The Black Rod

The origin of the Usher of the Black Rod goes back to early fourteenth century England . Today, with no royal duties to perform, the Usher knocks on the doors of the House of Commons with the Black Rod at the start of Parliament to summon the members. The rod is a symbol for the authority of debate in the upper house. We of The Black Rod have since 2005, adopted the symbol to knock some sense and the right questions into the heads of Legislators, pundits, and other opinion makers.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Vancouver rioters lassoed by the Internet posse, judged by the Web

Viva la revolution.

CBC is reporting that Vancouver police have more than 1 million photos and 1000 hours of video to review while building criminal cases against rioters who rampaged through the city's downtown Wednesday evening following the last game of the Stanley Cup.

The Globe and Mail says the public has sent police 3500 emails of which 53 have videos of rioters attached, 676 link to videos on YouTube, 798 include still photos, and another 1000 have links to Facebook and other social media sites where rioters are being outed.

Whichever is closer to the truth, the fact is it's proof of a public uprising on behalf of law and order like we've never seen before.

The Silent Majority has used the new tools of communication to send criminals a message---we're not going to take it anymore.

They've formed an Internet posse to identify the rioters, to track them down, and to make sure they are punished. And by doing so, they're sending the politicians in Ottawa a message---you've failed to protect us so we're doing it for ourselves.

The revolution caught two groups flatfooted, starting with the news media.

Remember the Old Days when the mainstream media would report on a riot, then refuse to cooperate with police in identifying the people involved. "You want our outtakes? We'll fight you in court," they would say. "We can't be seen helping police; it would impede our ability to report the news," they snorted. "We're not an arm of the authorities; we're independent," they pontificated.

Now, you're irrelevant.

Who needs professional reporters when everybody with a cell phone camera is a reporter? Who needs a television newscast or the next day's front page when you have the immediacy of the Internet? Who would waste his time waiting for the "professionals" to cobble together a story when you can go online and read a hundred first-hand accounts for yourself without the need of a gatekeeper to tell you what's "important" and what's not.

The second group of stunned onlookers was the rioters themselves. Talk about an "entitlement generation."

Nathan Kotylak had everything going for him. He was 17, handsome, the son of a rich doctor, and about to graduate from a prestigious private high school with a partial scholarship to the University of Calgary. As a member of Canada's junior water polo team he was on track to compete in the Olympics.

Then, following the Stanley Cup game, he decided it would be fun to turn a police car into a giant molotov cocktail. He was videoed stuffing a sweater into the car's gas tank and trying to set it on fire as a wick to ignite the car.

He spent the next day preparing for his high school graduation.

That's when reality hit him in the face. He discovered he had been busted on the 'Net. Everybody knew who he was.

He described the moment at a news conference on Saturday.
"The day after, with my mother, I ended up googling my name, and at that point in time, the top five things were about awards and accomplishments that I've been able to achieve. And then, yesterday (Friday) just searching up my name everything I could find was some sort of link to what had happened on Wednesday night. So I saw my name had been tarnished and been thrown around in such a manner that this (his public apology) was in essence to try and rebuild my name and my reputation."

Get it? His name was tarnished by those meanies on the Internet, so he had to go public to get his rep back. And that wasn't all.

"I'm just ashamed, uh, the disgrace I brought to a lot of the great things that I'm a part of, that I had been a part of, and that I hope that I may still be a part of, would that be Water Polo Canada, the reputation of my school and lots of things like that."

He thinks he still deserves to be a member of Canada's junior water polo team and have a shot at the Olympics.

Yeah, that's right. Canada represented by an arsonist. That's the entitlement generation.

Then there's Camille Cacnio. She, too, issued a public apology for her behavior. It seems the video of her grinning ear to ear as she stepped through a smashed store window with two pairs of looted pants in her hands did not show the real her.

"I have been painted out as a criminal, and not the person that I really am." she wrote.

You mean that cheap thief?

Oh, she was sorry, she said, but it wasn't her fault; she had been swept up in the mob mentality. And speaking of mob mentality, what about all those people who attacked her on the Web? She had a stern lecture for them.

"The laws were made for everybody to follow: criminals and spectators alike. So for you to disregard the laws makes it seem like you are an anarchist…starting a mob…based on social media…starting to get the picture yet?"

She ended her long diatribe/apology with these words for her detractors.

"To those who know me and have turned their backs on me, please delete me from Facebook and disassociate yourself from me as much as possible because I don’t want to have anything to do with you."

So there. The cheap thief doesn't want anything to do with people who judge her.

She's a victim in her own right, the highest social standing you can have in her world.

The biggest shock to this generation has been that there were real consequences to their actions.

* Nathan Kotylak could (and should) be kicked off the junior Olympic water polo team.

* Camille Cacnio got fired from her part-time job at Burrard Acura.

* Alex Prochazka, a professional mountain biker from Whistler, B.C., was wearing one of his sponsors' (Oakley) t-shirts when he helped tip over a police car onto its roof. Dumb. He's on the verge of losing his sponsorships. He had been the only biker outside the U.S. to be sponsored by Target.

And it's dawned on these geniuses that that's the least of their problems.

The Internet is forever. Their crimes, their names and their shame will be there for all to read in the future---potential employers, potential spouses, U.S. border crossing guards, you name it.
And that's the message the public is giving Ottawa.

The justice system is a joke. Punishment is non-existent. Juvenile offenders laugh at the law. If Ottawa won't restore the balance, the public will using the resources of social media to apply shame to the system.

Shame. The gift that keeps on giving.

The rioters who have come forward so far have all said how deeply ashamed they are personally and how ashamed they are that their family and their associates in schools and athletic teams have been tarnished by their behaviour.

That's the way it should be.

The current justice system has removed shame from the equation. The Vancouver public has put it back

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