Sunday, July 28, 2019

Bigotry and Violence in K-W

I stayed in the small town I was born in, and it got big around me. Like parents of young kids, who fall into the trap of continuing to see them as they were so many years ago, I still think of K-W as a really safe, little city. But now we have bigger buildings, and faster transportation, and violence. Gun violence even!

The latest stats show that police reported hate crimes here have decreased a bit since last year, down to 6.7 per capita, on par with London, Toronto and Montréal, a bit more than Calgary, a bit less than Guelph, Thunder Bay, and Ottawa, but WAY less than Hamilton at 17.1. But it's possible that people are just on it more in Hamilton, reporting every little thing in order to keep the city safe. It's hard to say. Regardless, it feels worse now than it used to. It doesn't feel safe to be out on certain streets at certain times.

Yesterday there was a rally held to protest the "bullying" of an anti-LGBTQ protester who was charged with assault with a weapon after beating people with a helmet a month ago.

I'm not clear how the local protesters think the accused is being bullied. Is it because he was charged and released on bail after being caught on camera beating people? Is it because some people are saying mean things about him now that he's famous? Is it because they see it as religious persecution (being Christian extremists who missed that whole 'love thy neighbour' bit)? One guy says his behaviour was warranted because Antifa members started it. But, regardless who started it, if you're caught smashing in someone's face, clearly not in self-defense, then it's assault. Something needs to be clarified for people, apparently: self-defense is very different than retaliation. Violent retaliation is illegal. For the perpetrator to claim self-defense, he needs to be attempting to get away, not jumping in to the middle of the fray.

It's nice to know that the "anti-bullying rally" also had protesters of the protesters, people who want the city to be free from bigotry, courageous enough to stand up but not quite courageous enough to be on camera (except they're seen as 'antifa terrorists' trying to stop free speech). Retaliation isn't in the form of free speech. It's in the form of physical violence.

This is nutty - like, Trump-level big city nutty - except here in my (formerly) safe little town where nothing happens. It reminds me of this:

It's fascinating how words like "bullying" and "free speech" have been co-opted to legitimize violence. And it's terrifying. I liked it better when I could pretend it's all happening somewhere else, but not here!

I heard about it on social media on a thread with these fun comments:

Which is right in line with this:

How do people get through school with these ideas intact? People barely scan the headline for cues to which pre-fab reaction to slot in the comments. We have to keep our heads and keep explaining, oh so carefully, why wanting everyone to feel comfortable in Canada is not the same as hating white people, and why wanting a country to be made of only one race is discriminatory. And frightening.

1 comment:

David said...

I hear that these kinds of things are more prevalent in Ontario - from people who have left Ontario and moved to BC.