questionsdoes anyone else have personal experiences…


I was in school and we were watching it on TV. They made our parents pick us up. I thought they were looting in the streets in my neighborhood (20 miles away). We unknowingly for years used to say "Can't we all just get along?". Kids are funny.


April 26th, 1992
There was a riot on the streets
Tell me where were you?
You were sittin' home watchin' your TV
While I was participating in some anarchy
First spot we hit it was my liquor store
I finally got all that alcohol I can't afford
With red lights flashin', time to retire
And then we turned that liquor store into a structure fire
Next stop we hit, it was the music shop,
It only took one brick to make the window drop
Finally we got our own P.A.
Where do you think I got this guitar that you're hearing today?


I remember some of the jokes we came up with...
"have you ever played LAPD poker?"
"that's where any four clubs always beat a king"


@jjilk: Let it burn, wanna let it burn,
wanna let it burn, wanna wanna let it burn


Tomorrow you're homeless.
Tonight it's a blast!


I have memories that are burned into my consciousness, and that will never leave. None of them are funny. If you're delicate, you should stop reading now.

My daughter called me at work, and told me that I had to come home right NOW. She was 19, and very level headed (normally), and I had to ask what was wrong. She said "they're rioting at Normandie, and they're burning the city down!" Since this was only a few blocks from where I was, I decided to leave. Good thing she called, because ten minutes after I left the parking lot, the entire company shut down, and everyone but the guards was sent home. It took me three hours to get home (36 miles, door to door). I watched the fires rage across the city as I drove back to the safety of the San Fernando Valley.


As we watched the news, a couple of days later, after relative calm had been restored, they were interviewing people who'd been in the midst of it. I wept to hear a young mother say "Now where am I going to get milk for my babies? They burned down the stores."

I knew the First AME Church was accepting donations. I went to all the local grocery stores, and bought all the boxed milk (not the refrigerated kind, it came in containers like juice does), and cases of formula, until my car was full, and drove my car into the thick of it, to unload those things. I cried all the way there, and I cried all the way home. The people who lived in those neighborhoods were trapped there. For every idiot out burning buildings, there were ten that suffered the consequences.

I realize you're all having a good time, but for me, it was (and is) a sad testimony to the times. I'd like to think it wouldn't happen again, but I know better.


I definitely wasn't having fun then. It was exciting, yes, but NOT fun. I saw one man get shot, I almost shot a civilian before I realized it was a video camera he was pointing at me from inside his car and NOT a gun, and one soldier in my battalion was shot in the leg. I lost nearly $1,000 in pay at my regular job, worked 20-hour days with 2 showers in the first 8 days, using public restrooms for about 3 weeks, and getting only 2 meals in our first 72 hours there. I saw the best and worst of LA, including civilians bringing food to us when a hews report came out about the army not having planned for feeding the troops, and then later that same day being asked by a banger if we could station our squad one block away, because we were scaring customers away from his crack house.

By the time we were deactivated about 18 days later, the consensus among us was that LA was one huge toilet that needed to be flushed.

I just wanted to get some other perspectives from people who were there.


@kamikazeken: You brought up memories I've been trying not to have. Watching Reginald Denny being crushed by rioters while the police stood by and watched was a moment that seems like yesterday. I saw people die, and most of them were collateral damage.

Before I forget, thank you for being part of the solution, back in those days. Between that, and the Northridge quake (I lived a block and a half from the epicenter), I cannot thank the members of the National Guard enough. The LAPD is much changed from the days of the riots, but you did the job they should have done. If they'd moved swiftly, in the first few hours, it would have been a mere footnote, instead of chaos and horror for days.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


It was awful. I worked in Diamond Bar, near Pomona, and the riots were spreading out as more and more law enforcement were called into Los Angeles. The National Guard hadn't arrived yet. We were in great fear as local businesses began to be looted. I remember when I first heard the Rodney King trial verdict. I was at work and the news began to spread. It was absolutely shocking. I recall not being able to look at my co-worker who was an African American because it was shameful to be a white person that day. ugh. My good friends husband was with the LAFP. We didn't see him again for weeks because of all the fires. I actually got work comp claims from people who had lost their jobs because they didn't call in sick due to being in jail for looting. Terrible, terrible time. I was SO happy when they got rid of the LAPD chief, Daryl Gates. He condoned horrible behavior from his officers as related to me by my then fiancee who had 20yrs on the force and served under him.


@dreamyvelvet: hugs for you. I will never forgive Gates. Never.

I don't think most people realize how long it went on, either. It lasted for six endless days; parts of LA were a war zone. I'm grateful to live far away from it all, now. Such sad times, those were.


Even after it was over, they kept us camped out in a field near an airport about 30 miles outside of LA in case things got nasty again. We stayed there about 8 or 10 days as I recall, before being sent back home.