Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Notes on L.A.

photographer: Henry Beglinger

Just some thoughts and observations in no particular order and not meant to be tied together or have a lesson or moral:

We are learning that so much of what you've seen on the teevee the last few days about the "riots" in Los Angeles is not the whole truth. Yes, there has been looting and mayhem, businesses routed, property destroyed, and I don't condone it. We have had the constant sound of sirens and helicopters circling, the curfews and the buzz on neighborhood watches shots heard on 3rd and Orange, thousands marching towards 3rd and Beverly, people gathering on Melrose and Poinsettia to sweep and clean. But here, here in Los Angeles, here in my own neighborhood I've witnessed many thousands of people marching peacefully in protest against racism and more specifically police brutality.

I have heard countless accounts from people that I know, that were there, that the "rioting" and looting, that the mayhem in many of these places in Los Angeles was instigated and exacerbated by the police.

Please read this story, written by a good friend of mine who I've known since I moved to Los Angeles in 1998, who lives down the street from me and whose children grew up with mine. Zeke's story is an important one and deserves attention, so if you are so inclined, please share it. If you live in Los Angeles, please send it with a letter to your councilman or woman. The police are under the authority of the Los Angeles city council and the mayor, Eric Garcetti.

photo credit: the world wide webs

Here's the story: The LAPD Instigated a Riot, Falsely Arrested Me and Now I'm a #BLM Activist. I believe it's an account that should help you to pivot toward what we're protesting here: POLICE BRUTALITY AND RACISM. We don't need proof of it from a white man, but perhaps many of you dithering over looters and good cops vs. bad cops and fruit analogies might listen and pivot toward anti-racism action.

My friend Chris said this, "Nineteen percent of police forces in the country are former military. The 2009 Homeland Security report that was trashed warned of radicalized vets in police forces. This is frightening."

Last night, my son Henry joined the protestors marching toward the mayor's residence which is within a mile of our home. Henry is in a general state of upset these days, and he and I talk nearly continuously about everything that's going down. He came back an hour later, sweaty and red-faced. He told me that he'd taken a knee for nine minutes and was standing up when a large cop car pulled up and several heavily armored police jumped out. One huge one shoved Henry out of the way, shouting Get the fuck out of here. Henry came home breathless, red-faced and enraged, but he's alive and unhurt, and we know why.

Aside from the vandals and the opportunists and thoughtless idiots, as well as the clashes between a militarized police and citizens, we also know that there are groups out there targeting these peaceful protests -- groups of radicalized people and racists intent on violence. There's plenty online that you can read about these people and what they're doing to our country. The POSPOTUS is one of them.

Aerial view of my neighborhood
photo from local news agency
There's also this stuff.

And then there is everyone else. My friend Michael B said this on his Facebook post yesterday,
Between today and yesterday, thousands of protestors have marched in DTLA, Venice, WeHo, Hollywood, the mayor's residence, Van Nuys, Pasadena, Manhattan Beach. This morning, religious leaders lead a march downtown to police headquarters and prayed with the Mayor and police chief. The crowds keep growing in size and resolve. I have never been more proud of my city.

It's terrible that property is being destroyed, but killing black men and women has to stop.


  1. Zeke's Story is indeed an important one, it was emotional to read, because it brings into sharp focus that too many inclined to violence and antagonistic behavior are on the Police Forces Nationwide and that is the Elephant in the Room! I have heard there are two reasons people join the Police Force: Reason Number One are the people who truly want to protect and serve. Reason Number Two are the people who want a Badge, Gun and be able to Bully or Dominate with impunity.

  2. There is no way to make sense of so much of it. I truly wish that I understood just what it is that the police are trying to accomplish with these tactics. As in Zeke's story, what they are actually accomplishing is more and more people who have lost respect and belief in law enforcement.

  3. We had a march in my city today that I would love to have attended, but my husband has some serious preexisting conditions that could make Covid-19 deadly for him, so I was afraid to be part of a crowd. And several of my friends who went posted pictures of piles of bricks that had just "appeared" in front of minority owned businesses in the path of the march. Someone is out there leaving bricks in hopes that someone will start throwing them and it will make the marchers look bad. Our local police have been helping to remove them. How fucked up is that?

  4. I don't agree with looting but property can be replaced, lives can't be replaced. I'm glad you're all safe. It's too much. I'm angry and frustrated and there is nothing I can do.

  5. I have nothing coherent to say. Reminds me of the DNC convention in 1968 or any number of anti war marches, or Kent State or Rodney King, I could go on and on. Except we are in the midst of a pandemic and we are rudderless and heading towards a giant waterfall. And we're going down. Today I'm not hopeful. Today I'm empty. My friends of color are talking about leaving the country. My Brown and Black neighborhood is jumpy, edgy. My own governor lost his nerve. We can't talk about systemic racism that's the foundation of our wealth and power. Im listening to Beloved read by Toni herself. I couldn't bear to read it before. Now I must.

  6. I’ve been thinking about Henry out there making a statement with his body his voice. I’m so proud of him.

  7. Well, LAPD, by its tactics used on Zeke, have lost even more support. They don't understand that the best thing they can do is de-escalate any situation. There's a ton of testosterone and swagger in their actions, and makes me wonder what they are hearing from their leadership. Good on Henry for going out -- I'm guessing he now is rethinking his trust and support of LAPD.

  8. Bravo to Henry for getting out there and taking a stand (or a knee) for justice. I will follow up on reading Zeke's story and the report about vets in the police forces. That's an interesting angle I hadn't considered -- I've heard a lot about the militarization of police forces regarding equipment, but less about the impact of having former soldiers serving as police.

  9. God bless your brave boy Henry. I say prayers for all our boys lately. It can't hurt.

  10. It is truly disturbing to see how strong white supremacy's hold is in our government structures. Even in our supposedly liberal cities--LA, NY, Denver, Austin--police commit horrible brutalities. I am glad that at least it is being held up to the light. I don't care how much corporate property is destroyed. (Questions about who is doing most of the damage aside). I heard that in Denver the protestors reminded each other not to damage the library. They know what matters.

  11. "But here, here in Los Angeles, here in my own neighborhood I've witnessed many thousands of people marching peacefully in protest against racism and more specifically police brutality.'

    Your eye-witnessing and Henry's eye-witnessing and that of so many others is making all the difference in the world.



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