Australian Scott Jones & Canadian Alexandra Thomas – Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

Friday, 17 June, 2011

June 19th update: In our somewhat twisted world, this is absolutely amazing: “Canadian riot kiss couple turn down offer of millions by celebrity agents“.

To me, Alex and Scott are so level-headed that their actions are worth thinking about and possibly learning from. Would you or should you let “money” (even if it is millions) change your life out of the blue? Or will you strive to live the best life you can after working hard and applying the skills/talent/knowledge you have?

June 20th update: Oh well, it was nice to think Scott and Alex won’t try to cash in for a day. “Vancouver riot couple hire PR agency Markson Sparks in Australia“. I remember watching Ricky Gervais at Banff reminding us/warning us, the danger of making money off just “being famous” (having talent or skills are different, I am talking about simply “being famous” or “being a celebrity”).

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"Kissing Couple" at Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot identified as Australian man Scott Jones and Canadian woman Alex Thomas

If all the facts check out, which I expect they will, then Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas‘ “kissing photo” in the Vancouver Stanley Cup riot (shot by Rich Lam/Getty Images) will totally have my “vote” for photo of the year.

What a wonderful job Rich Lam has done in giving us all a tiny bit of hope out of this totally disgraceful mess. To me, Rich has definitely captured a perfect example of Henri Cartier-Bresson‘s “decisive moment“, good job Rich!

Have a watch of CBC News report (with video news report and Skype video interview of the father of Scott Jones) and CTV News report (with phone interview).

Have a read of TorStar for its excellent reporting and research, (emphasis added)

“How’s that for making love, not war,” astonished dad Brett Jones declared on his Facebook page, telling the world that the famous Romeo in a Vancouver riot picture is his son.

If you haven’t seen it, Scott Jones, 29, is lying on a street locked in an embrace with girlfriend Alexandra Thomas as they’re flanked by riot police Wednesday night.

“She had actually been injured,” Brett Jones told the Star Friday morning from his home in Perth, Australia. “She had been knocked down by a shield” from the riot police.

“He lay down next to her to comfort her. She was crying and he just kissed her to calm her down.” [Kempton’s note: What a lovely moment.]

Even as a young boy, said Brett Jones, Scott demonstrated his “gentle side for other people. I’m not surprised he would comfort Alex.”

An update from TorStar “‘I can’t believe that’s us,’ says woman in kissing photo“, (emphasis added)

“At first Alexandra Thomas couldn’t believe that was she and her boyfriend on the ground sandwiched in between riot police on a calamitous Vancouver street.

“When I first saw it, I thought, ‘No way, that’s not … I can’t believe that’s us,’ ” said Thomas in an interview with the Toronto Star this morning. “Then I looked some more and realized, that is us. That’s a very revealing picture of us.”

[…] Thomas said this morning that everything happened so fast that there was just massive confusion all around.

“I was trying to understand what was going on. The photo was definitely not something we expected to happen,” said Thomas.

The couple is leaving in three days on a trip to California, before Scott heads back to Australia. Thomas said the response from her friends and family has been overwhelming.

“When I saw that picture I couldn’t believe it and then I looked at it more and realize it’s quite artistic and really something beautiful.”

[…] Jones senior can see that the couple’s now-iconic photograph may follow them for the rest of their lives, for good or ill.

“Relationships do buckle under that pressure unless you have the ability to be very centred. Even if it wasn’t Scott, the guy who took the picture captured a moment in time that is iconic.”

Brett Jones has also counselled Scott not to buckle to the doubters, rampant on the skeptical, know-it-all Internet, who say the photograph was staged.

“Tell your story as it happened and there’s nothing you can do about them,” he told his son. “I think it’s amazing.” [Kempton: Wise counsel from a great dad!]

Jun 17, 8:40pm update: CBC has snapped up the Canadian exclusive video interview with Scott & Alex, “EXCLUSIVE: Vancouver riot’s ‘kissing couple’ tell their story“. Enjoy this 13+ minutes interview. What a lovely couple.

Jun 18, 12:02am update: CBC, “‘Kissing couple’ witness rushed to help – Canadian woman hit by rioter, then knocked down by riot police

Finally, I think we humans are an optimistic species. We gravitates towards hope and love even when (may be especially) the world around us seems to be falling apart and failing us. The photo reminds me of the dialogues and images in the opening of the movie “Love Actually”.

