London Riots 2011 & Los Angeles Riots 1992

The media has been underlining the similarities between the London Riots 2011 and Los Angeles Riots 1992. Both are brutal and bloody. But perhaps one specific difference that can be highlighted between the two riots is what happened to the particular individual that sparked them. In the case of London, Mark Duggan died, while in Los Angeles Rodney King survived and still lives to tell his story. Thus, I think the anger in London's case is more intense.

I have some vivid memories of the Los Angeles Riots, because the fires slowly moved to my old neighborhood around Hollywood, transformed some stores to ashes, and almost did the same act to my local library's temporary building. But most of the time, I stayed home, and watched the news with family.

One image I still remember from the L.A. riots was a person wearing a ski-mask, and holding a gun. I didn't see him in-person, of course, but on TV news. He was standing on a parking lot of a popular electronic store, pointing his weapon to different directions, unable to recognize where or who his real and immediate enemy was around him. He was wearing the body language of someone in a war-zone.

1992's place in the memory of Los Angeles is, no doubt, cataloged under nightmare, horror, racial unrest, social inequality, catastrophe, class divide, and other categories. It could happen again.


To display the recent London Riots images above, image-location links from
Boston Globe's The Big Picture section are used.