the Vancouver riot - hope in humility

Following the Vancouver riots, it wasn’t long before most people and groups in and around Vancouver distanced themselves from the incident. The city and police blamed anarchists. The public blamed drunken hooligans. It was a small select group of people who wreaked havoc on the beautiful, and typically peaceful, city of Vancouver. Enough said.

But this past week has revealed it’s not that simple. Normal people were involved. Aspiring athletes. People with jobs. Pictures reveal men and women of a variety of ages - albeit mostly under 30 - participated in the mayhem. And if not directly, participation was indirect through the reverberating ‘cheers’ on social media as the destruction was broadcast to a watching world.

While some no doubt went downtown intending to riot regardless of the hockey outcome (let’s not forget there was a hockey game that night!), for most, a few bad decisions shifted their intention from partying to rioting. From construction to destruction. From joy to hate. How quickly things change despite the good intentions of a day, an hour, or even a minute before.

How quickly indeed.

And then I wonder, what about me? How many bad decisions would it take for my life to become destructive? Or more sobering, what bad decisions do I already make that are destructive, but are just hidden from the peering eyes of social media? “Judge not lest ye be judged...” Shucks.

If anything, the Vancouver riot should force us all to consider what we want our lives to stand for. But humility needs to follow such consideration. Humility acknowledges our weakness - a tendency towards a few bad decisions - yet refuses to blindly accept our weakness as a defining characteristic, be it individually or collectively. Humility goes beyond apathy. Whether amid literal riots or merely in the chaos that can consume everyday life, we recognize our weakness but refuse to accept it as the norm. A few bad decisions - destruction even - don’t have to be our only story. There is hope in humility.
Cos' when you find yourself a villain,
In the story you have written
It's plain to see
That sometimes the best intentions
Are in need of redemptions
(Death Cab for Cutie - “You Are a Tourist”)

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