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Lessons From Atticus (Post 'Vancouver Riots')
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The summer solstice has passed, the longest day marks the official start of the warmest season in this part of the world. Canadians will be drinking on summer patios, dancing under the stars at folk festivals, holding family gatherings at lakeside cottages, cheering for their team at football games, playing baseball and enjoying barbecues in the park, camping and hiking in the mountains. Revelling in the privileges afforded to them by virtue of being born into this lifestyle. A week has passed since the destructive events that followed the NHL Stanley Cup Final in Vancouver and life continues as normal, for most people. News of the rampage is still attracting worldwide attention, as the event has been subject to intense analysis, both serious and comedic in nature. For the thousands implicated in the vandalism, looting and civic disobedience, repercussions will be various and penalties will be dealt out, eventually. It could take months for the authorities to sort through the thousands of ‘crowd-sourced’ images and video clips, a task that many claim is being facilitated and expediated by public crusaders who have established curation sites profiling the culprits. Vancouver residents are still stinging from what many consider to be a direct and personal attack, their indignation turning to a vengeful response that continues to thrive in social media, inciting a different form of civic dischord. The condemnation and rage is palpable, with comments demanding extreme retribution “I say, let them burn like the police cars they set fire to” and others rejecting apologies, suggesting that all participants are branded with a  "scarlet ‘L’ for ‘loser’ on their forehead which won’t be washed off with some convenient shedding of tears”. The vocal majority opinion favours this public 'naming and shaming', with many asserting the inadequacies of the justice system as good reason to assume civic responsibility for bringing these ‘criminals‘ to justice. I could rant ad nauseam about the morality and implications of this vigilante ethos, but to be honest, I am tired of troubling myself with the negativity of it all. Fortunately some rational voices have entered this debate and are addressing the issues at hand. Rather, in the spirit of armistice and holding the optimistic view that reason and harmony will be restored, I have decided to post a series of lessons, represented via my favourite fictional character Atticus Finch (from a seminal American novel, ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’). In this particular post, I won’t elaborate on the relevance of each lesson to the unfolding events in Vancouver and the social media circus. I will simply allow the wisdom inherent in these scenes to wash over you, like a healing salve.

 "The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.” (Atticus)

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Cindy,

I appreciate your intelligence, writing aptitude and the research you put into your blogs. This one is no exception. The lessons and mini scenes offer a fresh perspective.

My husband and I spent our 15th anniversary in British Columbia, although the majority of the time we were in Victoria, we did spend a couple days in Vancouver. It's a spectacular city with an overall positive personality that can't be changed by this "one thing," this destructive event, just like Columbine couldn't change my hometown of Littleton, Colorado despite the negative and incorrect portrayal of Littleton in Michael Moore's Bowling for Columbine.

Events like these, however, highlight the people and the towns indefinitely on the world map of negative attention. (Not to say the events in Vancouver should be *equated* to Columbine as there was no loss of life but both were horrible manifestations of aberrant group behavior.)

But the talking heads must talk and those who shouldn't say a word- "let them burn like police cars" will say too many. Experts and educated people will write a book, dissect the details or reexamine the chaos on the five o'clock news. The public will demand something be done and officials will instill new policies or laws to reassure everyone things are back to normal, sorta.

And so it goes until another negative event consumes the media and the focus shifts from Vancouver. Humans are complex and perplexing. I don't know why this happened. I don't want it to happen again but logic tells me it will based on past patterns of human behavior.

Jules