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From My Mom's Basement: Vancouver Riot Explanations

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Yesterday, the City of Vancouver released a statement about their findings on the causes of the riots that followed the Canucks game seven loss to the Boston Bruins. There has been a great deal of reporting, opinion making, and hand wringing over the statement, none of which seems to look favorably on the city for their response, nor their rationale.

The exact words they used, via the Globe & Mail:

"In spite of four Stanley Cup riots in the last five years, [the NHL] has no approach, no policy and no apparent strategy to work with host franchises and municipalities on this issue," says the lengthy internal report to be debated at a special council meeting on Tuesday. "[This] clearly ... threatens the value and perception of their brand."

For those of you not following, the city blamed the NHL. Yeah.

Not to be outdone in the realm of stupid explanations for things that don't really need them, Laura Robinson of the Winnipeg Free Press blames... hockey itself.

After the jump, a look at both rationales, and why no one should ever believe them.

The NHL is to Blame

The City of Vancouver places blame at the feet of the National Hockey League. Clearly, the NHL should have a special operations force on ready alert for instant deployment around the globe in case of hockey related rioting. When elimination games are being held on Canadian soil, red lights flash, alarms sound, and the team of highly trained washouts from Blackwater go to DEFCON 5, and Predator drones begin broadcasting images back to the masses to see.

Or maybe that was CBC. Whichever works.

As has been mentioned everywhere but here, the NHL is not responsible for policing a city. Not in any way, shape, or form. The Canucks play in Vancouver. That does not mean they are responsible for ensuring the safety of the city outside of the confines and property of Rogers Arena. Even if, by some stretch of the imagination, the Canucks being in town raises the danger of mayhem, the city is still responsible for policing the streets and protecting the citizenry.

I assume the next report will ask the Canucks to also pay to plow snow throughout the city, and to put out fires at homes and business alike. I mean, the people who own them might be Canucks fans, and thus the Canucks are responsible for their well being. Right?

How about this, Vancouver? How about knowing the event was planned (we know you knew), and properly staffing for it? I mean, I get that you are all Canadians and uber polite, but 150,000 people never behave themselves completely. Never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups. Plan accordingly.

Hockey is to Blame

This is the one that gets me. Laura Robinson reaches so far out for a reason for the riots that I am surprised she didn't fall out of her ivory tower. The two paragraphs that really sum it up:

The streets of Vancouver are not an elementary school playground. But a lightweight examination is exactly what they were paid to give; writing about the connection between the public performance of violence -- and how young males learn how to "act out" masculinity through that performance -- is verboten in a country that worships what has become a violent game. Heaven forbid we ask the real question, which is why do we imagine hockey as being much more than it is? The game will always be important to the athletes -- they love what it can be, but few like what it has become.

Hockey is a product packaged by the NHL, the beer companies, other sponsors and, foolishly in the case of Vancouver, by the city itself. Young males learn to consume that product most appropriately when it is infused with alcohol and violence. There must be violence on the ice, but not surprisingly, as Dr. Graham Pollett, chief medical officer for London-Middlesex, has been arguing for years, young males adopt that violence as a model of masculinity.

I think I remember at least a handful of young ladies involved in the riots as well. Maybe the CBC hid that footage to save our poor, fragile gender counterparts. And wait just a damn minute here... young males learn how to "act out" masculinity through the performance of violence. I grew up watching and playing hockey. I love the game more than is probably healthy. I've never participated nor started a riot. I have never met a hockey fan who participated in nor started a riot.

But hey, rock music is the devil, Marylin Manson pushed the Columbine shooters to do their despicable deed, and everyone who has ever played a violent video game is going to commit murder, right?

What ever, lady. What ever helps you sleep at night. All of us damn stupid men, grunting and banging our chests and clubbing each other over the head. We're all just so violent all the time, I don't know how we accomplish anything like formal education, advances in technology, or acts of diplomacy. Thank goodness you ladies are around to keep us in line.

I'll let you go read the article, but Robinson then uses some skewed statistics to drive her point home. She claims acts of violence against women go up during hockey events, and that there simply is no connection to more people being in those areas during that point in time. She uses links to hotel stays to justify her conclusion. Because everyone who goes to a hockey game stays at a hotel afterward, as we all know.

The conclusions Robinson draws are not only flawed logic, but they are even more dangerous than those of the City of Vancouver. While the city believes that a privately held and operated group of franchises should be responsible for the safety of its citizens, Robinson believes that anyone who watches hockey, or should we say men who watch, hockey should be considered dangerous, beer swilling drunkards with zero ability to control their impulses.

My Take

Both the City of Vancouver and Laura Robinson can go straight to hell.

The city needs to own up to their mistakes, hold themselves accountable, and stop trying to put the blame on an organization with no control over the streets of Vancouver. Of course, they likely are just posturing, waiting for the NHL to write a check to cover the costs that should have been budgeted for but weren't. Why not just call the commissioner and ask for help with the costs. A little sugar rather than vinegar.

As for Robinson, she needs to climb down from that tower she hides in and get the chip on her shoulder repaired. Hockey fans don't rape women, rapists do. Hockey fans don't beat women, Neanderthals do. Undeveloped, moronic idiots that are so unaccustomed to living in the real world that they act like animals. These are not normal people, Laura. They are not me, nor my friends, and I, for one, do not appreciate being lumped in with them.

I love the game of hockey, and despise rapists and people who commit unsanctioned acts of violence against anyone, including women. I love the bruising, physical aspect of a hard fought victory on the ice, and I think rape should carry a life sentence without the possibility of parole. I enjoy a good hockey fight (yes, really) and think a man who abuses a woman should get to spend five minutes alone in a dimly lit room with a Force Recon Marine.

But hey... I'm probably the only one of tens of millions of hockey fans who feel this way, right, Laura?