I had one more observation to add to B.B. in California’s letter about the 1992 Los Angeles riots. At the time, I was living in Bakersfield, a city a two hour drive from L.A., and I vividly recall watching the news coverage of the events. This was followed by stories of similar, albeit much smaller, incidents of ‘unrest’ in cities as far away from L.A. as Fresno, and Oakland, California. The most alarming thing was this: Each of these cities, indeed, even the city I lived in, had already sent some of the Police Officers (mostly California Highway Patrol) normally stationed there to assist in trying to restore order to L.A. In other words, the incidents of unrest had started to spread, even as the officers who were to stop it from spreading were sent someplace else.
Now obviously the incidents in other cities were very minor, and didn’t amount to much. However, the fact that [active component] U.S. Army troops were called in from Fort Ord (over 5 hours away) and even U.S. Marines from Camp Pendleton shows how this one, relatively short, localized incident, stretched the abilities of the government to reestablish Law and Order. (As I recall the riots lasted for less than a week, and major rioting occurred in only one major U.S. city) Can you imagine what might happen if major nationwide civil unrest occurred today, when so many of our brave National Guard and active duty U.S. Military troops are stationed overseas?
In this day and age when people will riot over the whether or not their favorite sports team has lost or won a game, and the economy is teetering on the edge of deep, dark, depression, we are closer to edge of anarchy then we have been in a very long time. If you think that living far away from a major urban center means that you are safe from the effects of such things, or if you think that help is coming during an incident of rioting or civil unrest, then you are sorely mistaken. – Krys in Idaho