We've had riots in this country before - once right here in Detroit - but I don't believe we've ever had riots that continued so long or riots that spread over such a wide area. So, why is the unrest continuing and spreading across France? