Up In Flames... In The Heartland

Charles Payne
Posted: Aug 15, 2014 12:01 AM
Up In Flames... In The Heartland

The news out of Ferguson, Missouri is not impacting the stock market, but there is an economic story here that I discussed on my show, last night. Most of the time, an accidental police shooting becomes a spark for violence and protest; it just shows there was a powder keg in the first place. More than likely, that powder keg is composed largely of a poor economy which is compounded by idle time and policies that have coddled young people into a position where they depend too much on government, limiting their opportunities.

The town of Ferguson, Missouri continues to see violence and tensions in the wake of the police shooting and killing of 18 year old Michael Brown. The shooting is tragic, and I hope in the end there is not only justice, but an awakening that makes Ferguson a better place. However, I know this is not going to happen if its residents continue to loot stores and burn buildings. In fact, the only outcome from this behavior is a deepening of economic despair that could last for decades.

Take the infamous Watt's Riots. In 1965, Watts went up in flames as six days of rioting saw 977 buildings burned, damaged, looted, or simply destroyed. There were 34 people killed in the days after neighborhood residents claimed police brutality and the unfair arrest of a black motorist, his mother and his brother. During the riot, 1,032 people were injured and 3,438 people were arrested.

The neighborhood was already marked by plight and poverty, but where it went to from there was a place that simply hasn't been able to escape economically or mentally. All of the local businesses and buildings were attacked, burned, vandalized and looted; many of which belonged to large corporations that provided good jobs to people in those surrounding towns and communities. This triggered businesses-flight out of Watts and the surrounding area, just as riots triggered businesses-flight out many other towns.



South Gate



Bethlehem Steel

US Steel



Uniroyal Tire

General Motors


Goodyear Tire on Gage Avenue

  • The Goodyear blimp was actually housed in South Central Los Angeles.
  • Businesses left and despair set in upon the area in such a way, that it has become a vice grip.

I know there is pain and frustration, and I know professional troublemakers have arrived to stir the pot. The troublemakers will say one thing, yet wink at another. Nevertheless, in the end, the idea of destroying your own neigborhood and scaring away any real employment opportunities is just plain crazy.

The long term impact of these negative actions make any pre-existing problems worse, and any holes much deeper.