A few days ago many people were upset because police were handing out tickets (and large fines) to children who dared to play in the park …
… the mayor of Canada’s largest city was almost apoplectic when people left their crowded apartments to enjoy an unseasonably warm spring day in one of his city’s too few parks …
… and the prime minister and every public health official who could find a microphone berated us for being irresponsible.
Then came riots in the United States because a black man was killed. by a police officer ~ sadly, a not unremarkable thing in that great but troubled country. Canadians felt free (even compelled, it seemed) to demonstrate, especially after the prime minister accused us all of being racists. As always happens, seemingly without fail, a planned peaceful demonstration went sour and young people took to the city streets to riot and loot …
… because it’s 2020 and they seem, based on experience, 100% certain that the police, who were probably busy patrolling parks to prevent families from playing together, would not interfere with a riot and some looting.
I understand that some police forces have adopted tactics allowing riots to run their course so long as property, not lives, is all that is at risk … the theory is that the insurance companies and so on can tidy up the physical mess, but the aim is that no one, not innocent civilians, not police officers and not even the rioters should be harmed. I can see the logic. I don’t want anyone injured or worse, either. But, it shows a total disregard for a person’s right to property, but that was explicitly and intentionally not included in Canada’s juvenile Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Pierre Trudeau was a socialist who didn’t believe that you and I have a right to (legally) acquire and use our own property and that the police should help us to protect it from e.g. rioters.
But the public reaction, especially on social media is what scares me. It runs the gamut from ‘Pffft, who cares? It’s just a few guitars, the insurance will pay,’ all the way to ‘Why aren’t those <expletive deleted> kids all lying, bleeding and broken, on the streets?‘
And now the politicians and public health officials seem to be saying that it’s OK to gather in large crowds ~ the devil take social distancing which was such a huge problem just last week ~ as long as we are demonstrating about something that’s happening in Donald Trump’s America, but I cannot get a haircut nor may I invite a fifth guest to share my birthday dinner.
Have we all gone mad?
I think so.