As Rooftop Koreans Knew, You Are Your Own First Responder

Two Korean men stand on the roof of a grocery store with rifles to prevent looters from entering the store in this file photo taken April 30, 1992, in Los Angeles. On April 29, 1992, four white police officers were declared innocent in the beating of black motorist Rodney King, and Los Angeles erupted in the deadliest riots of the century. (AP Photo/John Gaps III)

When seconds count, the police are only minutes away. And when the rule of law breaks down due to natural or man-made disaster, it can take a lot longer than that. (Read Luis Valdes’ excellent post on what happened in Koreatown in 1992 here.)

Some duties of [being a] citizen should never be outsourced. If you are an able-bodied adult, it’s your duty to know how to stop the bleeding and give CPR until the pros who do it for a living arrive. And it’s your duty (and right) to defend yourself, your family, your community and your Constitution. With guns – effective guns, which sometimes means your concealed pistol and sometimes means the guns that those who want you defenseless call “assault weapons.”

Ban them? We should insist non-felon adult, able-bodied citizens own them and become proficient with them because all that law and order you see around you can disappear in a heartbeat. I watched it happen up close and personal, in one of America’s biggest cities. And as the Rooftop Koreans recognized, groups of citizens with (preferably) semi-auto rifles with 30-rounds mag[azines] is the only thing that is going to keep a mob in check.

It’s your duty to be prepared to defend our community. Your duty. Yes, being a citizen of a free country is sometimes hard. Too bad. Tighten up and be ready and able to pick up a weapon. Whether it’s…riots and disaster, or whether it’s some scumbag who decides to shoot up your house of worship or a shopping mall, it’s on you.

– Kurt Schlichter in Be a Rooftop Korean

comments

  1. avatar 2a suxs sucks says:

    I just shot a turkey while reading truth about guns

    1. avatar Skoon says:

      Way to rub it in. I havent even heard a cluck today

      1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

        He probably meant took a shot of “Wild Turkey”;-)

      2. avatar 2a suxs sucks says:

        I hope it’s dryer where you’re at because my ass got wet

        1. avatar Skoon says:

          Dryer yes. But ill take wet with a bird any day

    2. avatar Madcapp says:

      Orientals smoke the f/k out of some cigarettes, don’t they?

      1. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

        We don’t call them orientals anymore, gramps. Those fellas would be considered Eastern Asians now.
        But remember, as the song from Sublime drilled into the minds of genX/Y and older millenials, those LA riots happened April 26 1992. You could still smoke inside shopping malls back then. Restaurants still had a smoking section 5x the size of the non-smoking, and the two were usually only divided by a lattice wall, with the hvac system drawing the smoke right -through- the non-smoking section.
        EVERYBODY smoked back then, back before the great tobacco hearings of ’94.
        (and “reminiscing” about some glory days 25 years ago is reminding me that i’m also definitely old enough to be a “gramps” too, so if you feel insulted… i suddenly feel worse. my apologies.)

        1. avatar Hopeislost says:

          I would even go further. I am with a Thai woman she has no wish to be include in the same lot as Cambodians or Burma or Loas. The same as the Japanese verse Korean or Chinese or Indians, they are all considered Asians but they are not even close culturally or ethically.

        2. avatar Erik Weisz says:

          I think he means “celestials”.

  2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    Seems to me I read somewhere that in the late 18th century militia duty was mandatory, although there were religious exemptions.

  3. avatar tdiinva says:

    Honesty requires us to admit the rooftop defenders of Koreatown were made up of a flying squad of ROK Army and Marine veterans. Anybody who has been to Korea knows that the Korean military are pretty badass.

    1. avatar frank speak says:

      this whole incident is one the anti-gunners are uncomfortable with…the koreans quickly analyzed the situation and responded appropriately…and yes, their military training was probably a factor as they effectively defended their property….

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        They were a true well regulated (in the original meaning of the term) citizens militia.

      2. avatar Dan in Detroit says:

        meanwhile, the cops got reports of k-town bosses popping warning shots at potential looters, looked at the situation, said “we think you guys got this covered” and promptly followed orders to pull out, let the military handle things, and went back to defending their own precinct – screw all ‘civilians’ in trouble (thank you very much warren v DC).

        Now why would anti-gun people be uncomfortable with that? I wonder.

    2. avatar Bubba5 says:

      You can’t (or at least couldn’t up until late 80’s at least) get an exit visa in South Korea unless you served in the military. That’s what I was told by Koreans and every Korean I’ve known in the US had a father that fought in the Korean War or was in the military postwar. Most owned guns. In 80’s and 90’s Los Angeles being without a firearm was pretty stupid.

