Our Daily Dread: If I’m late for Wednesday’s Lakers victory celebration at the Coliseum …

Don’t bother saving a seat. I doubt I’ll be coming that way.

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Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press
Two men throw a trash can at a Los Angeles Metro Rail after the Lakers defeated the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the Finals on Sunday night.

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If I’m anywhere near downtown L.A., I’d rather be here, helping Richard Torres, owner of The Holy Grail shoe store on Pico and Flower, just southwest of Staples Center, put his business back together.

He had the great luck of having his store looted Sunday night during the celebration after the Lakers wrapped up the NBA title in Orlando. (Photo by Nick Ut/The Associated Press).

Someone decided it was time for everyone to have access to free shoes. The mob followed.

The rest is unfathomable.

Torres told the Associated Press that about $140,000 worth of vintage shoes and apparel were stolen, as well as computers. He also noted that much of it was then burned.

“It would be different if we got burglarized, but they were literally lighting stuff on fire,” said Torres. “For this to happen, it leaves a sour taste.”

If you go over to Torres’ website (linked here), a window will pop up now that says: “Due to rioting, we are temporarily unable to process orders. Thank you for your understanding.”

No, thank you for not giving up and just closing your store for good.

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Wednesday, I might be also be calling the South Park police and fire departments, who we pay to help protect us and are already stretched to every extreme, and ask if there was anything I could do to help clean up all the burned-out messes around town, like this ignited newspaper rack that some provided the perfect lighting for a cell-phone photo.

We already know how many of you already have no need for newspapers. Why add to the embarassment of taking out another distribution rack? It’s only how someone makes their daily income.

Hey, save that cell-phone shot. It’s another great piece of evidence to use in convicting the wrong-doers. (Photo by Philip Scott Andrews/The Associated Press).

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Surely, some of the Lakers players and front-office types who came home Monday will see scenes like this LAPD car getting its windshield bashed in by more revelers, or a L.A. Metro Bus at the Chick Hearn station have a trash can thrown at it doors, while other riders were on board. How much more frightening can that be?

This isn’t just what we’re to expect as the collateral damage of what happens these days when a pro team wins a championship. This is getting to be a far too common occurrence, one that we ridicule animals in other cities for doing because it’s so preposterous, no one here would consider ruining the neighborhood business or public transportation that are vital life support services. (Photo by Philip Scott Andrews/The Associated Press).

Police Chief William Bratton said many known gang members were in the crowd sparking all this, people he referred to as “knuckleheads” and “cowards” who “seem to really relish their opportunity in the dark.”

Knuckleheads used to be almost an endearing term for someone who did something stupid but can kind of be forgiven for it.

Bratton was way too kind here.

These are barely people. They lack in so many ways, incarceration isn’t the answer them once they’re apprehended. Far from it. Make them clean up the mess, and then some.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Or the hammering over the head by the league.

Maybe they didn’t get the memo. Or they ignored their TV sets right after the game ended.

Moments after the final buzzer on the ABC there was the league-sponsored spot with Laker highlights that included this message:

“We’ve been working hard all year to bring another championship to Los Angeles,” starts Kobe Bryant. … “So when we win, please celebrate with dignity.”

“This is your moment to shine,” Phil Jackson adds.

“And show the world we do things the right way in Los Angeles,” concludes Derek Fisher. “Be safe.”

A moment to shine has become a video clip beamed to every other local news program to show how a small minority of Angelinos haven’t figured out yet how to react to a sports championship.

It’s like a touchdown celebration, people. Simply hand the ball to the referee and go to the sidelines. Act like we’ve done this before.

No overanalyzing what causes these barbaric acts by pent-up citizens who feel entitled to destroy things that don’t belong to them in the name of revelry. It cuts deeper into a cross section of cultural and social justice problems that plague most major cities divided by haves and have-nots, especially those hit hardest by the economy and are wrought with poverty.

Funny, but the long, wrong stereotype of the L.A. fan is one who’s apathetic. Now, mix in these images of those who take civil disobedience and adolescent behavior to a new low.

Neither depiction is very flattering. But at least the former leaves a lot less to clean up and be sad about than the later.

If L.A. mayor Antonio Villaraigosa really wanted to make a statement, he’d call off Wednesday’s parade entirely. Sure, those who did nothing wrong would be punished just as harshly as those who did. But if we’re all supposed to be on the same team, isn’t that what any reasonable coach would do to get his point across?

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Jae C. Hong/The Associated Press
Two men attempt to break an information stand in downtown L.A. after the Lakers’ victory Sunday night.

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  • minx

    One of your best columns ever, Mr. Hoffarth. Right on.

  • circlejerk

    Where is the Mayor with all this happening ?? Oh, he is too busy banging a beat up looking reporter from Channel 5 (who is taller than Little Tony).

    And the Police Chief’s comments about these “knuckleheads & cowards doing their crimes in the dark” really makes me feel good.

    Hoffarth has the right angle on this. Why would anyone put themselves in the line of fire by attending the parade?