Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times Nov 15, 2011)


A protest about nothing


 By John Martin


This past week was somewhat surreal with media coverage of Remembrance Day ceremonies interspersed amid the latest happenings from the Occupy Protests. There we were, celebrating and giving thanks to a generation, many of who made the ultimate sacrifice, that stared in the face of pure evil and made the world safe for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, we have another generation squatting in tents in the mud, openly dealing and using drugs, vandalizing public property and generally turning one district after another into a stench-filled eyesore.

Yet somehow the people occupying these tent cities are convinced they're as noble as those who occupied Europe generations ago.

As one of the enduring Shakespearean misquotes goes, "Methinks they doth protest too much."

Yes, Wall Street is a cesspool of corruption. That's news?

There have always been billionaires who don't play by the rules.

What else is new?

Getting stoned in a tent and threatening passersby is going to change that? I somehow doubt it.

It's interesting that the mostly young people who make up the bulk of the protesters are the demographic least likely to vote.

As cruel and unfair as life may sometimes seem, we still live in a democracy, warts and all. And while real protesters around the world are fighting real oppression (unlike the unhappy campers) and literally dying for the right to vote, the Occupy crew can't even make the effort.

At the end of the day, this truly is a protest without a purpose. It may have been sparked by the corruption on Wall Street, corruption that both the Democratic and Republican parties are knee deep involved in.

What has that got to do with Canada? We don't have a Wall Street. We didn't bail out the banks and the corrupt mortgage lenders. It would seem these people don't need a reason to protest-just an opportunity.

Some of them even have the gall to compare themselves to the civil rights protesters of the 1960s. Hate to break it to you guys, but Martin Luther King never sold crack from a tent and waited for the free chili truck to come by with his lunch.

OK, the protesters make an easy target and are looking sadder every day. The one liners literally write themselves: "Remember when occupation used to mean what you did for a living?" "They're not going to clean up their mess-their moms usually do that for them."

But the protests (if we can call them that) are a harbinger of frightening times ahead. Even though we don't have the financial debacle and high unemployment plaguing Europe and the U.S. (thank you Stephen Harper), we have a formidable constituency that is unlikely to engage with the rest of society anytime soon.

Somewhere along the way, it became trendy to consider one's self a victim; almost a fashion statement. And it's this cult of victimhood that gives legitimacy to a generation that is convinced they're hard done by and getting a raw deal.

It would have been nice if a few of them zipped up their tent and made their way to the Cenotaph or a Royal Canadian Legion last Friday. I'm sure even they would have figured out that at the end of the day their grievances are pretty puny.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


Prime Time Crime

Contributing 2011