      1. avatar GS650G says:

        Men serve in the SK military before or after college. Wavers are tough to get, you need to have documented reasons. Even rich kids go in.

        1. avatar Bubba5 says:

          Was it that way in the 70s and 80s? The way a guy told me made it seem like a privilege not everyone earned.

    3. avatar Rocketman says:

      SERIOUS badasses. In Vietnam, even the VC were scared spitless of them. They caught one thief trying to steal their military equipment and cut off BOTH of his hands. Then they dipped his wrists in tar to stop the bleeding and put a sign around his neck in Vietnamese “Don’t try to steal from the ROK army.” You don’t mess with people like that.

    4. avatar Van says:

      I got paired up with a ROK Marine once during combatives training in Korea; it didn’t go so well for me…

  4. avatar GlockMeAmadeus says:

    This aint 1992 anymore. Sanctuary cities have new rules, to carry a gun in the streets unmolested by the cops you have to be Antifa or BLM or MS13.

    Any others with guns trying to defend their property are now “gun toting white nationalist vigilantes abusing the rule of law and terrorizing indigenous peoples.”

    1. avatar GunnyGene says:

      “Any others with guns trying to defend their property are now “gun toting white nationalist vigilantes abusing the rule of law and terrorizing indigenous peoples.”

      Yeah. Ain’t it cool? 🙂

      1. avatar frank speak says:

        ….and while the koreans were busy actually defending themselves…the liberals were all down at the gun shop finding out the vagaries of a “waiting period” to their chagrin and increasing mood of panic…

        1. avatar tdiinva says:

          Charlton Heston’s neighbors came knocking on his door to see if he would lend them some of his guns after they saw a few “undesirables” driving through the neighborhood. He said no.

          Did California have a waiting period in 1992?

        2. avatar jwm says:

          TDI. Yes they did. It’s my understanding that waiting periods were in effect as early as the 70s.

        3. avatar LarryinTX says:

          Anybody ever put together a graph of how much good they did?

        4. avatar Unrepentant Libertarian says:

          I had a LOL moment during the riots watching everyone run to the gun stores trying to buy a gun. If you do not have one and need it, then you are SOL! The ten day waiting period could turn out a lot longer than ten days. Most assuredly will not be able to arm yourself legally while the violence is happening!

    2. avatar tdiinva says:

      Koreans, now whiter than ever.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Point of fact; Asians are almost as far down on the intersectional shit list as whites. In fact they’re even lower if you’re trying to get into Harvard.

        1. avatar Rad says:

          Almost as if the powers that be hate people who are:

          Hardworking
          Responsible
          Intelligent

          The really are trying to destroy civilization

        2. avatar Mister Fleas says:

          “Almost as if the powers that be hate people who are:

          Hardworking
          Responsible
          Intelligent

          The really are trying to destroy civilization”

          Bingo!

    3. avatar Craig in IA says:

      “This aint 1992 anymore. Sanctuary cities have new rules, to carry a gun in the streets unmolested by the cops you have to be Antifa or BLM or MS13.”

      I don’t think so. This was different than the stand down cops watching an intersetion in Portland. When things break down as bad as they did in LA, no one wants to go into the neighborhood while it’s hot. Wait for the National Guard, perhaps. During that time period I doubt anyone in “authority” would come to the aid of either the looters or those protecting their property. Just doing what comes naturally.

  5. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    Anybody find the headline a little weird? Just the term ‘Rooftop Koreans’ sounds kind of funny.

    1. avatar CarlosT says:

      If you are old enough to remember the riots, it doesn’t sound odd at all.

    2. Sounds like a punk band.

      1. avatar Bubba5 says:

        Or an LA street gang.

  6. avatar Mike. says:

    I was expecting to see more pictures showing off the guns they were carrying

  7. avatar Michael says:

    And when the police ordered them to leave, like the good citizens that they are, they left. Then the mob came in, stole everything and burned many buildings down. The gangs looted every gun shop they could find and additionally scooped up all the 4473’s. I wonder why. At the start of the insurrection, the first reserve units shipped in had very little 5.56 ammo. Officers went to the gun stores in their AO’s and bought all of the ammo they could find with their own credit cards. -30-

    1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

      Michael,

      … the first reserve units shipped in had very little 5.56 ammo.

      This article did say, “Some duties of [being a] citizen should never be outsourced.” That would include relying on your National Guard unit to provide ammunition as far as I am concerned. Hence the requirement that a militia have their own firearms AND an adequate supply of ammunition.

