One part of my Bucket List relates to travel- a visit to all 50 states. Louisiana is one of the nine states I have not yet visited. There are four southern states- LA, AR, AL, MS- that I haven't gotten around to. The top destination in those states? New Orleans.
So, a few years ago, when Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans and other areas along the Gulf Coast, I came away with a very low opinion of New Orleans, in particular. I understand well after the fact that the reporting was sensationalized, politicized, and even flat out made up. All the same, my dim view of New Orleans is only mitigated by these realizations, not erased. My opinion was so low, that I resolved not to visit New Orleans at all when I got to the state. The Bayou is plenty unique and interesting, and would more than satisfy the Bucket List requirements, as flyovers and pass-throughs don't count in my travel world.
London is another such place. I'm so disgusted with what's going on in London, that I am very certain I will sooner go to New Orleans than London.
Looting always sickens me. In the case of Katrina victims, I can begrudgingly see it when the items sought are needs, like water or food. I don't justify it, but I do understand it. But in London? There was no natural disaster that suddenly created need. There was only mindlessness. From a Time article:
This, of course, is but one story of but one area set ablaze by rioters.
It took 140 years to build up the House of Reeves furniture store, but only a few hours to destroy it. On Aug. 9, the morning after arsonists left the Croydon landmark in ruins, its owner put on a brave face for reporters. "It's been there since 1867, survived two wars, a depression. Yet the community seems to have burned it down," Maurice Reeves told news crews. "I'm 80 years old. It was my wedding anniversary yesterday. I don't know how I'm here today, but I am." On Aug. 10, Reeves paced around the wreckage — red bricks charred black, wooden planks split like toothpicks — but kept his eyes glued to the asphalt. Then, when a yellow bulldozer emblazoned with the word "Demolition" pulled up, Reeves walked away.
For a town recovering from the worst violence since bombs rained down during World War II, the destruction of the House of Reeves symbolizes the mindless thuggery that engulfed Croydon as well as cities and towns across England. Millions watched the Croydon blaze grow larger on live television; police couldn't ensure that the mob wouldn't attack the fire crews, so the firefighters were delayed and arrived too late to save the store. Rumors spread from neighbor to neighbor that the rioters had torched the building to distract authorities from the looting taking place in the town's shopping district.
I have no respect whatsoever for these idiot criminals. I looked back into my past, because I'm the kind of person who has been fighting mad about some wrong my government, including police, has done. Not once did it seem appropriate to burn down some uninvolved 3rd party's property. Never once did it occur to me to smash the window of an electronics store to grab some high priced gear as a means to gaining a sense of justice. Hell, I've never even once entertained the idea of burning down a Post Office. For any reason.
Is the political situation there intolerable? Then fight the people who made it so. Don't burn down your neighbor's home! Run for office, file a lawsuit- don't become a criminal, and an idiot.
Best explanation, also from the Time article, offered from a grandmother to her grandchild:
"My 9-year-old granddaughter said, 'Granny, what possesses these people to do things like this?' " Marilyn, a 60-year-old resident remembers. "I said to her, 'They're savages.' There's no other word."So, for what it's worth, London? You're off my travel list!
And, if my blood wasn't simmering enough, I learned that one of my all-time favorite record labels, 4AD, suffered losses thanks to these criminal morons. Also from Time:
Started by looters, the fire destroyed hundreds of thousands of CDs belonging to indie labels, as independent music group [PIAS] U.K. subcontracts its physical distribution to Sony DADC. Many leading independent film companies, including BFI and Artificial Eye (which releases the Three Colors trilogy, among many others) also lost DVDs in the blaze.
Affected music labels include XL (home to Adele), 4AD (Bon Iver) and Domino (Arctic Monkeys). Physical stock of Arctic Monkeys' new single, "The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala," is so depleted that it will no longer be distributed to record stores.Over the course of the past week, I kept thinking of the great Dead Kennedys song, "Riot", singing just two lines to myself every time I heard or saw a news report:
Tomorrow you're homelessNope. Can't go to a place where there is that much stupidity. Not as a tourist.
Tonight it's a blast