The memory of a burning Los Angeles following the divisive Rodney King verdict in 1992 will always remain an indelible portrait of America at its worst.
But two decades later, America showed its progress. The controversial and deeply divisive George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict last Saturday night touched a nerve in the nation. Whether you liked or loathed the outcome of the trial, chances are that you had strong feelings.
What has changed in 20 years, then?
One simple answer is that people feel free to express themselves in new-media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Perhaps the real story of the Los Angeles destruction was that so many people felt helpless and could only (they thought) express themselves through violent means.
Perhaps this explanation above is a mite too simplistic. But the rage in the country was still palpable over the weekend. It seemed to many people that an injustice had been committed. People felt a need to show how angry they felt. But they didn’t burn and loot. Thankfully.
Many American citizens took to the streets to protest the court’s ruling — which is their right. Fortunately, they made their voices heard in a nonviolent way. This time, the evening news was not dotted with photographs and videos of destruction.
It’s understandable that a large segment of the population was furious. But the good thing is that they kept their fury within the law.
Jon Friedman writes the Media Matrix blog for Indiewire.com. He is also the author of "Forget About Today: Bob Dylan's Genius for (Re)Invention, Shunning the Naysayers, and Creating a Personal Revolution." Read more reports from Jon Friedman — Click Here Now.
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