Vancouver's image was slimed by the riot and the rioters. Now the police are into a lengthy and costly investigation process, to be followed by an even lengthier and costlier judicial process. Wouldn't it be ironic if the total cost of the investigations and judicial proceedings came close to the cost of damages in the riot? Isn't there an easier and quicker way?
For the worst rioters the usual criminal/civil charges and legal process potentially leading to a criminal record seems reasonable and just.
For the much-more-numerous rest, those that got "caught up" in the hysteria and mob mentality, wouldn't an expedited path of public humiliation by means of a declaration of apology/remorse and paying for their fair share of the damage be a better way to go? In such case, the province and/or the City of Vancouver could do what was necessary to apply retroactive fines such as: 1) $5,000 or other sum for participation in destruction of vehicles and/or store front windows and/or public property. These funds could be directed to those suffering the loss.
2) Looters pay their share of damage to a business through a fine. Total damages divided by the number of looters caught on camera. Say $500,000 damage to one business and 200 looters. So each looter pays $2,500 to that business. Oh, you looted three stores? You pay three times accordingly.
3) $1,000 fine or other sum for active "obstruction of justice" to police and first responders during riot, i.e. fighting, pushing, throwing projectiles, excessive verbal abuse.
4) $250 fine or other sum to all of the riot looky-loos who simply by their presence obstructed police from moving on the ones causing destruction and mayhem, thereby prolonging the riot. This well after anyone with common sense left the area because of what was going on, and well after the police notified them to leave, but still chose to stay because "it was exciting."
Such fines could be adjusted or waived based on an individual's action to minimize damage by others, and identifying perpetrators, etc. The "better" ones would want to make such a public declaration and pay such fines in short order, to get past this. Society can then see that proper restitution was made for a momentary lack of judgment, and can then forgive them.
Rest assured that next time (and there will be a next time) there will be a better-prepared police presence. And who knows who will get "sucked in" into the mass hysteria next time? But by setting an example this time, all future riot participants will know that afterwards they will be both publicly humiliated and made to pay up.
Erik Rehtlane, North Vancouver