Here in Vancouver we are trying to wrap our heads around and understand what happened last night downtown Vancouver after the Stanley Cup Final hockey game. To say that it is absolutely disturbing, abhorrent, and shameful would be a serious understatement.
What did happen? And why did it happen? I find myself thinking about our search for significance. Why would people set fire to cop cars and then proceed to jump on top of them and throw their hands up in the air in triumph? Why would people stand out in front of a crowd and hurl hard objects, taunts, and insults at police officers whose job it is to serve and protect us? Why would people smash windows, loot, set fires, and then dance around and laugh at what they’d done? I can say with certainty that none of this, or at least not to this magnitude, would have happened if there weren’t others standing around watching and taking pictures and seeming to support (or at least not condemn), and encourage what they were doing. This then leads me to conclude that for these people, the responses they received from the bystanders, for better or worse, made them feel significant. For those moments they felt noticed, powerful, and important. They felt significant – a feeling they don’t know how to achieve in any other way. We all have this need. The difference is most of us, even those of us who may be misguided in our efforts from time to time, aim to fulfill this need in self-respecting and constructive ways. It hurts my heart to see the pain, sadness, anger, and despair that people who are willing to do these things are living with.
When and how do we, as humans, come to a place where we are completely oblivious to how what we chose to do will hurt or be seriously damaging to our fellow man, woman, or child? At what point do we cease to be able to see beyond ourselves and not even consider, let alone care, about how what we’re doing affects someone else?
People who feel loved, connected, supported, valued, and cared about don’t do these kinds of things.
Only hurt people, hurt people.