They've been scorned, vilified, targeted, outed, shamed, ostracized, fired, suspended and more thoroughly documented than any rioters run amok in history. Now it's time to thank them.
The miscreants who vandalized and burned Vancouver's downtown last Wednesday after Game 7 of the Stanley Cup deserve a round of thanks. Thanks from the collected residents of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada - to a lesser extent - and, most particularly, the Vancouver Canucks.
Their acts of mindless vandalism and distilled stupidity were just the tonic we all needed to avoid sinking into a bottomless pit of self-pity and angst over the world-class choke we witnessed on the part of the Canucks. But for the riot, the country, okay, British Columbians and Canuck fans everywhere, would be mired in paroxysms of grief, disbelief and barely concealed anger. We'd be on Luongo's doorstep with burning torches and sharpened pitchforks. We'd be demanding wholesale changes in the coaching staff. We'd be out for blood.
As it is, we've barely heard or read a peep about the amazing, disappearing Canucks act. In fact, the team's management has enjoyed the opportunity to take the high moral road and express their own outrage at the rioters instead of being grilled about what happened to hockey's "best" team of 2011. Talk about dodging a bullet.
So, thanks all you rioters.
Now let's get back to hunting them down and running them out of town.
For anyone even remotely fascinated by human behaviour, there is no doubt the three hours following Game 7 was far more interesting television than the final three games of the Cup. More action, more hitting, more scoring, more mindless celebration. All that seemed to be missing was the absurd sight of highly-paid jocks wasting mediocre champagne giving each other bubble baths.
Who were those people? What swamp beyond the shallow end of the gene pool did they ooze out of? What kind of mindless fookin' idiots jump into a burning mass of automobile and street garbage? And, oh Lord, if there's any justice in the world, please let the sunroof on the burning BMW be open so that arsehole falls in and we get to watch him burn to death, eh? Now that'd be entertainment.
Were we all soothed when Mayor Robertson came on a few hours into the Festival of Idiots to assure us it was all the work of a few anarchists and thugs who planned to come downtown and commit mayhem? Organized anarchists? The reassurance didn't square with what our eyes were telling us. Seemed more like, well, our children and neighbours and just regular young folk running amok. Oh sure, there were the ubiquitous balaclavaed black holes, but they were far outnumbered by male kids decked out in team colours, sporting moronic expressions of triumph and glee on their faces, good haircuts and expensive sneakers.