Having actually been there and lived through it, I can tell you that by the time the troops arrived, the riots and looting were pretty much over. The whole thing started on Wednesday afternoon with the Reginald Denny beating, peaked at about 4 PM Thursday, and was fairly quiet by Friday. The first real numbers of troops (1000 CANG) hit the streets at 8 PM Thursday night. Combined with a curfew, that pretty much drove all the malefactors to ground by dark Thursday.
Thursday from about 1 to 6 PM, though, was as close to being in a war as I care to be. Looters made several attempts to get into the appliance store at the end of my block, fires were burning all around, ash was floating down like snow.
Here's a true story: At about 11 AM Thursday it hadn't quite gotten to our neighborhood (The Miracle Mile area, if you know L.A.), and we needed some food. We drove a few blocks to the nearest supermarket, a nice store in a nice, heavily Jewish neighborhood. Walking in, I saw lines going all the way to back of the store and people--old white, probably Jewish people--just walking out with stuff. There was a riot going on and they weren't going to stand there waiting in line. So I'm standing at the door taking in this scene and I hear the manager telling the security guard to do something. The guard says, "The cops aren't going to come. What do you want me to do? Shoot them?" My wife and I got back in our car and drove to a little health food place further down the road, which was fine.
Wow; just wow. I’m glad you both made it.
My brother lived in LA and he said the local street gang kept the looters out so they could do the looting themselves.
I live over the hill but could clearly see (and smell) huge plumes of smoke. Ashes fell everywhere like the wildfires we have in the fall.
During the riots, Charlton Heston said he got a number of calls from big Hollywood anti-gun lefties:
“I got a few phone calls from firmly anti-gun friends in clear conflict. ‘Umm, Chuck, you have quite a few . . . ah, guns, don’t you?’
‘Could you lend me one for a day or so? I tried to buy one, but they have this waiting period . . .’
‘Yeah, I know. I remember you voted for that. Do you know how to use a shotgun?’
‘No, I thought maybe you could teach me. This is getting a little scary.’
‘I noticed. It does that sometimes. I could teach you, but not in an hour. You might shoot yourself instead of the bad guys. The Marines are coming up from Pendleton; that’ll end it. When it does, go buy yourself a good shotgun and take some lessons.’