Riots Revisited

Recent events in this country have brought back bad memories of the last time this happened. The year was 1967, and here in Detroit, we were apparently ahead of the Riot Curve. The rest of the country didn’t catch up until 1968. As I watched the launch of the NASA / Space X two-man mission to the Space Station last Saturday, it occurred to me that we are suddenly reliving the best and the worst of 1968.

The year 1968 brought with it the flu from China that killed over 100,000 Americans. Apollo 8 circled the Moon, and we saw live images of our neighboring planet, and the earth, for the very first time. In addition to the Tigers winning the World Series, 1968 unfortunately brought with it riots. Protests against the Vietnam War, and for Civil Rights, crisscrossed the country. Radical anarchist groups jumped at the opportunity. Causing massive property damage and loss of life. Does any of this sound familiar?

In 1967, my Dad was a Detroit Police Officer. When the riots broke out in July of that year, they lasted for 5 horrible days. Since I was only eight years old at the time, I understood that the city was on fire. However, since my Dad was a policeman and not a fireman, I couldn’t figure out why he was called into work. If you’ve ever heard the song, The Night Chicago Died, that was pretty much how we felt during those days. Just waiting for our Dad to come home safe. I don’t know how my Mom held it together. 

Years later, Mom told us the story of how Dad called from the 5th Precinct during the riots. He was just checking in to let her know he was okay. She kept hearing strange popping noises and asked what they were. Dad said there was a sniper across the street. But he was fine, hunkered down under a steel desk. My Mom hung up on him! Classic Mom.

These riots need to stop, NOW! Detroit has been trying to recover from 1967 for five decades. We have finally emerged from the ashes, and we’re on our way to becoming a bustling, thriving metropolis once again. There have been some 2020 riot incidents in Detroit. However, there seems to be lots of people around here who remember the devastation of 1967, and aren’t going to let that happen again. God willing. We know how long we’ve been paying for those 5 days of chaos. 50 years.

For all of those cities affected by this madness, take a lesson from Detroit. Shut it down NOW, or you could be paying the price for the next 50 years. Just sayin’.

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