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.
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.
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.
- Korean store owner during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.: Screen grab