Anarchist terrorists couldn't have planned this any better themselves
No sooner had it become clear that the Vancouver Canucks had lost the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, it became equally clear that some Canucks fans weren't going to let it go quietly.
Frankly, all too many.
But as violence swept through Vancouver, some people -- such as TSN's Bob McKenzie and CTV's Rob Brown -- blamed the violence on the famed Black Bloc.
A pack of black-clad anarchist thugs who take any international conference as ane excuse to show up and terrorize the local population, the Black Bloc very likely had absolutely no hand whatsoever in the violence following the Canucks game.
First, there's the obvious: a professional hockey championship reeks of too much consumerism for such individuals to be there for their intrinsic pleasure. Then there's the looting. The Black Bloc smashed store windows in Toronto, but few people can recall them actually stealing anything. At least in that meagre sense, they're comparatively honest.
And, quite frankly, hockey fans are far too likely to respond to a Black Bloc rioter by simply beating the shit out of them than a peaceful protester is.
So one can assure themselves that cowards like Alex Hundert would shy away from hockey fans and gravitate toward peaceful left-wing protesters: the latter he can take advantage of. The former he cannot.
Even so, the Vancouver 2011 riot couldn't have gone down any better for the Black Bloc if they had planned and orchestrated it themselves.
Now, the Black Bloc and their water-carriers on the left -- such as No One is Illegal's Harsha Walia -- have a violent incident to point to and declare that the Black Bloc's political violence isn't nearly as repugnant as many would consider it. They'll declare that ordinary citizens, fueled by alcohol and their own frustrated sense of entitlement, can be just as violent as they are.
And who is anyone to say that they aren't right about that?
It doesn't make what the Black Bloc does OK. Nothing accomplishes that particular rhetorical feat.
But Vancouver cannot blame this riot on the Black Bloc. The task of assigning blame will be much more difficult for them than that. They have to look into the eyes of their fellow Canucks fans and wonder if this was a honourable and peaceful fan -- as this author believes the majority of them were -- or if it was another one of these thugs ruining the experience for everyone else.
It should even lead to some soul-searching for the city of Vancouver, just as the 2006 riots led to soul-searching among Edmontonians.
The Black Bloc wasn't to blame for the Edmonton riots. We were. In some way, we all were. The same sad reality applies to Vancouver as well.
Hopefully, next year -- when the Canucks contend for the Stanley Cup again, and hopefully win -- Vancouver will be able to do it better. Then there will be no blame to worry about, and they'll all be able to share the credit.