This harrowing account of living through the 1992 LA riots is more a treatise on what not to do than anything else, but it is extremely educational about what may be in the cards in various cities this summer:
I was supposed to meet my wife at Soup Plantation, a well known restaurant down the road. I couldn't get her on the mobile. When I got there and parked, there was a queasy air amidst all the shopping mall splendour and people had a frightened look in their eyes that I had never, ever seen before. The easy listening music in the restaurant was so mundane it was hard to reconcile with the outside windows, which had fire engines, police cars and people running on foot outside. I had planned to just eat quickly with my wife and go home, because I was having trouble absorbing the idea that this thing was possibly even worse than I might have imagined. I thought South Central was so far off, truth is it was about five minutes down the road.
People in the restaurant were watching the television reports, which were growing increasingly more feverish and seemed to just show one new burning building every thirty seconds. I was trying to keep a calm demeanour and went to explain to my wife what was happening.
All of a sudden, a woman in the restaurant screamed. A guy dropped his tray and soup went everywhere. A man was standing in the doorway of Soup Plantation and wobbling on his feet. Blood was gushing out of his forehead which had a nasty gash running right down to his ear. He yelled "They're coming! They are next door in the mall!! They're tearing everything to pieces!"
You could have heard a pin drop. Then the restaurant exploded with activity and EVERYBODY was crawling over the women and children trying to get to their cars in the parking lot outside. I'm talking blind panic here, people smacking into each other like they could not give a fugg less about any human in the world outside of themselves. A guy floored his Subaru and tore the toll gate right off the booth. Everybody else was following him out, the attendant was gone. There was cars hitting each other like bumper buggies at the carnival, nobody seemed to care, everybody wanted to get out to the street.
When we made it out onto the highway, I got my first look at the skyline since I left Rodeo Drive. It looked like the fires of hell were consuming half of the city. My wife was crying, she thought it was the end of the world.
I have to admit, I had absolutely no idea things were that bad. Definitely read the whole thing. And I couldn't help but laugh at how bitterly the guy regretted listening to his wife about leaving the house unarmed on a literal milk run. It's epic.