by Steven Perlin, Staff Writer
The Los Angeles Lakers have won the championship and now the real events have begun. Overnight, the scene in Los Angeles changed from joy to a scene similar to that of a small scale Rodney King riot. These rioters, who just witnessed a championship victory from their home team, angrily smashed and shattered the windows of a city bus. These rioters threw trashcans at police cars and set fire to trees and trash. The Los Angeles Police Department responded by dispatching the riot police who detained 25 people and dispersed the large crowd quite rapidly. Unlike the May Day rally that took place in Los Angeles in May of 2007, the LAPD responded in a much gentler way. They too used rubber bullets and tear gas but tended not to use too much “unnecessary” force.
In fact, some believe that the response to the small riot was not nearly enough. I, as a matter of fact, am one of those people. The Los Angeles Police Department has been conforming to the views of the people in the City of Los Angeles for too long. It is about time that the LAPD take initiative to keep all Angeleno citizens safe. Instead of taking safety precautions to make sure that the criminals (who vandalize, commit arson, and loot local businesses) are protected, they need to ensure that hard-working, honest citizens remain safe.
I believe that rubber bullets, tear gas, and other nonlethal weapons were developed for taking care of hostage situations where the use of real munitions would cause large amounts of collateral damage. However, in situations where large groups of people disturb the peace, could cause millions of dollars in damage, and endanger the lives of other citizens, I feel that the police should use their whole arsenal of weaponry. The mere sight of a semiautomatic weapon in the hands of a police officer would frighten the rioters uncontrollably. Because of the nonlethal munitions, people have now begun to disrespect law enforcement and cross that imaginary line of appropriate behavior. People need to be taught that respect for authority was a value upon which the United States of America was founded. Until we change certain tactics for when the police department uses nonlethal munitions, people will continue to disrespect and take for granted the people that put their lives on the line on a daily basis as well as disobey the laws.