The Most Hated Kid in Canada

The Most Hated Kid in Canada

You know, every now and then, a story of just very bad behavior sticks in my craw, so without further ado, let the above picture of Nathan Kotylak do all the talking about the Stanley Cup riots in Vancouver.

While Vancouver's top police officer blamed the riots on "professional anarchists," it's become more apparent that regular Vancouverites were more responsible than others. Mr. Kotylak is one of those others, the son of a doctor in Maple Ridge, a suburb of Vancouver and labeled a star athlete in water polo whose dream it is (was?) to get on the national team and represent Canada in the Olympics.

Well, it remains to be seen if that isn't now a pipe dream, but the real reason I'm bothering to write anything is that while I have no stake in the city of Vancouver, there are times when some distant criminal act and the alleged perpetrator pique my interest and I want to see punishment. There's no doubt that is him in the photo (his father confirmed this although said the image was "misleading," whatever the hell that means). And he's been outed on Facebook (page since removed) and the story has run nationally in Canada in several outlets. But this is the part where a sociologist would have a field day: why so much interest in this one person? Others are being outed but maybe it's because of the standard societal "shock" that such a nice kid from a well-to-do family could do something so wrong. People will fall over themselves trying to parse and analyze What Happened. Given the fact that he has a partial scholarship from Water Polo Canada to attend the University of Calgary, I am more than sure someone will misuse the word "tragic" to describe the final outcome: jail time? Loss of his scholarship? Expulsion from the water polo team?

Unfortunately for this kid, he's become the Face of the Riots, and he's brought out a vindictive streak among Canadians who like to play up their nice guy image, especially at American expense. For me, I do want to see him punished: I do want his scholarship revoked and for him to do jail time. But then I remember one of the great levelers of the world: money. He's not going to do any time, he won't get his scholarship revoked or at least not be forced to go to another school other than the University of Calgary, and by the time he turns 18, his record will be clean. He'll say all the right things, strike the correct tone of contrition and maybe shed a few tears, but in the end, the Facebook postings that his future is over are way too premature. No affluent society likes to see its sons held to account, so we'll focus on the really bad rioters who are hopefully on the lower class rungs because we expect that kind of behavior from them.

So Nathan Kotylak may be the most hated kid in Canada right now, but it's not going to last, because that is the way of the world.