. Not the city per se but the adrenalin (read alcohol) fuelled idiots who trashed the place after their ice hockey team was roundly beaten by the Bruins in the Stanley Cup a while back. Vancouver
What do I blame them for? The riots in
, of course. London, England
They should have known that this outward display of aggression; this show of brute strength against such formidable foes as shop windows and stationary vehicles could only have ended badly. Not only did they trash the stores that they regularly shop in and the very cars that they drive (clever, eh), they also unleashed a beast: a snarling venomous devil that lives across the
Atlantic in good old Blighty.
I could almost hear the murmurings as the
riot took place: the “Cor blimey guvnor, who the bleedin’ ‘ell do they think they are? We’re the best rioters (in the western world, of course. We can’t discount the folks in the Vancouver Middle East, who take it to a whole new level and over throw governments!), we’ll show ‘em!”
And so they did. The unfriendly masses of middle England, so long kept quiet, dormant almost, by a fix of low interest rates, infinite credit and rabid consumerism, finally reared up to reveal their drool soaked, TV dinner encrusted, maniacal leering faces.
Now, media commentators in the
will tell you that the riots were sparked by the police killing a Tottenham man. And, I don’t want to take away from the seriousness of this incident whether it was right or wrong. But, and it’s a big ‘but’, when you see the supposed protesters carrying off TVs, DVD players, toasters, even a safe from a local bookmakers, you have to think that some folks decided to have a riot not out of a sense of horrific injustice but simply for a riot’s sake, a laugh even. UK
And, the trouble with that is the disenfranchised face of English society (whether it be the unemployed, football hooligans, or just plain bad tempered idiots) is very good at making trouble. We have a track record of urban burning, sporting mayhem and plain old looting, you see. And, I won’t even mention the crusades or slavery!
Perhaps subconsciously that’s why I got the hell out of Dodge last year (for Dodge substitute North London, just a few blocks from where the stench of burning police cars hangs heavy in the air at the moment) and escaped to the sedate little community that is Haliburton.
But even here, I struggle to shake off old fears and hang ups. I still lock and bolt the doors at night. I’m wary of strangers and I post a sentry to guard the property when I’m away. Trouble is he’s only two and tends to get distracted by chipmunks and digging in the dirt. Still, a little discipline and we’ll knock him into shape… Or is that slavery? Damn it!
But, my message to you Haliburtonians is never get too comfortable. Always expect the unexpected. We may live in this rural idyll but we should never take our safety and sanity for granted. It only takes a few agitators to start trouble. Imagine if the turkeys decided that Thanksgiving was not a reason to run and hide but a call to arms! Just think what would happen if the mosquitoes actually coordinated their attacks (some would say they already do, I’m sure)? What if the local art community got sick and tired of painting landscapes for cottages and rose up to form a guerrilla force of wild eyed watercolourists hell-bent on disfiguring local beauty spots!!!
This column might seem to make a mockery of the trouble in
. Yep, I’m afraid a group of drunken hockey fans deserves nothing less. It may make light of a serious incident in Vancouver but then again the majority of the folks who caused the riot seem far more interested in pyromania and shopping sprees courtesy of their brick-sized credit cards. I hope you’ll note that I do not cast aspersions on the uprisings in the England Middle East because these folk are fighting for a bigger cause, democracy. Although they might want to check out where democracy got the folks of Tottenham! OK, OK I’ll stop there.
But then again, I need to come back to my initial statement about
. I realise that it may have been unfair: I blamed the alcohol! Vancouver
Be thankful for your quiet life in Haliburton, I am.