If history has taught us anything it's that Tony Danza is wonderful
. Also, we've learned that a handful of sticky situations will cause massive groups of people to lose their minds and start rioting like mofos in basically an all-out grudge match between cops and regular Joes.
Race and politics are the two of the biggest triggers for riots, but every so often you'll come across a random event that sets people off into a destructive orgy of madness. From monkeys to sandwiches, we found five disturbance triggers that turned something benign into a massive mess.
Lincoln Prison Riot (2002)
At Lincoln Prison in the U.K., lunch is serious business. Never mind that you're surrounded by rapists, thieves and murderers -- the real criminals are the bastards that dare change the menu.
In October of 2002, some foolish individual did just that and the result was a full-scale prison mutiny
. Upon learning that hot lunches would be replaced with sandwiches, sandwich-hating prisoners managed to overpower a guard and steal his cell keys. Soon more inmates were on the loose, who proceeded to loot and destroy the prison, using oxygen cylinders to blow open doors they couldn't unbolt.
In the end, prisoners controlled the facility for eight hours and 21 minutes, and 168 riot officers had to be brought in from as far as 150 miles away. Fortunately, only one inmate died. (He stole drugs from the pharmacy and overdosed.) Thirty-five more needed to go to a hospital as a result of sammich rage.
Nika Riots (532)
Cause: Unsatisfactory Chariot Race
Folks in Constantinople did not screw around when it came to chariot racing. After a solid day of racing, ancient crowds had switched from chanting for their favorite team (Blues or Greens) to simply screaming for blood in that general way mobs do. Violence busted out like pimples on a high school kid, and Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian was forced to hole up in his palace for about five days as the rioters laid siege to his kingdom. A new Emperor was declared and up to 30,000 people were reportedly killed before Justinian, in splendid weasel form, sent a man to the Blues to point out that the new Emperor was a Green. He also gave them cash.
The result was Blues leaving to side with the old Emperor and the remaining Green rioters being executed along with their new Emperor. Order was quickly restored and they all lived happily ever after.
Boston Massacre (1770)
Cause: Unpaid wig bill
As any balding man will tell you, hairpieces are serious business. A good one can make you as suave as Magnum PI. A bad one can make you look like Donald Trump minus the appeal of millions of dollars. Despite that, few people would be apt to think wigs lead to huge riots. But they do, sometimes.
In 1770, a British Officer was called out by a wig maker's apprentice for not paying a wig bill. Normally when this happens a furious dance-off ensues until someone gets served and all wrongs are then righted. But in 1770, they just let things get ugly.
A soldier confronted the apprentice and pistol whipped him for trash-talking a gentleman. This drew a crowd, as public beatings are wont to do. Mobs began spontaneously forming in the streets the way mobs do when wig beatings are afoot, as more soldiers went to the aid of the soldier who first beat the wig maker's apprentice. The result was the soldiers unloading muskets and killing five civilians, which in turn, helped spur the American Revolution. So let that be a lesson to you if you ever try to skip out on your next wig bill.
Zoot Suit Riots (1943)
Cause: Ridiculous clothing and racism
In the early 1940s, fashion was just as stupid as it is today, even though praying mantis sunglasses and sweat pants with words on the ass had yet to be invented. What they did have were zoot suits -- poorly tailored pimp suits with high waists and long jackets that were favored by the California Latino community. Meanwhile, servicemen stationed in the area felt the suits were flamboyant and unpatriotic.
One night a fight busted out between a group of sailors and some Latinos. One sailor was stabbed and that led to thousands of servicemen swarming across East L.A. starting fights with anyone who even looked tan and wore a zoot suit. The local police and press joined in on the racism, and minorities had pretty much no one in their corner.
Eventually the military stepped in long enough to ban military personnel from entering L.A., though they took no blame for the violence saying it was self-defense. However, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt took the time to label what happened a "race riot," standing up for the minorities in question, possibly whilst sporting her own zoot suit as she was a handsome-enough woman to pull the look off. Very handsome.
Monkey Riot (2007)
Cause: Crazy monkeys
In New Delhi, where monkeys are a touch more revered and tolerated than they would be in most countries, rhesus macaques, numbering over 20,000 in the city, have a history of biting people. They've also been known to break into hospitals to pull out I.V. feeding tubes and drink the liquid themselves (because monkeys are diabolical like that). Somewhat more impressive is that the monkeys have a political agenda and actually killed the deputy mayor of New Delhi
by pushing him off a balcony.
Unlike most riots, this one was fought the old-fashioned way, with more monkeys. Langurs, which are just bigger monkeys, have been brought into the city and strategically placed around important buildings to scare off the nuisance monkeys. Never has a more awesome solution to a problem been devised.