As much as I would like to think Canucks fans are worse than anybody else...

VANCOUVER, BC - JUNE 15: Raffi Torres of the Vancouver Canucks and Martin Brodeur of the New Jersey Devils set fire to a car on June 15, 2011 in Vancouver, Canada. Vancouver broke out in riots after their hockey team the Vancouver Canucks lost in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Finals. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Derek Zona of Copper & Blue has an interesting post on last night's rioting in Vancouver. The conversation continues apace in the comments, so follow the link (and especially follow the links within the post to past posts on the Canuck fanbase).

The Rioters ARE Canucks Fans - The Copper & Blue
This "the rioters aren't Canucks fans" canard is being trotted out everywhere in some bizarre attempt to deflect blame from Canucks fans, the people who are rioting. [...] Not all of them participated in this, but the ones that did were Canucks fans.  Unless you believe that a random group of agitators, anarchists, protestors, thugs, and idiots all bought Canucks jerseys as an enormous collaborative disguise.

My unsolicited take:

  • I'm pretty sure the majority of any large population -- whether its employees of a company, citizens of a country, state or city, students at a given school, fans of a team -- is idiotic.
  • In fact, if you sample a big enough population of strangers of whatever stripe, you will find all sorts of criminals, ***holes, creeps and fools (not to mention hyphenates). 
  • Derek's posts on the traits of Canucks fans are interesting. For myself, I have only experienced Canucks fans on-line, and though I am sometimes annoyed by some of them, I can't say they're any worse than Ducks fans, or Devils fans, or even Kings fans. That's just my experience of them, which is limited. And it doesn't stop me from being fascinated by Derek's posts on this topic. 
  • On the topic of Vancouver fans in general, I remain agnostic. 
  • It's obviously a fact that a bunch of people in Canucks jerseys around the Canucks arena after a Canucks game are on some level Canucks fans. If you happen to believe that Canucks fans are particularly offensive in general, I can see how this incident would be used to support that belief. 
  • It's also true that if you believe hockey is immoral or bad (because of the violent nature of it, the acceptance of fighting, etc.), this riot can support that belief, too. 
  • Ditto, if you happen to dislike Canadians. Or "kids these days." 
  • I think it's dangerous to over-identify with any group. I personally don't much like most of the people in my various groups, people you would label more or less "like me".
  • I am a "white" person, but I don't I feel like I'm responsible for the behavior of "white" people in general. 
  • I'm a male, but I don't endorse the behavior of all males. 
  • I live in Southern California. I am a hockey fan. I was raised Catholic. I'm from Michigan. But I'm pretty sure I could find millions of people in each of those groups (okay maybe not that many hockey fans, because there aren't that many) whose behavior I don't endorse in any way. 
  • There was a horrible incident at Dodger Stadium a few months ago, in which a Giants fan was brutally attacked. Does this mean that Dodgers fans are violent criminals? Obviously, it doesn't; though if you already hate L.A. then that incident is easy fuel. 
  • One thing that is true both of the Dodgers incident and the Vancouver riot is that, in both cases, better security would have prevented or at least minimized what happened. 
  • The Dodgers idiot owner famously cut security at Dodgers games, and you could argue this is a foreseeable result of that.
  • Vancouver authorities knew that something like what happened was possible if not likely to happen. They had the precedent of the 1994 riots, the Montreal riot, and -- presumably -- they have some idea of the demographic of the crowd they knew would be gathered. This was not an earthquake or some other event that you're supposed to prepare for but don't have any idea when it might occur. Authorities knew exactly what to look for and when to look for it, down to a window of a few minutes. 
  • If indeed there were people wearing "Riot 2011" t-shirts before the game -- and if that's not an urban legend, which wouldn't surprise me -- there's pretty much no way police were not aware of that.
  • I don't know and don't pretend to know any details regarding what the Vancouver authorities, police, fire-department and other security personnel did or didn't do last night, or in preparation for last night. But given what transpired, I assume the city screwed up and simply didn't have the police and/or crowd-control presence on hand. 
  • Bottom line, though: I'm sure there are pathologically violent people in all of our fan-bases. I don't hold it against Vancouver fans in particular. Or Dodger fans, as the case may be. I do, however, think twice about taking my family to Dodger Stadium -- and would do the same if I were thinking of going to a Stanley Cup game seven. 
  • And that's sad. 
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