|My city! Charlotte, NC|
From Los Angeles to Charlotte. Different cities, but the same situation. Sirens, helicopters, broken windows, looting, rioting, broken lives...I could keep going on, but there is no need.
In 1992, it was the riots in response to the verdict for the Los Angeles Police officers in the Rodney King beating trial. The city of Los Angeles, Pasadena and several other areas became "war zones." I watched as the rioters moved in those areas, in particular in the Koreatown area. My father was the senior vice president of a Korean bank in the Koreatown area. As the afternoon moved along, they made the decision to send the employees home. My father, the security guard and the branch manager stayed behind to make sure everything was put away and secured. As they were doing this, as I remember what he told me, the looters/rioters made their way down the street in front of the bank. The security guard had his pistol in hand in case something happened. Thankfully, the three of them made it out and home safely.
The next few days were spent sifting through the rubble of the damage. Bank customers lost their businesses, burnt to the ground or looted beyond repair. These were small family-owned businesses that served the local community. One of the bank branches was broken into, drawers were pulled out, furniture overturned. I saw the pictures. It was indescribable. I saw and heard the emotion in my father's expressions and voice.
I have had this experience in the back of my mind all these years. I have experienced the feelings anytime there is a riot in any location throughout the country. I have tried to bury it, but it comes to the surface every time.
2016. A new location. Life is much different...but I realized last night it isn't so much. There was a tragic situation of a police officer shooting a man with a gun on Tuesday. I won't discuss personal opinions about what happened and who was justified in what they did. The facts are still being investigated. Hopefully, more will come out today.
Tuesday night there was protesting and then agitators got involved and there was rioting. Ok, I was apprehensive, but keeping it under control.
On Wednesday's, I have an Education for Ministry class at a local church. Earlier in the day there was an email about a pray service. At first, I didn't want to go because I was feeling that it wouldn't address the things that I felt needed addressing., but I have a wife who knows exactly what to say and I decided to go. I am glad I did. Was it what I wanted to hear? Not exactly. Did I hear a message that helped? Most definitely. I was put at ease.
Then I had my class after that. It is something that I look forward to every week. It is a happy place. Class started. As I sat through it there was the constant sound of helicopters and sirens. I followed along with Twitter. I am sorry Father Armand! :) While it was 1.5 miles away, there was the constant thought of, What if? At 9 p.m. the doorbell at the church started ringing. The person was yelling that they had a delivery. Umh, not at 9 p.m. The seven of us in the room became instantly alert. This went on for the next 20 minutes. I saw two figures walking in the courtyard. While it made no sense that they would have anything to do with what was happening in Uptown Charlotte, there was still the thought of they meant nothing good.
9:30 came and class ended. We all agreed to exit together because we didn't know what to expect outside. As we got out of the door, me being first, there was no sign of anyone. THANK YOU! We walked to the parking lot and everyone got in their cars. Myself and Corbin circled while we watched the others get in their cars. My thought at the moment was, "You only see this in the movies." As I drove away a sense of relief came over me.
I awoke to news of a state of emergency being instituted, a possible curfew and the National Guard coming to the city. Businesses, major businesses telling their employees to stay home. The daughter of my boss not being able to go to work because where she works basically doesn't exist today. It was broken into and everything was taken. If there are people walking around today with new Charlotte Hornet's apparel I have a good idea of where they were last night. Hmm, I have known about this before, Los Angeles 1992.
The scars opened up the past two days. I don't want to bandage them. I want them to heal thoroughly. I know this won't be the end of tragic events like this. I won't ever pretend to understand why people do these things. Demonstrating and protesting are one thing. Rioting by agitators is something that needs to stop. I will work through my emotions. I need to!
I think finally getting this out is what I have needed.