Can L.A. Finally Forget the Fatalism of Chinatown?

A UCLA Historian Offers a New Narrative for a City That’s Defined Itself by Its Injustice, Violence, and Corruption

A mother, seeking to protect her daughter and herself, fires a gunshot toward her abusive father, and then flees by car. Los Angeles police, on the scene but in no danger, open fire on the departing vehicle, killing the mother.

Her unnecessary death is more than a tragedy, or another instance of bad judgment by the cops. Her shooting has become an all-but-official emblem of California’s most populous city.

That’s because it’s the celebrated final scene of the 1974 film Chinatown.

Every American municipality has suffered from police or state violence, and most …

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

To Rein in California’s Cops, Reclaim City Hall

Escalating Salaries, Benefits, and Pensions for Police Are Crowding Out Other Services Our State Badly Needs

When you hear cops reporting widespread looting in California, you should believe them. Because they are true experts. Indeed, for many decades, the most successful looters in our state have …

A Letter From Greece, Where a Photo of a Sheep Is Going Viral | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Letter From Greece, Where Quarantined Sheep Go for Walks

A Daily Debate About Safety and Freedom Has Kept Greeks Safe From Sickness

For Athens, I am in the middle of nowhere. It’s early morning, and I have walked up the hill that overlooks our apartment building with my dog, Skeletor, a young, …

When Philadelphia’s Foul-Mouthed Cop-Turned-Mayor Invented White Identity Politics | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

When Philadelphia’s Foul-Mouthed Cop-Turned-Mayor Invented White Identity Politics

From 1972 to 1980, Frank Rizzo Led a Blue-Collar Backlash Against Civil Rights—in the Guise of Law-and-Order

Philadelphia’s City Hall was the largest municipal building in the United States when it opened in 1901. Its most outstanding feature towered 548 feet above the street below: a …