The owner of a music store in Montreal has come out not to condemn the rioters who looted his store over the weekend, but to praise their bravery for destroying the city.
Thousands of dollars worth of inventory was robbed from his shop.
On Sunday night, after most people went home from Montreal’s Black Lives Matter march, troubling videos emerged from downtown.
They showed young people stepping through the smashed windows of businesses along Ste. Catherine St., and one business in particular—Steve’s Music Store, where looters were filmed carrying out guitars.
It’s clearly not good for business, says the owner of Steve’s Music, a Montreal institution. But don’t get him wrong, he says: it was all worth it.
“Without any questions whatsoever, it’s a noble demonstration and it’s clearly far overdue,” says Lenny Lanteigne, the store’s owner.
It was “unfortunate that a few hooligans turned it into a free-for-all,” he says.
“It is awful. But next to what some people are going through, this is nothing.”
The store’s insurance company is currently reviewing the damage, and Lanteigne isn’t sure yet how it’ll all turn out financially, he said.
Still, he says, he hasn’t regretted for a minute that the demonstration happened.
“I think if you see the clip of Mr. Floyd being executed, for lack of a better word, and you’re not moved by that—if you weren’t aware that this was going on before, or you were oblivious to it, you can no longer just turn a blind eye to it,” he said, referring to Minneapolis man George Floyd, whose death while in the custody of that city’s police last Monday sparked off this week’s nationwide protests.
“Something’s got to change,” he said. “These things can’t happen anymore.”
Though Floyd’s death happened across a border, Lanteigne said he was glad to see Montrealers marching, too.
“Racism’s an issue. It’s an issue everywhere you go,” he said.
“I don’t think that some punk who sells drums for a living is in any position to argue with an elected official,” said Lanteigne, adding that the premier has been “under the gun…for 10 or 11 weeks. I wouldn’t switch places with him for anything.”
But overall, he says he’s just not worried too much about it.
“We lost some guitars and some pedals, some microphones,” he said. “Windows got broken.”
But “nobody got hurt, and that’s what we care about more than anything, I think. And if this demonstration brings up awareness of this and it keeps one person from getting hurt in the future, then…I think it’s great,” he said.
“I’m not saying ‘Hey, come over here and do this next week,’ but you know, let’s kind of put it into perspective. They’re guitars, not human lives.”
Here’s video of the looters in action:
The comments on twitter do not disappoint:
— Ben Lawson (@BenjaminJLawson) June 1, 2020
Steve’s wtf!? Why???!! Man Steve’s was all about the music. The damn music…
Montreal you’re breaking my heart.
— Jonathan Da Silva (@jonnydoesntknow) June 1, 2020
Yo those fuckers that looted Steve’s Music in MTL are idiots. Steve’s is an institution. Way to take advantage of a fucking terrible situation.
— Monster Truck (@Monster_Truck_) June 1, 2020
To the pricks who broke into Steve’s music store last night, u weren’t protesting anything…you were looking to line your pockets in the midst of world wide outrage & a pandemic. I hope each & every one of you are caught and punished to the fullest extent of the law. Scumbags!!
— Greg ?? ☘️Romanov bay-bay!! PooF ?? (@Puck_Tough) June 1, 2020