Credit: Screen grab
Video of Armed Shop Owners Defending Stores During ’92 Riots Goes Viral Amid Coronavirus Fears

Video of Armed Shop Owners Defending Stores During ’92 Riots Goes Viral Amid Coronavirus Fears

Footage of armed Korean store owners defending their businesses during the 1992 Los Angeles riots resurfaced this week amid concerns that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic will provoke social unrest.

A video posted to Reddit on Wednesday racked up more than 44,000 upvotes and more than 1,000 comments before being locked.

How the Koreans defended their stores during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. from nextfuckinglevel

The clip showed store owners firing their guns, ostensibly to keep looters away, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, which were sparked by racial unrest stemming from the beating of Rodney King and killing of 15-year-old Latasha Harris.

Ignited by fury in the black community over purported injustices in both cases — the four policeman who beat King were acquitted by a trial jury and the Korean-born convenience store owner who shot Harris was sentenced to time-served — the riots led to widespread disturbances and looting across the Los Angeles metropolitan area.

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Reddit commenters praised the Korean store owners seen in the footage for so vigorously protecting their livelihoods.

“Goddammit I love America,” said one user.

Another suggested a possible parallel between Los Angeles in 1992 and the present day coronavirus crisis, which has put much of the U.S. into lockdown mode.

“Are you trying to prep us for something during this quarantine?” user burningcoffins queried.

Coronavirus anxiety

A faintly dystopian aura rules the moment.

In some countries the coronavirus pandemic is being compared to the “apocalypse.”

Preppers, often dismissed by the broader culture as paranoid doomsayers, claim they’ve been vindicated for their logistical foresight, sharing triumphant memes on social media.

Elsewhere on social media, some wonder if the strain from dealing with the coronavirus outbreak will too heavily tax the infrastructure Americans have come to depend on to protect them.

The feeling of social unease has apparently spurred some Americans toward armed self-reliance, like Los Angeles’ Korean store owners in the 90s.

Gun stores in many parts of the country have reported a sharp increase in sales since the coronavirus’ outbreak.

The Pennsylvania State Police said last Tuesday that the state’s Pennsylvania Instant Check System, or PICS, for identification verification of gun purchases crashed twice in one day due to demand.

Business is booming at gun shops in other parts of the country.

Californians waited in long lines at gun stores for the opportunity to buy firearms and ammunition, NPR reported on Friday.

According to NPR, a gun shop owner in Tulsa, Oklahoma said he was witnessing “a lot of panic buying.”

“Some people come in and they just want an AR-15,” said David Stone of Dong’s Guns, Ammo and Reloading. “They don’t care what the brand is. They just want the cheapest one.”

Stone says gun sales are up about 20 percent, but ammunition sales have really skyrocketed between 400 to 500 percent.

Citizens in other countries are experiencing similar anxieties.

Online retailer Ammo.com reported a sales spike of 68 percent shortly after Italy recorded a major outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19, last month.

Meanwhile, Mexicans have expressed fears that measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak would lead to widespread looting after criminals robbed stores that were closed and posted calls on social media for people to ransack businesses.

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Police in Mexico City arrested 10 people on Tuesday night who tried to rob shops in four neighborhoods, the city’s security ministry said in a statement.

Cover image: Korean store owner during the 1992 Los Angeles riots. (Screen grab)

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