HI!! My name is Salem, and I'm a student at a university in California. I run these sites as well: 0x00000019, freedom200117z, and plantation. These all focus, in some way or another, on my actual writing, or stories I'm putting together, and are fictional or embellished to various degrees (the second being completely so).
Writing is a hobby and a passion of mine, but this blog is to serve as the dumping ground for all my more expositional posts and updates, as well as the occasional expository essay now and then.
1992 was a dark year for Los Angeles, especially South Central, but unlike it's been characterized as by large swaths of the local population, it was not a random outburst of extreme, baseless violence. In fact, the 1992 riots were simply years of oppression and misery at the hands of what was essentially a comic supervillain coming to boil at last.
City of Quartz by Mike Davis, probably the best book about Los Angeles ever written, was published (at least in its early run) before the riots even started, but it did an excellent job of elucidating the peril that was (and continues to be, in a mutated form) life in the shadow of an angry, over- AND under-paid and 100% crooked police department which had almost no accountability to anyone but itself and near total immunity from any form of prosecution.
An examination of the social situation at the time in Los Angeles is incomplete without fully recognizing the role that aesthetics played in creating a submissive and, above all, fearful public. As Davis explains in the chapter "Fortress L.A.", the dominant architectural trend in the eighties and nineties was that of intimidation and, on occasion, outward aggression. The public was not to be the enjoyer of public spaces; in fact, it would seem that the City of Los Angeles was trying to do as much as it possibly could to defend the "public" (the upper-crust, NIMBY "public", at least) from any sort of "public space".
Everything, even parks, had to be outrageously fortified. The effect this has is twofold: for one, it has the tactile effect (fulfilling its orgasmic promise) of actually keeping out or at least discouraging unwanted "elements" from coagulating in certain environments; it also sends the message loud and clear to those "elements" that they are fundamentally unwanted, and that the city has complete and total jurisdiction over their existence, from the most fundamental point.
Take, for example, Skid Row: the "'containment'" (Davis 122) of the Skid Row homeless population by the City of Los Angeles, including using sprinklers and "hostile furniture" (the "Rapid Transit District's new barrelshaped bus bench" [Ibid.]) to prevent homeless from sleeping in those areas. This