It is hard to believe that this week marks the 20th anniversary of the L.A. Riots that were sparked by the Rodney King verdicts.
The day the riots broke out, I was working in the Miracle Mile area of Wilshire Blvd. for Allianz Insurance Company (a sleazy company if there ever was one). The day the riots erupted, I was at a business lunch on third street with my supervisor, Pete Fetzer.
After lunch, we headed back to the office and found it locked up. We also noticed a lot of traffic on Wilshire Blvd., more so than usual. One of the office managers came to the door and said rioting has broken out and they sent everyone home. She let us in to get our belongings. Once we did, we bee-lined it to our cars and headed home.
With Pete following me in his car (he lived in Torrance and I lived in Gardena) we headed south on La Cienega Blvd. The traffic was extremely heavy. We got to Rodeo Road and were stopped at a signal. To our left, a dry cleaners and a 7-11 convenience store were in flames. To our right a Fedco was being looted by rioters and its tire service center on fire. Looters were carrying merchandise and running between our cars.
Figuring that it wasn't a good sign, I grabbed my baseball bat from under my car seat and had it at the ready.
Eventually, I got home. After viewing the television coverage of the riots, my wife and I decided to head out to the Colorado River the next morning in our motorhome (our companies were to be closed for the remainder of the week). We were planning to go to a membership campground promo (free camping for listening to the sales pitch) that Friday, but decided to head out earlier.
The next morning, as we headed out of L.A. we saw many plumes of smoke all around. I made sure that I had my .38 cal. revolver handy as we drove.
It seemed like the Watts Riots of August 1965 all over again (I was 11 at the time and remember it).
At least we had a relaxing weekend in Bullhead City as parts of L.A. burned.