Unfortunately, much analysis of the Vancouver hockey riots is inadequate.
Vancouver’s mayor and most pundits assign much blame to alcohol for the mindless attack on police officers, vehicles, and property. But is that explanation correct?
Undoubtedly alcohol removed some inhibitions but let’s not hang too much on that hook.
Over the decades I have observed many inebriated people in the downtown east side; I have never seen even one of them grab a street barrier and ram it against a window.
Never have I seen an inebriated person jump on a police cruiser and attempt to torch it. Alcohol’s role was strictly secondary.
Much blame is also placed on anarchists. Again the argument is weak. I saw no coverage of any black-hooded vandals. Nor did I hear a single hooligan, either cornered or confessing later, invoke any anarchistic ideas. At most anarchism played a minimal role.
What, then, is the explanation? I submit that the dominant, although not the only, factor triggering the idiotic rampage is a serious erosion of morality.
For generations children and young people in our society were trained, and also schooled, in the time-tested ethical principles rooted largely in Judeo-Christian values. We were taught to respect other people’s property, to respect authority, and to support law and order.
Today, many young people have rejected traditional principles of right and wrong. In their place we have the illogical assertion that “rightness” is determined by “what feels good for me!”
Given this new morality, numerous people did not hesitate to attack police officers, burn vehicles, smash windows, and steal merchandise. Large numbers cheered them on. And more than a few attacked those who tried to stop the riot. Among the hundreds of thousands there was no surge of people aiding police officers or civilians calling for decency.
The systematic rejection of moral absolutes in education, in the media, and in entertainment has much more to do with the malicious riots than do alcohol and notions of anarchism.
John H. Redekop