I lived through "the riots" and it was freakish. I went to work that day, through the Washington Boulevard and La Cienega areas as the whole thing heated up.
I heard that a very few idiots were starting fires, throwing molotov cocktails at corner businesses from cars. The looters "rescued" stuff from burning buildings. The news helicopters hovered overhead looking at the flames and fanning them, at least figuratively.
The news idiots just loved the flames so much that they would not leave one fire until they saw another one start on the next block. Then they would go and look at it. It never occurred to them to get video of the very few serial arsonists actually just a block ahead.
One of my coworkers had just had her baby, and when our employer sent us home (closed the next day, too), I stopped to pick up some milk for her, which meant I went a different way, missing some excitement on La Brea.
I did see guys on the roof of one corner business, armed. Their building was saved. Huell Howser (PBS) got together some of his neighbors and they defended their corner retailers, successfully. Arsonists are cowards; it doesn't take much resistance.
I heard, next day, that some looters were told (by wives or mothers) to "take the stuff back." Note that the "official" government response was to "stay home and lock your door" leaving the streets to those who, shall we say, lacked self control.
If this ever happens in your town, everyone needs to get their neighbors to park their chairs on the lawns and porches and on the main streets, and sit in them, not hide in the dark.
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