First off, Sublime sucks. It was NOT April 26th like the song suggest but rather April 29th. But then again, we were young and didn't know any better. Yes, they said it was for the black man. They said it was for the Mexican and not for the white man. But if you look at the streets, it wasn't about Rodney King, it's this fucked-up situation and these fucked-up police.
Today is the day we remember that L.A. was on fire 18 years ago. If it was a person, it could buy itself some cigs so that it could do something with the flames that it was causing. I think we've advanced so much in under two decades. Rodney King would have been tased to death in today's climate of police brutality. I mean, really. If you're going to acquit cops of beating the shit out of a guy when that's clearly what they did, don't do it with an all-white jury. That's just silly talk.
It was a day that old white California gun owners old enough to have been there didn't mind it, since it meant they got to drive around with guns sticking out of their car windows without anyone having a care in the world. It was the most pertinent examples gun nuts could use to justify gun ownership. The police department had written off entire areas of the city and weren't responding to calls, so if you weren't armed, good fucking luck.
That Sublime song is fucking stupid and has not a goddamn thing on the Dr. Dre song about the riots. But hey, it's not "alternative" and is just considered crude because it's rap. W-h-a-t-e-v-e-r, yo. This track is the shiz-net!
The day the riot started was surreal. It was still contained to Florence and Normandie at that point, but everyone knew that since the police weren't moving in they were just going to let the city burn. The supermarkets were packed with people buying food and water. Two days later all the stores had been looted and most burned down.
And for all of you who believe that they were morons for burning their own shit and destroying their own neighborhoods. As if they should have thought for a minute and driven the 10 miles to Beverly Hills and wrecked that instead of destroying South Central, don't think that didn't cross their minds. How exactly do you get an angry mob to drive 5 miles north? Well, I would imagine something along these lines.
"Hey guys, we're angry and we wont to wreck shit, but let's destroy the property of some rich people that is literally 5 minutes away instead of engaging in mass cannibalism"I just have to ask what the hell is wrong with you. They would have loved to burn whitey's house down but the police kept the blacks pinned in their own areas. The on and off ramps for the 110 free way were specifically closed to keep the worst of the rioting confined to South Central. I had friends who lived in Long Beach at the time, just near where the nice area and the bad area bordered and he tells me that the police setup shop just a few blocks east of him so that all the stuff on the east side was spared but all the stuff on his street and to the west and north got looted.
The L.A. riots had to be about one of the worst possible things that couldn't have happened. People like to pretend like it somehow "woke LA up" and all that but literally all it did was feed into already pretty strong stereotypes about all races and give everybody an excuse to keep hating each other for a few more decades. The generation of white people that was alive and aware during the riots are now permanently disabled in terms of their ability to support any serious positive social change.
The riots are also pretty much the most important consideration when you're looking at the social implications of the OJ Simpson trial as well. White people pretty much saw the moral of the LA Riots being "Black people want you dead" and then the OJ trail being "they're going to get away with it too!" People felt like it was literally Civil War 2 happening in front of them.
At the time I was twelve years old and probably playing with legos or something. And it's only fitting that just a few days ago Daryl Gates had a long funeral march through Los Angeles. Though it was a pretty crazy 6 days to live through and I can remember most of it. That was some crazy shit indeed.
So perhaps you could take a moment to remember when Los Angeles was burning and perhaps some lessons should be learned from all this racial tension, especially over in Arizona. I mean, it's not like you really want that on your hands and you sure as hell don't have enough room in tent city for all the Mexican looking people, right Sheriff Joe?
I'll take you out with some Ice Cube;