Across Asian-American enclaves throughout the United States, gun sales are surging, especially in California where many Asian-Americans remember what happened to them during the LA riots. Many weapons of choice like shotguns, rifles, Glock 19 or any type of Glock for that matter have a 16-week backorder at the very least. Gun store owners are finding it very difficult to even maintain a steady supply of ammunition for their customers.
The Los Angeles Riots of 1992 was kicked off after the acquittal of four white LAPD officers connected to the beating of Rodney King, an African-American on April 29, 1992. The African-American community blamed the justice system and the Korean-American community for moving into their neighborhoods and opening stores. Tensions between the Korean-American and African-American community were high before the riots because in 1991, a then 51-year-old convenience store owner named Soon Ja Du, shot and killed a 15-year-old African-American girl, Latasha Harris after an argument got physical, and Soon Ja Du felt her life was in danger. She was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and received five years of probation, 400 hours of community service, a $500 restitution, and funeral expenses.
There were 2,300 Korean owned businesses at the time, meaning thousands upon thousands of transactions were occurring daily without incident. Latasha Harris shooting is tragic, but not even 1% representative of the number of peaceful transactions that were occurring for decades. If we should judge an entire community for that one incident, the African-American community is far more guilty by those standards today or yesterday with the amount of documented Black-on-Asian violence occurring. The Korean-American community simply filled in the void left by the Jewish-American store owners who left the area after the African-American community burned down their stores during the Watts Riots of 1965.
It has become evident Asians have become the target because of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) and it doesn’t take much before things really get worse for us. Remember, when the National Guard was called in during the LA Riots, they protected the white neighborhoods and let Koreatown burn. Koreans had to arm themselves and still incurred $400 million worth of damages (damages would have been twice that if the Koreans didn’t arm themselves). No tears were shed for Asian-Americans by the surrounding communities.