Tim Cavanaugh on the 20th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots


On the 20th anniversary of the L.A. riots, Tim Cavanaugh writes, there is a lot of good news to report. There has been an actual improvement in civil harmony. Crime rates are down to mid-1960s levels; gang activity is declining; relations between local residents and the Los Angeles Police Department are noticeably better. Yet South L.A.'s vast network of buttinskis are still lamenting their own failure to bring economic justice to the area over the last two decades. Few regions in California have received more "help" from apparatchiks, community organizers, holy rollers, union goons, neighborhood activists, public-trough developers, political appointees and city planners than has South L.A. Virtually none of this attention has done the area any good, because the tensions of 1992 were never about economics. They were about crime and police behavior, two areas in which the City of Angels really has gotten better.