A Kirkendall Resident Responds to the Rioters

Like any city, Hamilton has neighbourhoods that need some extra love, but it doesn't mean they should have to stay that way.

By Kirkendall Resident
Published March 09, 2018

Dear Rioters,

To the individuals who are responsible for the terror and destruction on Locke Street last Saturday, and to those who have been vandalizing other small businesses and developments in the city over the past years including along Barton, James North and King Street, let me just come right out and say it: as proud Hamilton residents, we will not stand for this.

I am what you describe as a "yuppie gentrifier" - and you know what, you're right I am! But I am not the villain and neither are my neighbours and small business owners.

Sure, I haven't lived here my entire life. I moved to Hamilton in the early 2000s when I was 19 to go to school. In that time, I have been lucky to see this city evolve and to be a part of the evolution.

I used to live on the west side of McMaster in a single room student apartment. From Monday to Friday, I would wake up early to catch the bus downtown and then catch my next bus up to Mohawk College.

Just like in the present, Gore Park had its rough spots, but back then, even as a young man, it was often an uncomfortable place to wait for a bus - especially at night after a late class or group meeting. My objective was to wait quietly and not draw attention to myself.

Like any city, Hamilton has neighbourhoods that need some extra love, but it doesn't mean they should have to stay that way. For Hamilton to continue to grow and prosper on the path it is currently on, you need investment. You need small business and big business alike, entrepreneurs, risk takers, and hard working individuals. You need empty storefronts filled and derelict buildings rejuvenated.

I cannot understand your point of view. If you want to be "ungovernable," how about you move to a country where the government has failed, corruption and violence run rampant and citizens have no right to upward mobility. You moonlight "anti-capitalists" have no idea how good you have it in Canada.

I choose to contribute to the city I love by working for a local employer who employs me along with more than 60 other people and pays a fair wage.

Before my current employment, I worked up to three jobs to support myself and my family and that included working for a non-profit organization in the same Gore Park that I once stood in while waiting for my bus to Mohawk College many years ago. I worked with disadvantaged and marginalized people and understand the struggle that many individuals have to support themselves and their families.

As a society, we need to do more to help marginalized individuals and communities, but I also have a right as a citizen to work my hardest to improve my own situation for both me and my family along the way. This is the right of any individual in this country - even you self-proclaimed anti-capitalists.

As someone in my early 30s, I'm lucky to own a home. I live in Kirkendall neighbourhood with my wife and our young child - the same neighbourhood you chose to target this past Saturday evening. Just because we live where we do, that doesn't immediately make us the privileged individuals you so claim that we are.

Like many others in our generation, we lived with family for years (seven years to be exact) to save up for a down payment. We made a lot of sacrifices to get where we are now, and we have to make careful choices with our money.

We don't drive fancy cars or take luxury vacations. We are regular working people doing everything we can every day to make our lives and the lives of people around us better.

Just something you can think about the next time you decide to throw a rock through a window.


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By Anarchist (registered) | Posted March 11, 2018 at 16:25:41

I am what you describe as a "yuppie gentrifier" - and you know what, you're right I am! But I am not the villain and neither are my neighbours and small business owners.

This is the choice quote of the article. It's becoming easy for people to denounce racism and sexism, but the author seems unwilling to acknowledge their own classism. Introspection will help them realize their role in the community and understand the rationale of those who felt the need to strike out against them.

"A riot is the language of the unheard" are words that Martin Luther King spoke. When people riot, it's time to reflect on society instead of continue to ignore the unheard.

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By Notplayinggames (registered) | Posted March 13, 2018 at 18:20:53 in reply to Comment 122548

Funny that you should tell others about introspection. The only classism present is from you and anyone who would damage people’s property simply because of class differences. Turn that magnifying glass on yourself and when you are fair minded, and treat people with respect regardless of whether they own a business or not, other people will listen to what you have to say.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 14, 2018 at 08:34:28 in reply to Comment 122551

Why does no one seem to realize that economic violence is just as devastating as physical violence?

"Gentrification" is a such nice word. Hell, "Gentle" is in it! But let's think about what gentrification means. "I'm kicking you out of your neighborhood, but in a gentlemanly fashion, by buying properties and driving up prices so you can't afford them."

Think about a game of monopoly, but instead of everyone starting with the same resources, your opponent starts with 10 times as much as you, then wonders why you're getting upset because you can't keep up and tut tuts you for raising your voice. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps!

At some point flipping the board seems like the only option to get a chance at a fair game.

I honestly don't know what the right answer is, or if there is one, but dismissing them because they aren't being "respectful" isn't going to solve anything.

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By Notplayinggames (registered) | Posted March 14, 2018 at 11:58:13 in reply to Comment 122563

But do you think people buying the property are doing it with the intention of pushing poor people out? Or do you think they are simply living their lives trying to provide for their family while doing something they may be passionate about that also provides a service/product for their community? Unless you have such tunnel vision that you can’t see anything beyond your own world view you’ll realize they aren’t intending anyone harm. So calling it economic violence and comparing it to real violence is a false equivalency. One act has malicious intent against people who are unaware of what they’ve down to anger anyone and the other is a byproduct of an action that had no ill intent whatsoever. The world is full of people living their lives with unintended consequences that the rest of us need to adapt to. Smashing cars and windows does not get any point across other than to say you are the enemies of working class people. Nobody cares what someone thinks after they destroy their property. Open minded discourse is the only way, in our civilized society, for a group that feels marginalized to have a seat at the table.

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By Brandon (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 08:05:45 in reply to Comment 122566

For the record, I don't support what the rioters did, I'm more interested in the points raised by the following blog posts.

