1992 – The Rodney King trial verdict results in widespread rioting in LA

It’s hard not to think that something may have gone wrong with the American justice system at times. For example, when several police officers (Stacey Koon, Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Rolando Solano) are caught on video beating a suspect, when those same police officers are later heard boasting about the injuries they dealt out, well, you’d expect that convicting them of the crimes that they very clearly committed would be a straightforward matter.

Unless, of course, all the cops were white while the suspect was black. Unless the jury consists of ten whites, an Asian and a Hispanic. Unless the trial is held in a jurisdiction notably more conservative than the one where these events took place. Then the complete acquittal of all four officers should be expected as a matter of course, because as we all know, justice is less important than the good name of the Los Angeles Police Department, and anyway, Rodney King must have had it coming, right?

So later that day, after the verdict is announced, these same police officers and jurors claiming to be stunned that anyone could possibly disagree with the verdict is completely believable. If you’re an idiot, that is.

The riots in Los Angeles (which lasted a week and caused 53 deaths, a thousand injuries, somewhere in the region of a billion dollars worth of property damages and kicked off sympathetic riots in other cities), while not in any way justifiable, were certainly both an understandable and a predictable response.

Referenced in:

Anger — Downset
I Wanna Riot — Rancid
Rioting — The_Rugburns
Recipe for Hate — Bad Religion
Livin’ on the Edge — Aerosmith
Don’t Pray on Me — Bad Religion
Say Goodbye — Black Eyed Peas
April 29, 1992 (Miami) — Sublime
Black Tie White Noise — David Bowie
The Day tha Niggaz Took Over — Dr. Dre
Forgotten (Lost Angels) — Lamb of God
Down Rodeo — Rage Against the Machine
We Had to Tear This Motherfucka Up — Ice Cube
Peace in L.A. — Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Stuck Between a Rock and a White Face — One Minute Silence

The Good Book: Proverbs, chapter 7: Anger

I’ve complained here repeatedly about just how obvious the platitudes spouted by Grayling are. But there’s another problem with this book – the way that the these alleged ‘proverbs’, while usually basically okay singly, are just piled together by loose topic headings, with no particular attention played to making them consistent. Let me show you what I mean:

1. Anger rides a mad horse.
Anti-anger. I gotta say, this one is perhaps the most striking metaphor I’ve encoutnered in the hundreds of pages I’ve so far read in this book.
2. Anger sharpens valour.
3. Anger is a bad counsellor.
4. Anger is never without a reason, but seldom has a good one.
5. Anger makes dull people witty but keeps them poor.
6. Anger punishes itself.
7. Those who are angry seldom want woe.
8. Beware the fury of a patient man.
9. The dog bites the stone, not the thrower.
Neutral. In addition, kind of unclear – is it the dog who is angry, or the thrower of the stone? Because if the latter, they seem to be safe from reprisals so long as the dog remains angry.
10. Anger blinds the eye to truth.
11. However weak the hand, anger gives it strength.
12. Hidden wrath causes harm.
Anti-anger – although only hidden anger. Freely expressed anger is apparently fine.
13. The remedy for anger is delay.
Neutral – and also, apparently in contradiction of 8, above.
14. Anger is a fool.

See? Mostly all going one way, but a few random offshoots, and some outright contradictions. This book of Proverbs increasingly reads like the insufficiently edited result of a brainstorming (or perhaps free-associating) session.