Vancouver riots: Two sides of the Incredible Hulk

21/09/2019 Posted by admin

by Rosa Hwang

He is a towering physical specimen, yet mentally, he is fragile. Prone to bouts of blind and destructive rage — he literally transforms into a green-eyed monster. But at the core of all that anger, there is a compassionate superhero, with an altruism that can’t be denied.

On the night the Vancouver Canucks lost game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals, I was explaining the concept of the Incredible Hulk to the young son of my colleague Dawna Friesen, our anchor and executive editor. Since we were stuck at the station working — on what we thought was the very “remote” possibility there would be a riot after the game — a few of us at Global National set up a Stanley Cup viewing party in the station lounge. Dawna’s son had never heard of The Hulk. With apologies to Stan Lee, I simplified the Marvel Comics superhero, explaining him as a tragedy of sorts — a man so incapable of controlling his anger, he manifests it in an extreme and physical way.

By the time it became clear the Canucks were going to lose, the six-year-old in the room had the most insightful and prophetic comment of the night: “Those Canucks fans are going to be really mad.”

From the mouth of babes.

And of course, we know now the rioters on the streets weren’t really true fans at all.

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Just as the third period was winding down, we got word from the newsroom. Street fights breaking out. Cars flipped over. Cars on fire. Looting. We all had joked about the possibility of a repeat of 1994, but nobody, not even us cynical news folks, predicted how hooliganism would quickly descend into sociopathy-run-amok. Hundreds, if not thousands, blinded by rage — kind of like a certain green-eyed monster.

When it became clear the rampage was not dying down, we broke into regular programming — knowing full well the impact that would have on the city we all lived in and loved. Vancouver can — and will — recover quickly from the physical scars of a riot. Bouncing back from a scarred reputation will take much longer.

A police car burns during the riot in downtown Vancouver on June 15 following the Canucks’ 4-0 loss to the Boston Bruins in game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. Photo by Geoff Howe, The Canadian Press.

By the time we were off the air — and our friends at Global BC took over with provincial coverage only — I decided to try to make my way home. “Home” is downtown Vancouver, not far from the epicentre of the riots.

As I drove into the city, the bridges accessing downtown were closed off, but I convinced one officer to let me through. I worked in the media and I’m a downtown resident, I told him. I just wanted to get home, not cause trouble.

As I drove toward my neighbourhood, I could see and hear the rioters a few blocks away, but a small group of them had made its way onto my road, blocking my access. They appeared to be drunk on their own stupidity — so I thought it’d be best if I remained in my car. Eventually, several hours later, with the help of a couple of brave officers, I made it home.

It wasn’t until the morning after — when hundreds rallied to renounce the rioters and clean up the city’s downtown — that I felt like Vancouver was back to being its true self.

The night that shocked and appalled so many, the green-eyed monster emerged — unable to control his emotions or destructive urges. But as I told Dawna’s son, there are two sides to The Incredible Hulk. The other has a desire to do good, to help justice prevail.

Inspired by a rage that was neither blind nor destructive, Vancouver’s compassionate superhero reclaimed the city.

Rosa is a senior producer at Global National, based in Vancouver. Follow her on Twitter: @RosaHwangTV.

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