Monday, June 28, 2010

G20 - Wasn`t that a Party?

Well, I would say it went just about as I expected in most ways, though there were surprises.
First, some terminology. Various media have called the troublemakers 'thugs' and 'goons'. The problem with these words is they suggest the wrong physical type. When they took off their black outfits (sort of reverse Superman behavior) they, in the cases I could see in the coverage, were weedy pathetic little guys, who would not intimidate anyone, most young males, accompanied by a small group of equally pathetic-looking female misfits, likely the only kind of woman they could get to pay any attention to them. So rather than thug I will just call them the 'losers'.
It's pretty clear they had no particular political or moral views, other than that the rest of the world owed them attention and that it was their right to create mayhem to prove what big shots they were.
In any case, they came to town and joined with local losers with two obvious objectives: 1) to get to the security fence at least, and make a media splash (proving what big shots they are), and 2) failing that, to get the police to inflict enough damage so there would be blood available for lots of worldwide media, maybe even some good shots of police beating on one of the little wimps, or even better, his pathetic girlfriend (to prove what victims they are of 'The Man').
So losers they remain. For all the media attention, despite the cat-and-mouse game they played Saturday afternoon with the police, despite the attempts to build a large coherent group to break police lines, they came nowhere near the security fence, and so headed off to destroy property in the downtown. Here they surely hoped to draw police into a street battle in the midst of the civilian population, but even that failed for them. And apparently they did not do all that much damage.
At that point they tried to commandeer a crowd to hide in and to get to help challenge the fence, and this failed totally as well.
So by the end of Saturday they had achieved none of their goals.
What they had done was produce a ton of media and amateur photographic coverage of their activities, fodder I am sure the police were chewing on overnight.
What about the police? I was puzzled and somewhat annoyed when I saw some of the breaking of windows unchallenged by police but as the afternoon went on I reflected. Given a loser count of anything over a hundred, there really could not be much to prevent the breaking of windows by sending out police. I do wonder what would have happened had there been attacks on innocent people, or the torching of buildings; the losers did not go that far, maybe because they have a shred of morality somewhere in them, more likely because they are scared of the police and what would happen if they did anything with serious criminal consequences - it is surely a careful calculation for such scaredy-cats. They seemed to get close to the latter bolder behavior late in the day as people on the roof of a building housing a Starbucks called on them to get out of Toronto and told them they were not welcome. Some half-hearted attempts to torch the Starbucks followed, but they were truly half-hearted or incompetent. Of course by then it was late in the day and they were thoroughly beaten.
Back to the police. Toronto chief Bill Blair spoke in the evening and I thought acquitted the force very well. He made clear the utter priority was protecting the site of the meetings (and I think the fence, as a symbol, and a point of humiliation for the losers).
What Blair did not say, but I am sure was part of the orders, was that there should be no scenes of wild encounters with the protesters. It was fascinating to watch - police mostly obstructed, occasionally breaking out from the lines to grab individuals; so they did not give the losers the violence they so craved but rather just snapped them up and carted them off to the temporary hoosegow. Another strategy of humiliation, not badly implemented.
By Saturday evening the losers had no rational friends; sure, they had the local loonies who have been supporting them, but there was NO sympathetic reference to them in the media and only a few complaints about the police.
Sunday it is clear the police devoted themselves to another project.
Mindful of the continuing threat to the G20 security area, they were also focused on grabbing various among the losers, again by observing forming protests and making opportunistic grabs most of the early part of the day. They clearly had some intelligence as they raided a University of Toronto residence, and one of the headquarters of the week's protests. They were also thankfully less tolerant of protests closing streets; one I am conscious of is Eastern Avenue, where the temporary hoosegow was located. It is not far from my home and is on a route I use a lot. The first protest there was cleared with a use of some symbolic force; the second one was a wonder to watch as the police officer in charge got the clowns off the street with sugar alone.
The police made very extensive use of the 'breach of the peace' law; this allowed them to lump the losers together with their various fellow travelers in any gathering after a reasonable request for the non-losers to disperse. They engaged in some group arrests where they knew a good part of the group was some dumb almost bystander.
Sunday ended with a whole bunch of people surrounded by police for a long time in the rain, unable to leave a cordon. It will be interesting to see who in the end was trapped here.
Anyway the losers turned out to be utter losers in the real sense - they achieved not one of their goals, and look like criminal fools.
The police are getting a fair bit of criticism, but entertainingly from those who think they not zealous enough and those who think they were too zealous. So maybe they did the Goldilocks thing.
But I think Blair and team made sure there would be no bloody images all over the world press, and the overall cost in terms of building damage would be likely less than after what would happen if the Toronto Maple Leafs won a Stanley Cup in the ACC.
The losers cannot even perform better than sports fans.
One of the sad things here is that on Saturday there was a large successful traditional protest held at Queen's Park after a long march through downtown (the losers had chosen the tail of the procession to begin their grief and the lead of the parade likely had no idea what assholes had attached themselves to the procession, though I admit I think that is wilful ignorance). It shocks me to link to but I agree with what they say here.
On the other hand two of the voices the media did represent were Sid Ryan and Maude Barlow!? Good God. Is this how the left has progressed? - two retreads with no new ideas in forty years other than an enthusiasm for jihadi death-cults (and the left always has had a death-cult thing; witness Mr. Guevara's 'Viva la Muerte' approach). So there may be other reasons nobody listens.
There were great moments caught on camera. From Saturday, I believe, I saw someone in one of the protest groups witness his neighbor in the pack pull a bandanna up over her mouth and nose and tell her that if she was doing that she had to leave the group. She walked off.
On Sunday morning the cameras caught a 'protester' carrying a sign reading on one side a 'Thank You Police' and on the other an invitation for the losers to get the hell out of Toronto.
Well it is almost over.
Sorting out the truth will take weeks; there will be sessions in court. I hope the police have caught a few really bad people. There will be claims against the police too, and some will surely prevail; there were 20,000 police in town, and they were asked for superhuman response. I don't think I can manage that.
Was the meeting worth it?
First, worth what? I can understand journamalists not understanding the distinction between budget and expenses, but many people I know have worked with budgets seem to speak with the same confusion. We will not know for a month or more what this really cost, and we won't know even then, given the accounting oddities. The only thing I am sure of is that Stephen Harper has continued the stimulus in some parts of Ontario with an enormous injection of police overtime. And may I say, they were amazing - they have been working for a lot longer than last weekend and have not yet been freed from the exception schedule.
Thanks Bill Blair and your team, and the OPP, and the RCMP.
UPDATE: One thing I forgot to mention above was how funny several shots of the little losers trying to break windows were. They would whack and whack and whack and the windows would not give; then in a childish rage they would kick and kick, to little avail. Finally the pathetic little jerks went wandering off waving their arms and shaking their bodies in a chimpanzee rage reflecting their failure to be the big ape they had planned to be on tape. Unfortunately for each of these pathetic little clowns, it is forever on tape - I hope in You Tube.


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