Was Vancouver Riots Behavior Normal?

Background information

Vancouver riot was experienced during a match between the Canucks, Boston and Bruins in competition for the Stanley Cup. It was during the finals when Boston Bruins won 4-0 over the Canucks that the youths became violent, burning down buildings and vehicles and even injuring fellow human beings (CBC News).

It is not a surprise to see youngsters rioting after a match, and in the process, engaging in acts that eventually lead to regrets, History, overtime, has confirmed this to be a normal occurrence after such an incidence is experienced in various places of the globe (Stepney). This has resulted into research carried out with the sole purpose of identifying whether there could be some kind of abnormality associated with the form of behaviors that are part of the rioting that usually lead to massive losses for both property and human life.

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Results conclude that this is normal as it has so many factors contributing to it such as alcohol and mob reasoning that tends to interfere with an individual’s normal reasoning.

According to CBC News many people are always left wondering how young and sound youth should engage in such actions that result into a lot of harm that costs their outstanding reputation to the public and, even in extreme cases, leading to loss of job and rejection (Smith 1).

However, considering all the possibilities that are responsible for such moves, it becomes sensible to conclude that they are quite normal occurrences that are to be expected especially in crowded areas. It is this very same reason that qualifies the Vancouver riots normal incident.

Reasons behind considering Vancouver riots normal

Just like Smith (2) argues, it becomes difficult for people to reason out well once they are in a group, in such cases the limbic system is left to operate instead of the frontal lobe that is responsible for proper reasoning. At this point, the involved crowds usually act out of emotions, which can be either negative or positive. The ultimate results for the actions involved entirely depend on the kind of emotions that drive the crowd.

More often, emotional activities such as sports that entail screams, shouts and other sorts of noise, which can serve as stimuli, lead to the former part of the brain functional, thus leading into some kind of reaction such as riots. Individuals stop thinking as they should and act as groups; this is dangerous as people involve themselves into intolerable acts unlike if they are on their own.

Group brain is risky at a time because people make subliminal moves without reflecting on the consequences. As illustrated during the Vancouver riots, Nathan, young man from a well- off background, is captured by the media in the very act of burning a police vehicle and later apologizes for his own conduct (Smith1).

Such cases are often, which can lead people in committing unethical activities. The effect of group brain is that it transforms an individual. For instance, when such rioting groups are separated, they tend to reason in the appropriate manner, meaning that their frontal lobe is at work.

This gives an answer as to why the members involved during the Vancouver riots came out apologizing for their behavior as an individual (Smith 1). Smith continues to talk of dispersing people before they form groups also attempting to cause distraction that help them not to stray from their normal reasoning as measures to ensure peace during an event such as sports (Smith).

According to Davis (348), usually a crowd is a group or gathering, with no organized structure, it comprises of assembly of people in real -time with each member having an individualistic benefit. Crowds become socially united by virtue of being physically together, and as such, any happening within the vicinity can influence them to act in a very crude manner.

Crowds do not have any set goals and even have no future expectations of coming back together; this gives an explanation as to why they will always act without reason, leading to massive destructions.

Usually, no distinction can be made between individuals because they all tend to have a similar reasoning, this makes what happened at Vancouver a normal phenomenon. Influence is also another factor that can lead to violent behavior. Influence is so powerful that no one wants to be rejected by friends or feel out of place. For this reason, people comply with any type of behavior, however, unethical it is (Pendry).

According to Stepney alcohol is the leading source of behavioral variation in human beings; this is because it affects the body chemistry leading to a change for adrenaline produced. This has an impact on how the brain works. Alcohol and nutrition also have some impact on the way the prefrontal cortexes works.

This part of the brain develops much later in life. Thus, owing to the fact that people actively involved in the riot were teenagers, it gives a guarantee of their limbic system at work thus leading them to make decisions and act out of emotions. The point that these youngsters were drunk and had a poor diet gives an additional confirmation that the riot was just a normal occurrence. Efforts by the police to close bars and other liquor source did not bear fruits as they had already taken it.

Apart from alcohol, passion is also a significant stakeholder in riots. This is in the sense that all individuals in the group have a team to support. The success or failure of the group support will undoubtedly lead to some kind of reaction being negative or positive. It is this combination of reactions, which can lead to brutality. In an event, of trying to support a team; one has a passion for and has invested time, money and energy.

After loss by the home team during the Vancouver event, fans were subjected into stress, which is a further trigger for emotions. True to Smith’s argument, on the maturity of the brain, the young children and grownups left the scene after they sensed some kind of threat that could result from their home team defeat thus leaving the youths behind who eventually succumbed to their emotions thus causing chaos.

In other cases, spectators trigger, or attempt to provoke fans making them crazy eventually resulting into violence (Smith 5). According to Smith, this event was quite normal. Because, the reactions that led into such actions were distinct. To them, emotions have a big role in controlling ones actions because they affect brains normal functioning thus influencing the manner in which one reasons.

Smith (4) gives fire as an important impulse that arouses emotions. This supports Vancouver riot as normal because it is just immediately after a fire outbreak that the crowds turned violent leading to more and more fire set ups, destruction of property such as breaking of buildings glass windows and a lot of looting. Fire flames are believed to cause some kind of fear and as such some kind of reactions are expected.

Vancouver riot was not the first one to be seen or heard of, there are such more incidences reported all over the globe whereby a lot of damage for both property and human life is encountered. Such riots include those encountered during the European Cup Final in 1985, 2000 South Africa- Zimbabwe match, 2000 American championship and many more. In all these riots, fans acted without reasoning just like after the Vancouver finals (Stepney).

Contrary to the above-discussed reasons is the idea that some percentage of men went to the field with the intention of causing chaos, and they were there just to start something like setting a vehicle on fire so that they induce others (Smith 4). Their aim was to create havoc in order to get a chance for looting and engage in other animalistic actions.


It is in order to conclude that when a group of people comes together without a common goal to achieve; social crimes such as riots are likely to occur. Many factors come into play such as the above-mentioned including group brain, passion, alcohol and many more. Brains at work during such moments are not the right ones due to some kind of stimulation.

Individuals do not reason out on their own while in a crowd as such, their reasoning is usually impaired resulting into unexpected actions that cause regrets at the end of the day. It is in order to claim the riots at Vancouver a normal happening because all the possible factors leading to such behavior were in place.

Works Cited

CBC News. Riots Erupt in Vancouver after Canucks Loss. 2011. Web, 29th July 2011

Davis, Kingsley. Human Society. New York, the Macmillan Company, 1933.

Pendry,Louise. Carrick, Rachael. Doing What The Mob Do: Priming Effects on Conformity. European journal of social psychology, (31), pp. 83-92

Smith, Charlie. Evolutionary Biology, the Prefrontal Cortex, and the Stanley Cup Riot in Vancouver, 2011, Web, 29 July 2011

Stepney, Chloe. Christian Science Monitor: Vancouver Riot and 5 Other Infamous Melees in Sports History, 2011, Web, 29th July 2011


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