Sunday, June 26, 2011

Vancouver riots

When I first read about the aftermath of that hockey game in Vancouver, I was floored. I mean, what does it take to be considered a riot in Canada? Bumping into someone and failing to say "Excuse me?"

I have to confess, I love Vancouver. Back in 1983 when I was 15, my dad was one of the engineers on the project that would eventually become the Skytrain. I went up there to spend a week with him at his hotel in the suburb of Richmond. Since he had to work during the day, he handed me a wad of bills and a bus schedule and said "Here, go explore." I did, as far as my 15-year-old imagination could take me. I've never quite gotten over the city since. I've always thought Vancouver was what San Francisco would have been if it was cleaner and had better weather.

So as I say, the riots surprised me. What sounds completely in character for Vancouver is the response from the ordinary, non-rioting citizens. As soon as it was safe, they came out to the streets and started cleaning up. How many cities does that happen in?

Read this. And then this. Heroism wears a uniform, or a nurse's scrubs. Common decency carries a broom.