"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.
Related rabble.ca story:
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.
One day last week, I was in a Shawarma shop as the wall-to-wall TV coverage of the Boston manhunt provided the soundscape for lunch. The gentleman behind the counter and I exchanged words of sadness about the sickness infecting those who would commit the kind of violence we saw at the end of the world-famous marathon.
Monday was Patriots' Day in Massachusetts, celebrating the day the American Revolutionary War began in 1775, at the Battles of Lexington and Concord. It is also the day of the annual Boston Marathon, which will now, sadly, go down in history as yet another episode of senseless mass violence.
Martin Richard's image has circled the globe since his murder that day. In it, the 8-year-old holds a sign he made that reads "No more hurting people. Peace."
The Richard family was watching the marathon when the bomb went off. His mother, Denise, and his sister, Jane, were seriously injured. His father, Bill, suffered shrapnel wounds. Martin's older brother, Henry, was not harmed -- at least, not physically.
Though mainstream North American society is still oppressive and based on institutions built on privileging some over others, it is possible to create a workplace free of violence, oppression and discrimination. The United Steelworkers have created a guide to assessing, preventing and dealing with violence. Though specifically designed for a unionized workplace, it’s a great place to start when figuring out what your employer can do to prevent violence at work.