Monday, August 18, 2014
Some Thoughts on the Ferguson "Riots" and the 1992 LA Riots
In 1992, I lived in LA when rioting and looting took over the city after the trial of four police officers who were acquitted of beating Rodney King. The destruction and mayhem started small, with a few, enraged Blacks piling garbage in the middle of an intersection, then burning it, while throwing rocks and bottles at passersby.
While the police were engaged in trying to contain the local rioting in the streets, every news channel and every radio station fixed its attention on the rioters. The media fanned the flames of discontent by showing the rioter, then by implying that justice had not been served. White police had gotten away with an atrocity, and Black America was once again left powerless, except to take to the streets in rage.
The message was constantly repeated in the news until others took to the streets to begin a rampage of looting and burning that overtook the city and overwhelmed the police's ability to respond. I watched Blacks, Latinos, and even Whites take the opportunity to break into stores to steal whatever they could (mostly TVs and electronics) in "protest" against the acquittal of those four police officers.
The city burned. People died.
In between covering the riots, news stations played and replayed the infamous video scene of the police beating Rodney King. We saw that 30 second scene over and over again. Blacks raged in the streets. Everyone looted. Stores were picked clean then burned to the ground.
I watched several stores get broken into. At one shoe store on Venice Boulevard, near where I lived, several cars with young Blacks drove up to the closed store. They threw bricks at the front window, breaking it, then with the speed and precision of professionals, they entered the store and filled up their car with boxes and boxes of shoes. Just as quickly, they drove away.
That picture, the looting of a shoe store ten miles from the epicenter of the "riots," is really the epitome of what happened over those few days in LA. While the riots may have started in rage, they continued because, hey, free shoes.
What we never saw on TV, what the news media never showed or reported, was the high speed car chase and the minutes of video footage that led up to the point when Rodney King got beaten by the police. Those leading minutes are crucial to understanding what happened that evening as the officers beat Rodney King.
On the night of March 3, 1991, Rodney King and two other passengers in his car led police on a drunken, high speed chase through the streets of LA. When police finally succeeded in pulling King over, the other two (Black) passengers got out of the car and were taken into custody without incident. King, once induced from the car, behaved erratically, and acted as though he were reaching for a weapon. A woman officer drew her gun on King, but was ordered to holster her weapon, mostly as a precaution against King taking it and using it against her.
Five officers were ordered in to swarm, subdue, and arrest King. In turn, he resisted, standing and throwing two officers off of his back. The entire video footage which captured this, was shown just once by the news media. After the initial viewing, only the last 30 seconds were ever shown - the minutes that showed police beating Rodney King.
You see, the beginning of the video didn't fit into the narrative at the time, that white police officers beat poor, defenseless, and Black, Rodney King. That part of the video was shown in court and helped acquit the police officers of any wrongdoing. Outside of court, the news reported an entirely different story.
The story from Ferguson, Missouri holds a lot of parallels to the riots in LA. While not exactly the same situation, I see the news media once again fanning the flames of racial tension and bias merely because it fits into the narrative of most newspeople. I see race activists using the death of Michael Brown as a means to further the narrative that racism is the reason for all Black poverty and crime.
Such a narrative happens again and again. If the narrative doesn't fit, like Rodney King, or Trayvon Martin, or Michael Brown, the story is rearranged and truncated to make it fit. And if the narrative doesn't fit, like the 29 shootings in Chicago over the weekend, the story is mostly ignored.
The narrative goes forward, even when the facts of the case are muddled and corrupted by the very news media promoting the progressive narrative. Such a narrative feeds into the dogma that Blacks are powerless against Whites and must be coddled and fed by the federal government.
The progressive dogmas are as destructive to Blacks and the Black community as the riots in LA and Ferguson. The dogmas of progressivist oppression never let up. Instead the dogmas rage and tear at the very foundations that would allow individuals to rise and people to be free..
There is a way out of the cycle of destruction and progressive dogmas. The path is not easy and it takes time and energy. The cycle can be ended first, by understanding that our success is up to us, as long as the government stays out of our way. We must understand that government cannot "fix" anything. Government can only attempt to regulate the peace or burden our lives further with real oppression.
Self-determination and self-reliance remain the best and surest way out of the riots and looting, not adhering to the dogmas of oppression.