Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Photo copyright 1992 Gazelle
Lately I've been watching the Ken Burns PBS doc "The War," and something which struck me powerfully (among other things) is that according to the film, an estimated 50-60 million people died during World War II, and of those, 405,000 were American. Almost all of these were military. Very few civilian Americans died or even experienced the war firsthand since a real threat to our mainland never materialized. The USA hasn't had to endure all out war on our soil since the American Civil War. We're spoiled that way like few other nations.
When the LA riots broke out in April '92, I in all my youthful stupidity decided to explore the heart of the lawless center of the city. I drove around and took some photos, none very good because the chaos and absence of any authority scared the hell out of me - I cautiously viewed most happenings from afar. The mood that first full day of the riots was what I imagine a war zone to feel like, although there was the added element of gleeful looting here and there. At a few locations, firefighters were hard at work without any police back up. Some rioters fired weapons at them. At most locations there was an eerie quiet, punctuated by bursts of angry property destruction. On MLK Jr. Blvd., I watched a young black woman as she feverishly attempted to smash the storefront of a small business with a brick. No one else was in sight. At one point she looked my way, and I swear she looked like a crazed zombie. Anyway, you're probably wondering what my point is. I'm not sure - it's an amorphous string of thoughts I'm experiencing. I would not recommend that anyone seek out a war zone, but I would recommend that everyone take into account that most of the world will continue to experience violence and chaos on a regular basis right on their doorstep.
You know that feeling of dread and fear and near nausea that you've probably experienced at one point or another in your life? Well, that's probably what most people are experiencing in the middle of a war zone...
burn hollywood burn