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The LA Riots

By Paul Peczon


On the second day of the riots, I was at school when classes were cancelled at 2 PM. Traffic was murder, because everybody knew that all the cops were busy somewhere else. Nobody paid any attention to traffic laws, and furtive glances of fear and recklessness were the norm. Everywhere people blared talk news radio. Once you got close to anyone, however, everybody wanted to talk. All traffic leading out of town was jammed.
Do not even consider pushing the button

I didn't have to wait for traffic as much as most, because I was on a motorcycle, and also because I was going the opposite way. After being glued to the tube all night I was damned if I was going to let this be a "Nintendo war" type event like the Gulf Crisis had been. I wanted to see it myself. I had planned ahead that morning, and had brought my trusty sidearm, which I now tucked into my pants under my leather but over my shirt just in case.

Just in case anybody tried to pull me off the bike and beat me to death, which had happened to a number of people, as I had seen on the tube. Nothing short of a situation I couldn't speed out of, I reasoned. I turned out that I thankfully didn't need it, but it made me feel somewhat safer as I exited off the 10 east right into the heart of South Central.

And it was really a mind blowing scene. There was hardly any of the usual vehicular traffic, but there were people running around everywhere. Looting valuable stuff like sneakers, bean bag chairs, and liquor. I saw one guy running out of a store with a big inflatable crayon. The cops had secured a few little spots, from where they drank diet Cokes and coffee. There was a lot of broken glass in places, and it was pretty smoky. I pulled over across the street from a big old abandoned store that was blazing away like it was filled with old dried up Christmas trees or something. Big banks and whole strip malls were charred and smoking. It was surreal. It was a brutal scene of uncanned mindless human rage and societal breakdown. On this scene I could write pages, but instead it will just be something that I'll always remember, something that underlies my perspective.

I drove around for about an hour, and took the 110 home.

I thought about gun control and decided that its just way too late, since there are literally millions of guns in circulation. At this point criminals will always have them and will most likely always be able to get more. Sure, having one around the house greatly multiplies the chance that you could kill or yourself or someone you love, but the same could be said of sharp knives or liquor cabinets. And now I know as you all should know that the veneer of community and society has worn thin in many parts of the world. Me, I just don't want to be living here when the Big earthquake hits the city of LA. back to the main page
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since October 1, 1997
mildly updated Dec 09.

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