Scott Jones & Alexandra Thomas - Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identified

P.S. I am still waiting for Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other national political leaders to come out (not just a press release) and deliver an address/speech to try to turn this mess into a teachable moment and share some lessons learned.


Top 10 Canucks Riot Lessons – Turning the 2011 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot into a Teachable Moment

Thursday, 16 June, 2011

Top 10 #CanucksRiot Lessons - Turning the Riot into a Teachable Moment

Here are my top 10 preliminary lessons learned after the 2011 Stanley Cup riot #CanucksRiot. As Canadians, we have to take charge and turn this heck of a mess (with nearly 100 arrest) into a teachable moment. Otherwise we are condemned to repeat the same mistaken again and again until we actually learn it.

Please feel free to add your own lessons learned.

My Top 10 #CanucksRiot Lessons in Our Social Media Age

10. There are so many cellphone photos & videos taken of the #CanucksRiot already posted on Facebook/Flickr/YouTube. There will be lots of evidences to hold the rioters/looters accountable under our laws. [Jun 17 update: “Olympic hopeful suspended over link to Vancouver riots“]

9. Think for a moment: People who took photos & videos of the rioters’ crazy acts were indirectly “giving” the rioters an interested audiences and cameras to perform to! Yes, this is paradoxical and contrary to #10.

8. Take public transportation. Do not park your vehicles near the general area where you expect a ton of people to gather in a public event (in this case, well over 100,000+ people). Plus public transportation is better for the environment anyway! :)

7. It only takes a few short hours to undo a positive international image that takes _years_ to build!

6. The “Kissing photo” at the Vancouver riot had generated lots of web interest.  Is this our collective minds hoping/wishing to see something positive out of this mess?

"Kissing Couple" at Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot identified as Australian man Scott Jones and Canadian woman Alex Thomas

See NPR story for the photo and the “story” of this may/may not be staged photo. (Last update I read was from June 16, 4:58pm ET)

June 17, 6:01am MST update: Various media are reporting the news (originally from Nine MSN) that the man in the photo is Australian Scott Jones and the woman is Canadian Alex Thomas. For more, see CBC News report (with video news report and Skype video interview of the father of Scott Jones), Guardian, and Vancouver Sun.

P.S. The mystery story behind the “Kissing photo” reminded me of the Oscar winning director Errol Morris‘s interesting three-part New York Times blog series on a puzzle involving two 1855 war photos.

Jun 17, 11:30am MST update: Scott’s mom said, “I knew it was him because he doesn’t have a lot of clothes with him and he always puts on the same thing. I’d have to have my house flooded to get on the news, but he just has to kiss a beautiful girl.” [HT Atlantic Wire & Kevin]

For more about the “Kissing Couple” photo, see “Australian Scott Jones & Canadian Alexandra Thomas – Kissing Couple in Vancouver Riot identif.

5. People who took photos of themselves with burning cars or rioting acts as the backdrop were actually “fuelling” the symbolical flames of the riots.

4. Rioters/looters’ self incriminating photos will _forever_ be archived on the internet. “Youthful” indiscretions now leave a _permanent_ and non-erasable trail.

3. Riots can happen in any major Canadian cities (Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, etc). We just can’t defend against organized criminal minds/mobs who are ready to take advantage of special events or occasions to loot/rob/steal. Essential items in a rioters/looters tool kit are simple things like newspaper boxes, portable chairs/tables, bandanas, hammers, gasoline in bottles to start fires or use as Molotov cocktails. How can you defend against a few committed criminals in a sea of thousands without harming the innocent people by accident?

2. Social media/online initiatives like @VancouverClean on Twitter and “Canucks fans against the 2011 Vancouver Riots” on Facebook can have meaningful & positive impact in our real world. Show the rioters/looters and the world that committed citizens _can_ and _do_ make a positive difference.

1. A picture worth a thousand words. So far, here are 37,000 words inPost Riot Clean Up Pictures” under the Facebook group “Canucks fans against the 2011 Vancouver Riots“. OK, I cry easily. And yes, I cried when I looked at this, this, this, and this pictures.

In particular, I started crying when I looked at this picture because thoughtful and committed people are thoughtful and committed _individuals_ coming together to achieve a common goal!

Good luck to us all!

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Here is one of the quotes I love.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
– Margaret Mead

17th Jun, 2:39 pm update: Reading this “Bruins fan spat on and beaten up during Canucks game” made me sick and very sad.


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