Letter Re: The Vancouver Hockey Games Riots

Mr Rawles,
I first posted this in a Survival forum I frequent often in response to the widespread, violent riots that broke out in Vancouver after the local hockey team lost in the Stanley Cup playoffs.

I just was reading up on it this morning and you got to ask yourself: If your “countrymen” would essentially devolve into barbarian hordes over a stupid game – what do you think they’ll do when they have no food, water, heat, electricity and no government to bail them out or keep them in their place?

I was speculating this morning that Vancouver is a pretty extreme Canadian case, with the disparity between rich and poor being so large that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that something like this would happen. The slightest excuse and the thin veil of civilization can come undone.

I might add that as something to consider – while it’s an undeniable, logical fact cities are worse than rural areas if TSHTF – some cities might (and I do mean, might) fair better than others.

I’m reminded of the 2004 playoff run between Calgary and Tampa where after the game 7, the mood was more dampened, but people were still happy and there wasn’t much in the way of civil disobedience besides a few women flashing and a few drunkards being idiots in the street.

I’ll also note, having some experience volunteering and donating to local charities that while Calgary has a big disparity between rich and poor, we also have a great deal of non-profit, non-governmental services available for the poor. The Drop In Centre, for example, is the largest homeless shelter in the country (something I’m quite proud to say for the city I live in).

I’m a big fan of Rawlesian survivalism, especially because of his emphasis on Christian charity – that being the obligation (but not a requirement to “earn” salvation) for voluntary charity to the less fortunate.

Last year when my wife and I visited Vancouver, I was very disgusted when walking down a very busy, ritzy street I saw a disheveled homeless man on his knees in a street corner, holding a Styrofoam plate and hundreds of people just walking past him as if he didn’t exist.

Poverty is no excuse for what the rioters did last night. However, at the same time, wealth, and the belief that wealth elevates an individual to a transcendent level over the poor is no excuse to deny charity to your fellow man.

This is why one of the best preparation for when the SHTF is to foster a charitable spirit, to help build up your community so when it does happen, your community doesn’t devolve (or is more resistant to devolving) into a brutish, survival-of-the-fittest, war zone like Vancouver did last night. – N.L.