Words by Tony Grands
From coast to coast, since this weekend, there have been continual, somewhat peaceful protests happening in honor of
George Zimmerman’s acquittal Trayvon Martin’s death.
From New York to Texas to California, thousands of people took to streets & freeways & parks to physically voice their malcontent with America’s seemingly broken justice system.
For the most part, the protests, marches, & lawful loitering was done in a tasteful fashion. But last night, July 15, 2013, as a weary, somber crowd gathered in South Los Angeles’ Leimert Park district, civil unrest reared it’s hideous head.
Dozens of young people took to the streets – specifically Crenshaw Boulevard – & randomly attacked cars – some of which were occupied – & assaulted businesses (including Walmart) & one another. The mayhem, which was contained relatively quickly, was a brief reminder of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which sparked after the police who beat (yes, beat, as in a dead horse) Rodney King were acquitted of the charges against them for police brutality. That beating was caught on video cassette, & thusly a new era of “watching the watchers” was born. Though King begged the people for peace, all the denizens of South Los Angeles wanted was a piece. Of something. Of anything. Numerous business were burned down (some of which never returned to their fiscal glory) & innocent bystanders, namely the unlucky, Reginald Denny, were thrashed & thrown to the wayside, much like the
pigs cops did to Rodney King. (Except with full 40 ounce bottles of beer.) After a few days, the city tried it’s best to return to normal, but that was an impossibility. Things would never be the same.
Last night’s uproar had a different connotation to it. News stations that broadcasted the open-ended melee caught images of teenagers – & younger – who weren’t out to protest or lift their voices. They were reckless teenagers who took advantage of the gaping social hole caused by the social outrage of Trayvon Martin’s death. They stomped on car hoods, pounded window shields, & vandalized whatever stood in their path. Even each other. During the ’92 riots, the overall message sent out to the community was “stay indoors,” for safety reasons. Last night’s message, given by several notable members of the surrounding communities, was for parents to keep their children off of the street. Imagine that. Trayvon, a teenager, died over bullshit, & a gaggle of misguided adult larvae took to the streets to light the city ablaze. Oh, the irony.
I’m all for civil uprise & social unrest as long as it has a purpose. Ambient violence is never an answer, but as the kids say, “You gotta do what you gotta do.” However, if the intention is to shed light on a young, Black male being treated like a rabid animal, shouldn’t we avoid giving more people more reason to view us in such a negative light? The sad fact of the matter is that, when the smoke clears, America will have more reason to stand behind the other George Zimmermans of society. & it’ll be easy for them to do so, because our “kids” are providing them with endless amounts of ammunition.
I don’t know what the overall outcome of this tragic chain of events will be, but I know one thing; my kids weren’t out there. & I can only hope yours weren’t either. Seriously, if we don’t start teaching the youth something useful, we may turn around & see we have no more youth to teach at all…
photo courtesy of nydailynews
Words by Tony Grands