How long will the volcano stay dormant?

Image Courtesy of CNN

It already happened once.  What makes us think it will not again? 

On April 29, 1992, the United States experienced a mini civil war in which more than sixty people were killed in armed conflict, and 2,300 were wounded.  Live television recorded the event, clips of which are available on YouTube.  Other, even more dramatic scenes depicted full-fledged gun battles on the streets of Los Angeles, California. 

The location was an urban section known as Korea Town.  Rioting and looting were sparked when a young black man was arrested for the violent robbery of a Korean-American business.  Over a period of a week, mob violence increased.  The targets included people of all races, and law enforcement authorities soon lost control of the situation. 

When it became clear to the Koreans, many of whom were first-generation immigrants, that the local and federal agencies were not going to arrive in time to rescue them, the Koreans exercised their Second Amendment rights and fought back. 

To their credit, the defenders acted with surprising restraint, holding their ground and firing warning shots when possible, but making it clear that if the attackers would not retreat, they would likely be killed in the combat. 

Nor was it only the local Koreans who responded.  As word of the desperate situation got out, additional Koreans, many of them military veterans, some of them combat-experienced, arrived to support their kindred.  After about a week, government law enforcement, augmented by U.S. military forces, restored order.  By then, many millions of dollars in property damage had been suffered, about half in Korea Town. 

While on the surface this appears to have been a race war, that characterization is misleading.  In the years since 1992, there have been many racially motivated riots in many cities, in which looting was a dominant factor, but the Korea Town incident was different.  The intended victims there reacted, meeting force with force, but only as necessary. 

In subsequent riots across the years, the looters were, shall we say, ethnically diverse, motivated by opportunistic greed, with the claim of racial oppression being a convenient excuse to steal. 

The lesson to be learned is that a seemingly small incident can suddenly explode into mass violence. The undercurrent of animosity is always present.  Whether justified or not, resentments can build up over months or years. 


Approved ~ MJM