Toronto the Chaotic

Image by Leelz, from NOW's Flickr poolSo this is what it comes down to.

I suppose I should be happy that the rampaging hordes smashing up franchises on Queen West and Yonge yesterday weren’t all wearing greasepaint; that would have sent our already hysterical media into a frenzy of panic and terror.

Not everyone is going crazy — Torontoist has been doing spectacular work, and my peeps at NOW are staying on top of things on the Twitter — but CP24‘s highlight reel of the day’s clashes, set to a nervous soundtrack right out of a “Transformers” movie, felt like it was trying to give viewers the vapors.

As a homeowner and a professional rapidly approaching middle age, I know I’ve lost the right to weigh in on the issue, but seriously: Whatever you’re protesting, you lose your moral standing when you start smashing storefronts and setting police cars on fire. You do that, you’re just a fucking punk.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for peaceful protests and organized marches, and there was a lot of that yesterday — until about 3:30 pm, when a subset of the Queen’s Park marchers decided to head down to the big fence at Wellington and start knocking shit over. That triggered other outbreaks of violence, including a confrontation at Queen and Spadina — just down the street from me, really — where I was sure someone was going to get shot.

The police showed remarkable restraint. The protestors, not so much. I’m glad no one was killed yesterday; I’m less glad that 400 people were arrested under a creepy new law that gives the police the right to suspend probable cause and haul you in if they feel you might look at them funny. (It puts the lie to the conservative position that people who’ve done nothing wrong have nothing to fear.)

Anyway. Here’s hoping today is better, and easier, for everyone — both the peaceful demonstrators and the police charged with maintaining order and controlling chaos. And for the dilettante anarchists who think the best way to protest globalization is to destroy someone else’s livelihood and put the people who work there at risk, this is not what Gandhi meant when he said “be the change you want to see in the world”. He was a leader; you’re just kids who’ve misunderstood the lessons of Rage Against the Machine.

But I still hope you make it to your thirties.