The conversation went as follows:
XX: I wonder what would happen if the justice system lets Zimmerman go? Hmm
EH: You don't want to think about that. It could get a little ugly.
XX: Watts riots among others?
XX: I mean brother we have seen it happen before so you know it can happen again.
EH: Brother I am 54 years old. I've seen this happen many times in my life. The issue I have is when things don't play out as they should we trash our own neighborhoods. What good does that do?
XX: Yes that's true. We do a lot of reacting and less acting. We need to act more. Reactions only last a little bit.
I hope with all of my heart that George Zimmerman gets what he deserves but what will we do if he's acquitted? Will we react by rioting and destroying our own neighborhoods or will we rise above the emotional urge to lash out?
- The Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles, Californis riots from August 11 to August 15, 1965. The five-day riot resulted in 34 deaths, 1,032 injuries, 3,438 arrests, and over $40 million in property damage.
- The Hough Riots in the predominantly African American community of Hough in Cleveland, Ohio that took place over a six-night period from July 18 to July 23, 1966. During the riots, four African Americans were killed and 30 people were critically injured. In addition, there were 275 arrests, while more than 240 fires were reported. They shared underlying causes of social problems with other racial riots. The riots caused more people (and jobs) to leave the area, which suffered decades of disinvestment.
- The Detroit riot, also known as the 12th Street riot, began in the early morning hours of Sunday, July 23, 1967. The precipitating event was a police raid of an unlicensed, after-hours bar then known as a blind pig, on the corner of 12th (today Rosa Parks Boulevard) and Clairmount streets on the city's Near West Side. Police confrontations with patrons and observers on the street evolved into one of the deadliest and most destructive riots in United States history, lasting five days. The result was 43 dead, 467 injured, over 7,200 arrests, and more than 2,000 buildings destroyed.
- The Los Angeles Riots were a series of riots that occurred over six days in the Los Angeles metropolitan area in California in April 1992. The riots started on April 29, 1992, after a jury trial resulted in the acquittal of four Los Angeles Police Department officers accused in the videotaped beating of motorist Rodney King following a high-speed police pursuit. Thousands of people throughout the Los Angeles metropolitan area rioted over the six days following the announcement of the verdict. In total, 53 people were killed during the riots and over two thousand people were injured in addition to over $1 billion in property damage.
The point is that nothing is ever achieved by rioting. Lives are lost, people go to prison, and the neighborhoods that we live in are sometimes permanently ruined.
We must continue to press forward and push for Mr. Zimmerman to get his just due, but we need to be prepared for the "What if?".