"Nihilistic and feral teenagers" London's Daily Mail called them: the crazy youths from all walks of life who raced around the streets mindlessly and desperately hurling bricks, stones and bottles at the cops while looting here and setting bonfires there, leading the authorities on a merry chase of catch-as-catch-can as they tweeted their way from one strategic target to another.
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When I search for an image to describe the core of my spiritual practice, the one that presses up through the other narratives of my life is this one: June 26, 2010, carrying my six-year-old son away from a burning police car in front of a bank tower on Bay Street in downtown Toronto. Three young protesters, using black bloc tactics, jumped on the roof of the car as my son and I turned away and walked towards the empty street behind us to make our way home.
A story that pictures of an alleged gang rape were circling Facebook came as a shock to most Canadians. Worse was that the rape was apparently of a drugged 16-year-old girl who had been attending a rave in British Columbia. And more bad news has come to light in the days since, with some young men who weren't involved defending the girl's attackers.
In a widely circulated interview from CTV, two teen boys (Justin and Martin) expressed some raw opinions on the girl who had been raped.
Justin stated: "We are thinking it's being over-exaggerated. I don't think she was as messed up as she's making it out to be. I don't think she was raped...".
This week's mass processing inside (and outside) a Toronto courthouse helped clarify June's Jailapalooza festival during the G20, the largest mass arrest in our history. Of 1,100 detained, all but 227 had the charges dropped or were never charged. Most had no links to burning police cars or battered bank machines. They were picked up while protesting peacefully or looking on.
Why? Police say they wanted to prevent recurrences, after the dramatic events. Some intimate they were embarrassed by criticisms of their earlier inaction, and overreacted. Why had police gone missing at the crucial time? There's been no clear answer. One possibility: to justify the vaulting security costs via shocking images of violence.
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So here were are, in the midst of a continuing national conversation about sexual harassment, domestic violence and consent.
Some of the most shocking revelations about the Ghomeshi case include the admission made by several CBC employees that the toxic work environment at Q made it possible for Ghomeshi to act with impunity. Some of Ghomeshi's co-workers at Q have even claimed that they knew about what was happening but felt powerless to stop it.