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November 11, 1992

The Los Angeles Riots of 2014: How to Avert Them

Author Affiliations

Orange County Health Care Agency Santa Ana, Calif

JAMA. 1992;268(18):2514. doi:10.1001/jama.1992.03490180046015

To the Editor.  —In the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots of 1992, there is a discomforting sense that American society has embarked on an inevitable, repetitive cycle. Although shocked, can communities across the nation truly be surprised by the events that transpired or by their magnitude? A ritualized laying of blame, promise of federal aid to cities, and the commission investigations are all unfolding predictably. Of concern is that fatigued, well-worn rationales continue to guide the policy debate and response. These can be summarized as advocacy of education to engender economic opportunity and escape from poverty. Absent from this discussion is any focus on physical or mental health. As such, this formula will not prevent repetition of riots in Los Angeles and other American cities. While the social, political, and economic roots of poverty and community dysfunction must certainly be addressed, they do not exist in a vacuum. As