Pride fallout: an open letter to Hamilton’s mayor and police service

I’m writing in the wake of last week’s Pride event. Normally, after a PR and community-relations debacle like that, one would think you would be resolved not to repeat a mistake, let alone make the initial missteps worse.

It’s bad enough that you stood back and let the violence play out rather than intervening as soon as it started. To imply, under the pretext of not taking sides, that there is any sort of moral equivalence between your LGBTQ citizens and the vicious, hateful thugs who chose to attack the Pride events is to reveal a uniquely disgusting moral vacuum at your own core. It is Hamilton’s own version of “very fine people on both sides.” Low bar doesn’t even begin to capture it. But it gets worse: the events of the last few days, whereby members of the LGBTQ community have evidently been targeted for arrest and harassment, suggest a bias in favour of the violent, homophobic aggressors.

That the police would use Pride’s refusal to welcome their official participation as a justification for taking a lackadaisical, hands-off approach to the violence is appalling, but not especially surprising. Their job is to serve and protect impartially. Pride participants don’t forgo their right to service and protection simply because they’ve chosen not to include an official police presence. What a staggeringly petty and immature attitude. If my house catches fire, should I worry that the firefighters won’t respond because I didn’t invite them to dinner? If I’m injured in an accident, do I have to be concerned that the paramedics won’t help me because I didn’t invite them to my birthday party? Is this the message you want to send? Be nice to us or you’re on your own when thugs and bigots attack you? And when you stand up to them, we’ll come after you instead of them?

Do better.

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