      Now for the $50,000 question: how much ammunition is an adequate supply of ammunition?

      1. avatar Michael says:

        I was working for a wholesale firearms distributor at the time of the riots and we got calls looking for resupply from all of our customers in the immediate area. We heard this same story from every dealer. So, I guess the answer is no matter how much ammo you have, if you really need it, it will never be enough. Gonna have to rethink that whole, (save the last bullet for yourself), cliche. Oh, for tommorow, before I forget, happy 5th of May… coincidentally, Ramadan also starts tomorrow. Just for grins and giggles I brought in about three weeks worth of non-perishable food yesterday (peanut butter, crackers, Top Ramen, Tabasco sauce, honey, dark chocolate, instant coffee, sugar, salt, black pepper, multi-vitamins, Spam, canned chicken and ham…) and twenty gallons of bottled water. I’m good for ammo, by my calculations, I have a lifetime supply. -30-

      2. avatar billy-bob says:

        As many pallets as your bunker will hold?

    2. avatar Bubba5 says:

      Most of looting wasn’t gangs. There were dbags traveling from all over to get “free stuff.” Saw it first hand.
      Marines had enough ammo lol bet they brought enough Crayola MREs too.

  8. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    What is the saying, we are just 9 meals away from anarchy?

    Anything that disrupts our food supply for three days (9 meals == 3 days x 3 meals per day) is likely to result in mass chaos since most people only have three days of food on hand.

    Or, as Los Angeles illustrated, we are just one unpopular court decision away from anarchy.

    1. avatar Vic Nighthorse says:

      In the 2003 London blackout people started to go batshit in less than a half an hour. They used some of the footage in the 2014 British movie ‘The Blackout’ about a fictional blackout that lasts a week.

    2. avatar Bubba5 says:

      It was more than one court decision. What really had many people angry already was the Korean female grocer who shot a 14yr old black girl in the head over a bottle of orange juice she was trying to pay for. Voluntary manslaughter and a $500 fine for shooting a kid in the back of the head.
      Anyway I think there were people trying to take advantage of the situation who aren’t black or from those neighborhoods. The first night before things really escalated there were groups downtown burning stuff that seemed more like anarchists. Groups with many white people.

      1. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Bubba5,

        What really had many people angry already was the Korean female grocer who shot a 14yr old black girl in the head over a bottle of orange juice she was trying to pay for. Voluntary manslaughter and a $500 fine for shooting a kid in the back of the head.

        Oh, I remember that event. Allowing the female grocer to effectively walk free was gross and infuriated me, no matter how white, black, or any shade between I or anyone else is.

  9. avatar WI Patriot says:

    “As Rooftop Koreans Knew, You Are Your Own First Responder”

    To be honest, I was really impressed at how the Korean community came together during that time…

    1. avatar Political gristle says:

      When the Koreans went to other (korean) businesses to help defend them, the police intercepted them, took their guns and promptly arrested them.
      Don’t trust the govt. ie, the police, ntl. Gaurd, ect in shtf.
      Be a “gray man”

      1. avatar Bubba5 says:

        Exactly. No different than post-Katrina.

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        A lot of noise has been made about this event, all of it out to lunch, to me. Call me back for my opinion after some such defender actually SHOOTS a looter dead as a post, and we see what happens as a result. Because the police refuse to do their duty does not allow you to use deadly force to defend your property. It should, but I’m afraid you’d be going on a very long vacation. To my knowledge, those guys never fired a shot. OTOH, if they did, they’d be wise to deny it.

  10. avatar Ed Rogers says:

    Unfortunately, you’re preaching to the choir. The people who need to comprehend don’t give a f$%k about being responsible citizens.

    Their mind is made up. They’ll huff unicorn farts for sustenance, while they wait for the police, national guard and the cavalry to make things whole again.

    Things like this don’t really happen to people like US!!

    Besides, we all KNOW this incident was all made up by the radical right 😉

  11. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    Situations like like LA in 1992 reveal how fragile society really is and how thin the shield of law enforcement is. A similar event in LA would be even worse than 27 years ago.

    1. avatar Bubba5 says:

      It’d be much different now. Many blacks have moved out of the area (South/South Central LA) as far as the Antelope Valley. Murder rate and crime is way lower than it was back then.

      1. avatar Ranger Rick says:

        Didn’t know, I haven’t been in LA since 91. After my last visit the antics in 92 were no surprise.

