Stanley Cup win and the pre-fab community that emerged as a result. That fact that “professional rioters,” if you will, instigated the violence is understandably easier to swallow than thinking Vancouver hockey fans are just incredibly poor losers. However, it is a slippery slope to point the finger at a small group and blame the rest on “mob mentality.” As most people would agree, there are such humans who live to destroy. For whatever reason, their psychodynamic has led them to derive pleasure out of performing destructive acts and they proactively seek out such experiences. These are the people we see in horror movies, behind bars, or read about in psychology textbooks. These people are a threat to society and the safety of other individuals, there is no doubt about that. However, we also have this other contingent: people who are, by most accounts, well-meaning, law-abiding, good-natured citizens. These people don’t stand out as being violent or aggressive, perhaps even less so than someone who expresses their anger openly. But under certain circumstances, these people are willing to completely defy all their usual rules and give total control over to their emotions. I’m sure I’m going to get shit for this, but I believe these people are more dangerous than the so-called anarchists. I say this because they are invisible. They are not stating any adverse principles or ideals, they are not rejecting the status quo, they are accepting it, playing along, until someone gives them permission, and then they’re completely unpredictable.
I think it’s good for all of us to consider our boundaries, our ethics, and what we think is right. There is so much we do without even thinking, just because our parents said, or society says, or because it’s always been that way. But when those structures aren’t there, it’s easy to get disoriented; unfamiliar territory and intense emotional charge can create a lot of distress. I tend to think events like this are the result of a culturally accepted lack of thinking, lack of evaluation, lack of ethics and, again, lack of love. Not to get all hippie dippie, but if you think about a time you felt intense love, maybe with a loved one or after a beautiful film, do you think you could then go out and throw a newspaper dispenser through a store window? I couldn’t. Only with feelings of intense despair, fear and desperation could I imagine doing such an act. It’s like they say about pit bulls, they’re not inherently mean dogs, but their owners train them to be vicious. Well we need to train ourselves to not be vicious, we need to train ourselves to love. We need to embrace our fears; not run away from our negative emotions, but rather understand them. Otherwise we’ll end up with a society plagued with of well-meaning, but under the right circumstances willing to destroy everything they’ve built, individuals. It sort of reminds me of a child who destroys his own lego castle because he doesn’t get his way. Perhaps that’s the most apropos metaphor of all because at the end of the day, I think we all have a lot of growing up to do.
On a separate note, if you can identify anyone in this video, please let me know.