Friday, October 8, 2010

Spontaneous Combustion

Laura's NOTE: Aftermath of the LA Riots
I was in living in Los Angeles in 1992 and experienced the violence and mayhem of the Riots up close and personal. Buildings in my neighborhood went up in flames, caravans of looters broke into stores, mass law breaking and violence was constant, and at least 50 people were killed. The media aired the violence and destruction 24 hours a day for two straight days. Numerous video records of it all are easily findable on the net today. But what you won't find looking through videos on youtube, is any documentation about how people came together in South Central LA in the days following the riots to help clean up and help out. These flash mobs were driven purely by memetic contagion toward the good - and being part of them was among the most powerful experiences of my life. The question I had asked myself over and again in 1992 was, what might have happened if the media had aired these events in equal measure to the violence? That question remains with me today - unanswered.

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