        1. avatar Valley Boy says:

          Between P.D. and Sheriffs there’s over three thousand additional cops in L.A. than in ’92 dealing with a violent crime rate that’s nearly half what it was. Plus the place has been crawling with feds with RICO indictments since about ’03. L.A. is as safe as its been since the mid sixties. Lots of post 9/11 DHS money.

  12. avatar Political gristle says:

    …..and yet the feckless media demonized the Koreans for defending their lives and businesses with “automatic weapons”
    <((eye roll)) against the professional victim class.
    Next point; don't be an ignorant, hapless bastard sheep like Reginald denny.
    #say-no-to-condition-white

    1. avatar TheBruteSquad says:

      If Hollywood ever makes a movie about the LA riots it will be about a bunch of angry evil white men attacking a diverse (black) community.

  13. avatar pwrserge says:

    LA riots… exhibit #240 as to why civilians should have no restrictions on their ability to own GPMGs. A mob of looters is going to have a hard time overrunning a position defended by a belt-fed with a few hundred rounds of linked ammo on standby.

  14. avatar NORDNEG says:

    I got a rooftop & I got guns,,, I’m going to have to try putting them together & see how it works out ,,, sounds kinda like fun,,,There are a lot of perps where I live,,, & like someone up there 👆said,,, the police around here just stand by & watch the perps do their dirty deeds,,,also why they can’t get anyone to be a cop here also,,, Mayor & Governor won’t let them do their job…

  15. Every time I hear the term “first responder”, I offer the correction…SECOND RESPONDER.
    No disrespect.

    1. avatar Jim Bullock says:

      In old-school computing, you often index from “0”.

      For talking about responders, I like the metaphor of 0th being different from every other kind. 0th responder – you – is already there, differently motivated, etc.

      1. avatar Bubba5 says:

        This ain’t compsci.

        1. avatar Geoff "I'm getting too old for this shit" PR says:

          “This ain’t compsci.”

          OK, captain bring-down…

        2. avatar Jim Bullock says:

          Frakking comment verify dumped me into a captcha this time… which I can’t work because I block images by default.

          Short comment, no formatting, minimum punctuation, non-political, no vulgarity … I wasn’t even snarky.

      2. avatar Perry says:

        As an electrical engineer that mostly did software, I also call myself “0th Responder”. It’s a Geek Thing.

      3. 0 would be the initial act. Then you respond 1st.

    2. avatar Chris Morton says:

      My family survived the 1919 Chicago race riot by arming ourselves from the National Guard armories and shooting back.

      “First responders”? NON-REPONDERS far too often.

      Look at the Portland, OR PD’s response to [anti]fa attacks. They’ve switched to “good witness” mode, passively watching attacks on citizens the way the Chicago PD watched White arsonists try to burn the Black community.

  16. avatar SCWIII says:

    Here’s a few tips that will come in handy if you ever have to post up on a pitched roof:

    Wear sneakers with a rubber sole. I prefer high tops that support the ankle. Leave the laces loose near the toe and mid foot area. Tie tight at the top.

    If your roof is really steep, then nail in some toe boards and make a make shift walkway.

    Tie off, or fasten the ladder to the roof so it can’t be removed while you’re up there or so the wind can’t blow it over.

    Get some old couch cushions and strip off the upholstery to use to sit on. It has to be the foam cushions. Use two of them to lay on or move around with. Leap frog from one to the other. The have excellent grip on a shingle roof. They also isolate you from the heat.

    Set up your ladder in or near a valley. It’s much easier to ingress and egress from there. If you have no valleys, set up near the gable ends so you can grab the side of the house/shingles. If you have no gable ends, the set up near a hip. Never go up in the middle of the field where there’s nothing to help you climb. The applies for pretty much any type of roof.

    If you have a metal standing seam roof then use some flat bill vise grips to grab the seams. You can lock them in place and create a foothold. Any metal roof that uses an exposed fastener you can back the screw out a little ways and use it to grab. Cushions don’t work as well on metal, but they do help. When the roof is dry, walk on the seams. When it’s wet, walk in the flat pan area. Do not step in the pan when it’s dry and dusty. You’ll be on your ass in a heartbeat.

    Better to know this now than to be trying to figure it all out when shit is going down.

    1. avatar SoCalJack says:

      Here’s another one, while on a pitched roof, never walk backwards. 🙂

    2. avatar Bubba5 says:

      Need some tar fighting tips for those hot as hell LA rooftops.

  17. avatar James A. "Jim" Farmer says:

    Even the so called “coach gun” which I much prefer to call “stagecoach shotgun” which are popular with Cowboy Action Shooters, just by itself, would be a formidable deterrent to a mob! The shotgun could still be supplemented by the personal handgun.

