Our own Duane Rollins has a first-person account of the "gong show" (his term) that occurred after the Toronto FC-Columbus Crew match last Saturday.
Duane makes a pretty salient point when he saw a much smarter approach to crowd control when he was covering the Grand River land dispute in Caledonia, Ont., than he did last Saturday. Think about. There's centuries-old simmering tensions present in the first instance. Toronto and Columbus have only been opponents for barely two years and it got out of control (we'll thank you to not say it was due to the bumbling of the Officer Bartlebys working security at the stadium).
"The police were everywhere, they did not appear to be communicating with each other and 'hands on' was a matter of first response rather than last resort. About all they accomplished was to further enrage the group and to put those not involved at risk – at one point two police cars took chase after a fleeing Toronto fan. Driving about 60 km/h they weaved their way through a crowded parking lot."A couple TFC fans who happened to be off the wrong skin colour, in the cops' eyes, were also targeted. That's brutal, but not shocking if you know about who can be licensed to carry a badge and a gun in the U.S. That story about NFL running back Ryan Moats having a cop draw a gun on him when he was trying to get inside a hospital to see a dying loved one is, well, not atypical.
This is not about doing the smug Canadian routine or being a cop-basher (two in my extended family, thanks). The mind does reel when you're presented with how the U.S., in some precincts, just has a different concept of law and order, compared to its backwards neighbours in countries which astonishingly manage to not have more than one in every 100 adults in prison. That mindset is probably best expressed by the twitbag who covers the Columbus team, but thankfully not the local courts:
"The highlight from my vantage point on the concourse had to be the perp running toward the railroad tracks who eventually ran out of gas and was taken down with a perfect form tackle by one of the city's finest."That's hilarious.
Sober second thoughts: Send in the clowns (The 24th minute)
TFC fan Tasered, others arrested after U.S. game (Lance Hornby, Sun Media)
"Like We Were Dogs": The Story of Ryan Moats (Dave Zirin)