Mary Katharine Ham

No, not the Australian ones. Or the French ones.

I'm talking about the ones that were supposed to happen in L.A. and possibly all over the U.S. in response to Tookie Williams' execution.

Baldilocks made a prediction about this on Monday night:

Now we'll see whether the idea--planted by Big Media--that blacks will riot over anything, even over the execution of one who made some of their neighborhoods a warzone, is a true one.

I say no.

Moxie was ready to defend the homefront, but no one came.

Maybe there were no riots because, as Baldilocks points out, the folks the media seemed to anxiously expect to riot remember what Tookie's minions have done to their neighborhoods.

David Anderson remembers what the Crips did to his childhood. Via Jay Tea.

Do you think all of the movie stars who spoke up for Tookie are surprised no one rose up for him?

All the riot talk reminded me of a speech I watched the French Ambassador to the U.S. give right after the French riots started. I was watching C-SPAN and scribbled down some notes. Ambassador Jean-David Levitte was just clinging-- we're talking white-knuckled, nail-breaking clinging-- to the memory of the L.A. riots of 1992 as a way to excuse the riots in his own country.

"I think the word 'riot' is a bit too strong...If you compare them with the L.A. riots, there were no guns in our streets...The main difference...is that there were no adults...In our neighborhoods, there were teenagers...I think this is a very important nuance...I would say it is less riots than social unrest."

I thought it was odd to open a speech about social upheaval in your own country by contrasting it with 13-year-old social upheaval in another country until I realized he had accomplished two of his main goals in the first couple sentences. Establish superiority to America, check. Use the word 'nuance', check.

The entire rest of the speech accomplished his third goal-- reading a long list of pie-in-the-sky social programs, which won't solve anything and can't possibly be paid for in the anemic French economy.

I'm sure Ambassador Levitte would have loved some more recent riots in L.A. to lecture American audiences about instead of addressing the problems in France. Many American editorial writers would have relished the opportunity to focus on America's overwhelming badness as compared to France's rather minor social unrest and the enlightened, progressive programs they're using to fix the problem, which we should really look into, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.

Thank goodness, for the sake of the people of L.A., that folks remembered Tookie and chose not to bring more violence in his name.

UPDATE: I was just thinking about my own memories of the Crips and Bloods. When I was a kid in North Carolina, the Crips and Bloods felt mostly mythological. I remember feeling the same way about them as I did the Killer Bees. Everyone kept talking about how they'd get here any day; they inspired a vague fear followed by certainty that they'd never actually get to our city.

By high school, things were different. I had a blue bandana snatched off my head by a group of local Crips while I was standing in line at the Food Court's Orange Julius. I was lucky to get no worse than that.

By last year, there were gang wars at two of the area high schools. Thank you, Tookie.


Mary Katharine Ham

Mary Katharine Ham is editor-at-large of HotAir.com, a contributor to Townhall Magazine.

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