An Open Letter to the Rioters of Vancouver 1

Dear Vancouver rioters:

While you’re clearly frustrated that your hockey team was unable to capture the Stanley Cup, your behavior after the game is concerning. For now, we can set aside the fact the lighting cars on fire is dangerous, destructive and illegal. I want to examine how you could possibly think that you wouldn’t get caught by the police and be in some serious trouble.

Have you seen how police investigate riots these days? They search Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for pictures and video of the events. They identify people doing constructive things (pushing police, breaking windows, lighting things on fire) and track them down. With social media, you’re only a few degrees separated by anyone, so it really isn’t that difficult for them to find you, especially when you identify yourself. And if you’re tagged in a photo it becomes even easier. There is even a website set up to help police identify people!

And did you not see the news crews that were everything? There was even a helicopter taking video of the riot, showing people flipping a truck on its side and lighting a police car on fire, before smashing through the windows. Did you not realize the police would have that video by sunrise?

In today’s world, privacy is hard to come by. Almost every single person has a camera and video camera at their fingertips, and can post whatever content they capture immediately, to share it with the rest of the world. Before people were even done looting stores on Wednesday night, images of the events were online.

Let me give you an example:

This picture (along with many others) was published by the National Post. The people burning and trying to flip this car are clearly visible, and you can bet that the police have this picture hanging on the wall.

I know you’re upset about your team, but take a second and consider what just happened. You broke a ton of laws, put a lot of people in physical danger, destroyed parts of your beautiful city, ruined people’s cars and stores and cost your city a ton of money in damages. And to top it off, all of this has been captured by pictures and video that are now online for everyone – including police – to see.

Next time you’re upset after a loss, try to use some common sense.

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