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Kathy Shaidle

‘The police are there to preserve disorder’: Obligatory post on Toronto’s G20 riot

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Posted on June 27 2010 6:00 pm
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury, now entering its 11th year online. Her latest book is Acoustic Ladylandkathy shaidle, which Mark Steyn calls "a must-read."

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I have a GenXer’s short attention span, so please forgive me if, even though I actually live in the 416, I’m already sick of our local riot.

Luckily, I’m out at the westerly end of the subway line, so the closest I got to the burning police cars, smashed windows and hundreds of arrests was watching the local news channel. On Twitter, Tammy Bruce jokingly challenged me to defend my Starbucks, but it wasn’t in any danger. (And although I’ve got a great line of sight from my condo balcony, should the occasion arise, I also only have a shotgun, not a rifle — for now — so…)

I took part in the G7 protests in Toronto about 20 years ago. They were about 1/100th as violent as yesterday’s. A friend got charged with “damage over five thousand” for planting her red-painted hand print on a patrol car’s window. We tried to throw off the riot police marching in place by doing Jane Fonda aerobics to a different beat. My then-boyfriend kept going up to the mounted police and giggling, “At the sign, all prisoners will be released!”

What a difference a few decades — and not incidentally, smart phones and Twitter and texting and GPS and Google Maps — makes, eh?

I’m still temperamentally an anarchist, so I really have no patience with the G20, and having to show ID to go downtown this week, and forking over a billion of my extorted tax dollars to protect a bunch of oblivious, dangerous elites (not to mention to build “a fake lake” to impress them, in a province that has thousands of real ones already. As I recall, one of our biggest complaints back in the day was that the City had spray painted the flowers planted along University Avenue to match the flags of participating nations. It’s always the comical fakery of these events that brings out my inner Holden Caufield…)

But I’m also more than 20 years older, and nothing beats sheer, relentless chronology when it comes to attitude adjustment. I noticed with a pang of regret a few years back that I’d finally stopped identifying with the teenagers in movies and found myself siding with the parents and teachers, and muttering about the “noise” on the radio.

I’m a bit confused about what “kids these days” want. Over the intervening decades, leftist protesters got what we were asking for in many respects: the G20 is now all about (cough) “environmentalism,” for example. Starbucks has great employee benefits and fair trade coffee, but their windows still get smashed. I’d be willing to bet the police cruisers they burned yesterday (sending plumes of toxic smoke into the air) passed all the latest emissions standards. For all I know, Toronto cops even use no-lead bullets.

Of course, when I say “use,” I don’t mean the cops fired on anyone yesterday while they were engaged in millions of dollars of property damage. Gaia forbid! Property rights aren’t protected in our constitution anyhow, and besides, I can tell you from personal experience that Canadian police are unwaveringly dedicated to protecting all the wrong people during instances of politically tinged public disorder.

(To cite just one example: after being assaulted by an Arab Federation leader/union bigwig last month, my husband was the one who got cautioned to “keep it peaceful.”)

As Mark Steyn reminds us this morning, citing the Ann Coulter Riot and other recent incidents:

I may have to revise my old line about the British police being “the most monumentally useless in the developed world”. For the G20 summit, the Toronto coppers ordered up a ton of new body armor, weaponry, gas masks, etc – and then stood around in their state-of-the-art riot gear watching as a bunch of middle-class “anarchists” trashed the city. Streetcars were left abandoned, and even police cruisers were seized, vandalized and burned. But hey, it’s the taxpayers who pay for ‘em, right? (…)

I referenced the bizarre incident in which the Finance Minister of Ontario was attacked during a public television taping:

As in Ottawa, law enforcement declined to enforce the law, the OPP remaining in the wings as thugs rushed the stage. “The police, I’m told, were urged not to intervene,” Paikin explained, “lest pictures of demonstrators being hauled off by the cops show up all over YouTube.”

The Toronto PD are your go-to guys if you want a fetching police escort for the Queers Against Israeli Apartheid float in the Pride Parade, but they don’t otherwise seem to perform any useful function.

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