Monday, June 15, 2009


Reading the news this morning, there were two dominant images: people rioting in Iran and people rioting in Los Angeles. In Iran, I get. People are understandably furious about probable election fraud in their recent Presidential election.

LA, on the other hand, even if much smaller in scale, I do not understand at all. The Lakers win, and people take to the streets just like they do every time the Lakers win championship. They even had a commercial that came on after the game that said "Celebrate Responsibly." It's sad that it is not even surprising anymore.

What compels people to riot out of happiness and celebration? I remember being dumbfounded when I heard stories about how students were burning couches, which ultimately led to a car being burned, in Westwood after UCLA beat USC. And I remember being shocked seeing the images of chaos in San Francisco created by people celbrating Obama's win. (Despite not being happy with the people of California for passing stupid evidence rules, this is not targeted at the state. I am sure celebratory rioting happens everywhere-though thinking about it, it seems more prevalent in California.)

I could think of no possible situation where I would simultaneously ecstatic and have the urge to burn something or destroy someone else's property. Even if you're drunk or in a mob, I still don't get how that would be your gut reaction would be to riot.

This is amongst many of the reasons why criminal law would be difficult for me. I would be too fixated on figuring out why people did what they did instead of prosecuting or defending them.

(Both pictures courtesy of the LA Times)

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