An interesting take. If I don't know I'm causing you harm it doesn't matter? If my friends and I regularly punch each other as a greeting is it a problem if I punch you as a greeting exactly the same way I punch them?

If you are made aware of the consequences of your actions but you continue with them are the consequences still unintentional?

I understand that a line needs to be drawn, such as not playing really loud music after 11 pm, but what if I'm a shift worker sleeping in the afternoon. If I've told you that I need to sleep during those hours, are you not harming me if you ignore me despite the fact that you're completely within your rights?

It's a complicated question and I have no good answers, but maybe discussion will bring some to light.

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By Notplayinggames (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 15:48:40 in reply to Comment 122575

Punching someone is violence, so obviously it would be expected that you shouldn’t punch someone randomly. If I react violently it’s understandable. Buying a house or opening a business is a productive, it’s contributing to society, contributing to the economy. It’s not an act of malice. So if someone is negatively impacted as a side effect they don’t have a right to strike out violently. They have a right to voice their opinion, they have a right to let people know there are side effects of their actions to try and make people more aware. I’ve lived your scenario. I worked nights for years and people played music/had parties/revved engines/rang my doorbell. I got angry about it, but I realized I was on the abnormal schedule and no one was intentionally disrupting my sleep, so I adapted to the situation and used ear plugs or white noise. I agree 100% with you that discussion is the key to finding the right ways to proceed forward with everything in our society. That’s why these guys smashing windows have already shit themselves in the foot and taken themselves out of the conversation. They’ve proven they don’t have a rational perspective, they know they don’t, and they are essentially acting out because life isn’t fair, or as another guy said they are just proving they are kids out trying to cause trouble. Either way nobody will not tolerate

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted March 14, 2018 at 12:07:34 in reply to Comment 122566

But playing 'social justice' in the streets is fun! Sitting around and talking to people is boring...

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted March 14, 2018 at 11:41:59 in reply to Comment 122563

I posted about this the other day. I work and earn money to buy my car and you come by and smash it to stick it to the man. You have been violent with me. You have enslaved me to your whims. What is my justifiable response?

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 09:50:20 in reply to Comment 122565

Please do not commit very serious crimes of violence. Motor vehicle operators poison and kill 93 people in Hamilton every year, with a disproportionate number of the dead being children and the elderly.

Innocent children who die in some of the most painful, agonizing ways imaginable. All because they were poisoned by the lethal cancer poison attacks of motor vehicle operators.

Needless to say, the Criminal Code of Canada strongly disapproves of poisoning and killing people. But if the police refuse to enforce the law, can you blame people for exercising their right to self defence to protect their children and themselves from lethal attacks?

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By Crispy (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 16:00:23 in reply to Comment 122576

Your response is pointless.

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By CharlesBall (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 14:16:11 in reply to Comment 122576

OK. So I spend all my money on a beautiful bike that I worked hard for and people in a fit a rage trample it to smithereens to stick it to the man. They have been violent with me. They have enslaved me. What should my response be. (Sorry that I have to poop but everyone does.)

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By LifelongHamiltonian (registered) | Posted March 15, 2018 at 15:56:29 in reply to Comment 122577

Don't fall into Kevin's troll hole.

If he finds something that doesn't fit into his very narrow worldview, he picks at you like a scab until you give up. He'll often cite data which has been gathered unscientifically and tout it as an absolute fact. If that fails, and he is still challenged, he falls onto his sword like a martyr with one of three defenses, which if further challenged are manufactured to make you look like nothing more than a complete villain.

If you don't believe Kevin's transparency in all this, look here:

By kevinlove (registered) | Posted August 21, 2015 at 16:22:00 in reply to Comment 113599

For the politics, I recommend a three-pronged strategy:

Focus on child safety. Few people will come out in favour of children being either crushed to death or poisoned to death by car drivers.

2, Focus on how good it is to live in the new city. Videos of cities that have actually done it are helpful. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a million. When people can see just how good it is, that helps!

Never let a good crisis go to waste. Look at the largest six oil exporters. Think none of them is going to have a revolution or other political instability in the short term? A revolution in Saudi Arabia will end car culture overnight. Political instability in any of the other top six will severely strain car culture. When the crisis inevitably comes, we will be the only ones with a feasible plan to deal with it. Take advantage of this!

He is nothing more than a professional victim, and a liability to this (otherwise) very reputable website.

Comment edited by LifelongHamiltonian on 2018-03-15 16:05:51

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By KevinLove (registered) | Posted March 16, 2018 at 01:26:36 in reply to Comment 122579

Rather disturbing. I suppose that the Medical Officers of Health in the GTHA were all being "unscientific" when they produced this report.

A quotation from page 20:

the health impact of traffic-related emissions in the GTHA is estimated to be over 700 premature deaths each year, with an economic impact of over $4.6 billion. Traffic–related emissions are also estimated to be responsible for over 2,800 annual hospitalizations due to heart and lung conditions. Appendix 2 provides additional detail on these calculations.

Or perhaps these public health medical professionals know what they are talking about, and it is time to stop poisoning and killing people. People who are disproportionately children, pregnant women, the elderly and other innocent people. They do not deserve to die a painful and agonizing death because they were poisoned by motor vehicle operators.

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By ergopepsi (registered) | Posted March 14, 2018 at 10:28:01 in reply to Comment 122563

A bunch of kids have found a reason to go nuts on a Saturday night! Hooray!

BTW, if anyone wants to hold a meeting or conference to organize the next bout of 'sticking it to the man' The Tower rents out their space AND if you don't have enough cash on hand they accept all major credit cards! Isn't that nice?

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