I spent the better portion of Saturday night listening to the distant wailing of police sirens responding to a protest in a community not far from my current home.

I lived happily in the La Mesa, California, area for several years before my marriage. It is a beautiful community and very special. Its quaint shops and attitude reminded me more of the Mid-West, from which I come. I had often gone there to shop, as well as to enjoy its Oktoberfest and special Christmas events.

Therefore, my heart was broken into a thousand pieces when I woke up on Sunday to read it had been burned and looted during riots dressed as race-based protests.

Rioting, arson and looting broke out in La Mesa late Saturday night after a peaceful demonstration protesting police violence against black Americans degenerated into violence.

Video showed dozens of people, many of them wearing masks, running in and out of stores in a shopping plaza on University Avenue. Looters were seen leaving Vons with items from fans to alcohol bottles as an alarm sounded. Graffiti covered nearby walls. Others smashed the windows of Play It Again Sports, where looters ran out with dumbbells and baseball bats. At Sally Beauty, a cash register was repeatedly smashed as people left with hands full of products.

Further east, SkyFOX video captured looters leaving a Walmart at Grossmont Center.

A Chase bank and a nearby Union Bank were burned to the ground, the San Diego Union-Tribune reported. La Mesa officials declared a curfew from 1:30 a.m. Sunday until 7 a.m., and Mayor Mark Arapostathis has asked for state aid, the newspaper reported.

It is essential to keep in mind that the Chase Bank in La Mesa is a cornerstone of that community. Additionally, one of my best friends has his office across the street, and their offices were endangered during this bacchanalia of progressive destruction.

I also shopped often at this Vons.

However, the next morning, the community of La Mesa and neighboring areas came together to clean-up the destruction.

The La Mesa community joined Sunday to help clean up La Mesa Village downtown after a night of looting and arson, with roving bands of looters smashing windows, torching businesses and eluding police.

A crowd of rioters estimated to number as high as a thousand blocked Interstate 8 in both directions. What began as a demonstration escalated to vandalism and looting by nightfall, authorities said today.

A cleanup of downtown, organized by the Public Square Coffee House at 8278 La Mesa Blvd., began at about 9 a.m. Sunday with hundreds of La Mesa residents arriving with brooms and paint, owner Aaron Henderson said.

“They cleaned up in about an hour,” Henderson said. “It was overwhelming to see this community come together.”

All the graffiti was cleaned up and store windows were boarded up, Henderson said.

I would like to commend the great people of La Mesa for this example. This is who Americans are.


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