Nathan Kotylak: A Tale of Repentance, Restitution, and Redemption

Nathan Kotylak tries to set fire to a Vacouver Police cruiser

Fresh in our Canadian collective consciousness are the Vancouver riots, which have triggered outrage, disgust and disbelief throughout the entire nation, as well as across the world. The new G20 of the west coast, as people have dubbed the events, resulted in injuries, arrests and damages far beyond what we can imagine. Amidst of all the chaos was a 17-year-old named Nathan Kotylak who was just caught up in the rapture of the moment. But it was what he did a week later that astonished me the most.

As a believer in the Judeo-Christian faith, there are three key themes that are also considered the 3 R’s to a better life: repentance, restitution, and redemption. Repentance for acknowledging the wrong done and truly making an effort to turn things around. Restitution for making provisions toward those affected by one’s bad actions or deeds. Redemption is the factor that, after one admits and turns from their wrongs and makes them right, is restored to one’s self and lives life anew.

I don’t know if Nathan goes to church or believes in Judeo-Christian principles and ethics, but at a young age he did what few people can truly do: he took ownership of the wrongs he did. He was willing to bear the cost of his wrongdoing by turning himself over to authorities and paying restitution in terms of losing privileges (scholarships, Olympic hopes). Feeling that he brought shame to his family, his city and his nation, his step towards redemption began when his parents loved him and encouraged him to take a big step.

We have a natural tendency to crucify the criminal. Yet I feel that the most powerful display of values is for us to refrain from seeking payback or making threats against the person who did wrong to us. Nathan took a big step by admitting he was wrong and being willing to do what it takes to make it right. Now let us extend grace, peace and love to him for doing what few ever do. Nathan will become a greater man than he is already if we do show that love, grace and peace to him in his life.

Conrad Gayle is a 30 year old up-and-coming jazz pianist, composer and emerging author from Toronto, Ontario. His latest EP, Genesis, is up for sale on iTunes Canada. Conrad Gayle also graduated from York University with a degree in Sociology and currently hosts his own blog site.

Vancouver burns after Stanley Cup Final

A violent group of Canuck fans left a black mark on Vancouver’s world-class cityscape last night after the Vancouver Canucks lost the final run for the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins.

Rioters celebrating openly in front of a burning car in Vancouver

Devastated fans poured out in thousands from the downtown core to go soothe their shattered dreams while the rest, broke out into an ugly mob. This shameful scene of overturned cars, burning vehicles, broken store windows, mobs looting the Granville strip, and throwing of skids, bottles, Canucks gear and anything else in arms reach put Vancouver into the history books in the most embarrassing way possible.

The outrage started in front of the Canada Post building when a group of youth overturned a vehicle and jumped on it before setting it ablaze. Another fire was started to burn towels, garbage and Canuck memorabilia. Multiple fires were ablaze throughout the downtown core, including in overturned port-a-potties, garbage cans and store displays.
At least a hundred riot police were stationed at every corner within minutes, trying to push back the rioters and to get onlookers to run to safety. This invited the crowd to then start throwing anything and everything at the barricade and fights between rioters and police soon broke out.

Hundreds of flailing arms attached to smart phones were photographing and filming the event. Tweets about “running for your life” and “overturning cars” and “making history” flooded the Twittersphere.

Bystanders taking pictures of a fire in Vancouver

The following morning, volunteers helped to clean up the mess left behind. Gloves, bags and brooms were handed out all around the downtown core.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson blamed the riots on “a small number of hooligans” and called the scene “absolutely disgraceful.”

Although the police were more prepared than they were during the riot of 1994 when angry fans rampaged the city after a similarly devastating Game 7 loss to the New York Rangers, they were not able to prevent the burning of 15 cars, two of which were police cars as well as large scale looting in the Hudson’s Bay Company, Coach, Chapters, and London Drugs among others.

Nine police officers were injured. According to Vancouver Police Chief Constable Jim Chu, “One officer required 14 stitches to the head to close a wound he suffered after being hit by a thrown brick while he was trying to stop some looters. Another suffered a concussion and some officers were treated for human bites.”

Despite the chaos of last night, Chu stated that he was pleased that the strategy planned by the Vancouver Police was successful. He also offered up a stern warning for those involved in criminal acts. “I also want to assure our citizens that no one comes into our city and creates this kind of mayhem and destruction with impunity.

The Vancouver Police Department is looking for any clues and photos to properly prosecute the rioters. If you any photos of last night’s ugly turn of events, please upload them on the Facebook page: Vancouver Riot: Post your pictures or at