I’ve been meaning to say something about The Tyre Extinguishers for a while now. In case you don’t know who that is, it’s a group of vandals disguised as protesters who pop up in neighbourhoods around the world including several right here in KW and slash the tires on people’s vehicles, particularly SUVs. It’s a form of climate activism, so they say. To me it sounds more like an excuse for criminality, but potato potahto. Whatever it is, it’s not a particularly effective way of winning over hearts and minds. If it’s going to be anything, it’s going to be a fine way of getting someone killed one day, whether it be someone in need of immediate medical attention or some punk who gets caught destroying the wrong person’s property. Neither of those is a good option, to be clear.
The Record published an editorial recently that sums up my feelings pretty well. Deflated minds are deflating SUV tires in Waterloo Region
What these scofflaws did, first to about 30 vehicles in the Stanley Park and Glasgow Heights areas two weekends ago and then to 45 SUVs in Upper Beechwood and Beechwood Forest last Friday night, cannot be written off as reasoned political action. It was not a minor inconvenience to a significant number of SUV owners, either.
In fact, deflating someone’s tires could have serious ramifications for anyone depending on quickly using their vehicle for an important matter. Imagine coming out of your home with a sick relative you need to take to an emergency room to find you can go nowhere because somebody flattened your tires. What about a worker who needed to get to their job but couldn’t and lost a day’s wages? What about the vehicle owners who were unable to pump up their own tires and had to call someone in and pay them to do the job? And what if someone damaged their vehicle by driving it before realizing one or more of its tires had been flattened?
No, this was not a gentle reminder to a random group of SUV owners about their connection to climate change; it was a violation of their personal space and an attack on their property.
And it’s just stupid.
As a person who exists on this planet, I’m aware of climate change and have my concerns about it. And of course, to whatever extent it’s going to matter because ultimately the planet is going to do whatever it wants, we should absolutely change a lot of our behaviour for our own sake and for that of future generations so we can safely enjoy this place for as long as we can. But doing a series of crappy, illegal things to strangers isn’t going to help us reach that goal any faster. It’s just a distraction from the real work that people are trying to do. Maybe that work isn’t being done quickly enough for you. That’s certainly a debatable point. But if that’s how you feel, debate it. Don’t just act like a prick and call it a day as though you’ve accomplished something high-minded and important. You haven’t and you won’t. Not this way.