Perhaps the greatest investigation into the nature of riots was the Kerner Commission, established by US President Lyndon Johnson to find out the causes of the civil unrest that erupted in Detroit and other US cities between 1965 and 1967. The commission sent teams of investigators into the affected communities to study those who had taken part. What they found challenged many preconceptions about what had happened.
For example, the investigators acknowledged that many people took advantage of the disturbances to pillage and settle scores, and that this increased with time. But they also discerned clear patterns in the events. They showed that the average rioter was not marginal or part of an underclass but was generally better educated and socially integrated and had less of a criminal record than the norm in their communities.
“The challenge is that in some parts of the world and in some parts of our country, some are saying, ‘Is it worth it? Does it matter whether or not we help save a life on the continent of Africa? We’ve got our own problems here at home,’ they say. This is isolationism which is dangerous.”
“It’s dangerous because one of the lessons of September the 11th is what happens overseas matters here at home,” Bush continued. “When there’s hopelessness it affects the security of the United States of America. We face an enemy that can only recruit when they find hopeless people and there’s nothing more hopeless to a child who loses a mom or dad to AIDS to watch the wealthy nations of the world sit back and do nothing. It is in our moral interests as a nation that we help deal with diseases.”
Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.