  18. avatar former water walker says:

    In 2019 those Koreans would die…Commiefornia sux. I wouldn’t get on MY roof!

  19. avatar enuf says:

    Over 2300 Korean owned businesses were destroyed. Many of those businesses never reopened or the owners fled Los Angeles:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1992_Los_Angeles_riots#Korean_Americans_during_the_riots

    There were news photos of dead and wounded Koreans shot in gun fights with looters.
    https://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-la-riots-korean-american-filmmakers-20170428-htmlstory.html

    The LA Times has a map and a list of all the deaths attributed to the riots:
    http://spreadsheets.latimes.com/la-riots-deaths/

    Absolutely the Roof Koreans deserve your admiration. Just don’t think it was some sort of perfect success. They could not protect every business. Some they did try to protect were destroyed anyway. There were some deaths and some wounded. The news media naturally focused on the biggest stories. The California Market with twenty armed citizens on the roof and in the parking lot, that was one hell of a camera draw. Those people fired something like 500 warning shots during the rioting, which lasted 5 days.

    A riot on such a scale is a type of warfare. Good people die there too.

  20. avatar Survivordude1090 says:

    Roof Korea is best Korea.

  21. avatar SurfGW says:

    Fake news. These incidents were pretty rare but many Koreans posed for the media and spun tall tales. Had a aunt that lived there during the riots and she said the whole thing was very overblown except for a couple of intersections on Normandie. One of my best friends is an LA Korean who lived there in the area and he says the same thing.
    Glad some Koreans defended their stores, but let’s not spread Rambo fantasies like they were anything more than very isolated incidents.

    1. avatar pwrserge says:

      I’ll take first hand accounts from the people involved long before I take the word of some random dude on teh interwebz whose cousin’s best friend’s roommate claimed to be there.

      1. avatar SurfGW says:

        Go ahead and believe the first hand accounts told by Kurt S who is trying to sell books or by Koreans who want to sell news stories and appear macho. It is best to believe those who lived through it and have nothing to gain by lying. Both people I know will gladly tell you that the violence during the riots was way less than news lead you to believe (remember news media is trying to sell stories) and Korea Town was never seriously threatened.

        1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

          Surfgw
          I hear the holocaust was also FakE News. Even tho they also have pictures and witness statements. Is that true? Are the Jews just trying to sell books and movies as well?
          Or do only images of white europeans with Sten Guns (1944) count when it comes to civilians with guns?

          It is interesting how the Socialist progressive Liberal mind can say some of the most stupid things. Are the Korean Americans with guns the wrong color for you?

        2. avatar Bubba5 says:

          Not sure where your friend was but I lived in Los Angeles during the Riots and whoever is giving you information is full of it. The murders and hundreds of arsons tell a different story unless you think people pretended to be killed and have their bodies found. For weeks afterwards they were finding bodies in burnt out buildings. I saw sniping at firemen responding to fires and cops who showed up after the shooting. Plenty of video evidence of all of that as well as statistics on crimes that occurred during the unrest. You don’t know what you’re talking about.

          Koreatown is very far North of South Central and very West of Downtown so it was fairly safe just by way of geography and it’s not like everyone in town wants to loot Korean grocers. But there were plenty of experienced criminals breaking in to many businesses, some setting them on fire afterwards to cover their trail. Other fires were set by business and property owners. The idea that those Koreans had nothing at risk is bs. They weren’t the only business owners protecting their shops either. The biggest looting victims were large chain stores and from what I saw most people who were stealing drove to the locations.

          Plenty of authoritative sources on what actually happened during the Riots. No need to come with some interpretation from some blind retiree from the Inland Empire who experienced no discomfort.

  22. avatar Sal Chichon says:

    “Roof Top Koreans,” eh? I guess I’m not the only Count Dankula subscriber on TTAG.

  23. avatar Chris Morton says:

    Remember, you don’t need a gun because the police will pretend to protect you.

    My family found out how big of a lie that was during the Chicago race riot of 1919.

    Protect yourself or don’t get protected at all.

    1. avatar Bubba5 says:

      That’s always rule one. CYA The police have no duty to protect you although some will try. When the going gets tough rely on yourself.

  24. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Roof Korean Americans with an Uzi. Why would any civilian need a machine gun?????? Asks Feinstein with her 38 revolver and armed guard detail.
    Repeal the Hughes Amendment.

    La Riots store owners protect store with guns(Original recording) 3 min long

  25. I am old enough to remember this.

    The military failed them.

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