After the 3rd period of last night’s Stanley Cup game 7 between the Vancouver Canucks and the Boston Bruins went to a 3-0 win for Boston I was disappointed. Disappointed but also proud that my fellow Vancouverites showed some class while they cheered on the Boston team’s hoisting of the coveted cup.
Unless you live under a rock you’ll know that my disappointment turned to disgust and dismay shortly after when some dreadful behaviour of a group of young men (and I mean young men. Don’t even try to respond to this saying that the instigators were anything but young men. The proof is irrefutable)
With a run for the cup coming hot on the heels of Vancouver’s great success as a host city for last year’s Olympics, each game was an opportunity to relive the party atmosphere in downtown Vancouver. The city kindly provided massive jumbotrons so that those people who wanted to watch the Canucks play and get the “feel” of the game could watch from the closed streets of the downtown core of Vancouver.
If you know Vancouver at all you’ll know that it’s a peninsula (sort of). The way in and out consists of 4 bridges (3 to the south and 1 to the north) and 1 viaduct. It’s almost isolated when you look at it from the air.
It’s basically tailor-made for a group of trouble makers, hell bent on destruction, to get their own game on. And that they did.
As Boston skated back on to the ice to accept the cup a group of young men began to throw projectiles at the big screen. They then began fighting with other groups, turning over porta-potties and finally setting cars and debris on fire. As the evening wore on the crowds did not disperse as police hoped and, as a result, the violence escalated. By 10:30 the looting had begun.
People were in no hurry to leave the city. Being there must have been really exciting. I guess.
The one thing that you notice when you watch the footage is that everyone, and I mean EVERYONE who was on TV was carrying a cel phone, taking photos and video and Tweeting, Facebooking and sharing the content across every social network around.
The good news is that the Vancouver Police Department has embraced social media as a crime-fighting tool.
In 1994 Vancouver had a similar riot and the police used news footage to identify, charge and convict rioters. It took several months to bring the hooligans to justice but the police were relentless, creating a special team that concentrated all of their efforts on making sure that everyone who was caught on tape was charged.
This time it’s going to be different. This time social media will make the job of the police considerably easier. In fact, less than 2 hours after the rioting began someone created a Facebook page called: Vancouver Riot Pics: Post Your Photos and asked that anyone with photos post them to the page, share them and encourage others to tag the photos. 1 hour after the group was created it had 3,000 users!
This could be the first time that Facebook has been used as a tool to promote public awareness that YOU ARE ALWAYS BEING WATCHED! (and not in a Big Brother way. More in a “your mom’s watching” way.)
I’ll be following this story and reporting the police findings and activities on my blog at socialmedia-canada.com over the next weeks/months.
I hope that the Vancouver Police can bring every, single one of these idiots who have disgraced my beautiful city to justice.