Rodney King & the Riots

Andrew J. Templin nosilla at MCS.COM
Fri Jul 21 06:55:43 MDT 1995


Bruce writes:
>         Andrew Templin, & others:
>
> >I submit that the riots had as much to do with "Motorist" Rodney King
> >as WWI has to do with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand.
> >Thoughts?
>
>         I think I agree with you on both points... except I'm not sure
> what your point is. Those people did not spontaneously decide to go out
> & burn their own neighborhood to the ground just for grins & giggles.
> Something sparked them. So, what was it, if it wasn't the verdict?
 
I agree that the Rodney King verdict *did* spark the riots - but the
fuel for the riots had nothing to do with Mr. King.
 
I've never been to LA, and I cannot speak authoritatively about what is
going on there.  However, I get the distinct impression that there were
two major factors involved in the riot:
 
1)  A number of people, I cannot guess how many, who honestly believed
that the LAPD was unfair to minorities and decided that a violent
upheaval was the answer.  And, based on some things I've seen, I'm as
certain as I can be that there is some basis for those beliefs.  I've
seen investigative reports where innocent "young black males" were
pulled over and arrested for "resisting arrest" because they were
insisting on being told why they were pulled over.  The car was theirs,
they were not breaking the law, and had no outstanding warrents.  I know
that after repeated, similar treatment *I* would be quite angry.
 
To strengthen my point, please note that I am not generally known for
being overly sympathetic towards the plight of the "urban poor".  I
don't like the welfare state, etc.
 
2)  The greatest number of the "rioters" were nothing but opportunists.
They saw a great chance to steal some neat stuff, or simply destroy.
 
 
>         I should also point out that, if the riots had nothing to do
> with Rodney King, then nothing he could have said, at any time, would
> have stopped them.
 
True!  And I don't think he had any effect on it.  He was a convenient
symbol (and phrase) to be used.
 
So, disect away!  I'm interested in what others think of my hypothesis.
 
                                                Andrew
 
P.S.  It's nice to see that, yes, my messages are actually getting out!
:)



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