The A&E Network recently aired “L.A. Burning: The Riots 25 Years Later,” a documentary on the momentous Rodney King Riots. The documentary follows how the riots scarred L.A. and how they continue to affect people to this day, 25 years later.
Among the people affected by the riots were those who lived and worked in Koreatown, a Korean neighborhood in L.A. When riots and looting broke out in their community, Koreans famously took up arms in self-defense.
L.A. Burning interviewed one man who fought back, former gun store manager David Joo. “At that time I was at the gun store, and I happened to receive a phone call from my employer,” said Joo. “He also owned a jewelry store right down the block there.”
“And he said ‘David, we’re having a gunfight in here, so can you just come over and help us?'”
And help he did. David put on soft body armor and grabbed a pistol to help ward off the well-armed looters.
The actions by Joo and others fighting back looters has long been held as one of the more recent affirmations of civilian gun ownership and gun rights. These people proved that the Second Amendment is not about hunting.
“We already called the police and when I arrived [there], at the beginning I could see the LAPD vehicle with like, three, four officers there. So ‘Oh we have the police here, we are safe,” Joo thought. “But as the gun fighting started? they ran away. Goodbye!”
“What I saw from across the street is a lot of looters, they were armed, heavily armed, and they were shooting at us.”
“My experience was that, you know, whoever was attacked and looted Koreatown was not African-American, it was more likely Hispanic, uh, cholos, or the gang bangers.”
Joo didn’t immediately open fire into a crowd, even when the shooting began. “Bullets were coming to my face from here and there so i thought ‘I’m going to get shot!'”
“So naturally I’m just trying to protect my face, my hands are like this momentarily, then I was thinking ‘Oh wait a minute, what am I doing?’ So I just put them down.”
After getting his bearings, Joo started to fight back. “Whoever I saw actually having guns I didn’t hesitate to shoot them. Otherwise I could have gotten shot.”
See Also: Top 5 Guns to Defend Against Looters
“Some of them were popping up from there and there, with either shotguns [or] handguns. In retrospect, it was a dangerous moment, and I was scared, but, you know, even though you’re scared you don’t have much options. You have to fight.”
“Korean people were very frustrated. Koreatown was damaged and destroyed.”
The A&E documentary was produced by Executive Producer John Singleton. “I believe the 1992 LA Uprising has never truly been given a voice until now…we’ve attempted to chronicle the untold stories and unique perspectives of people whose lives were profoundly affected by this event,” said Singleton.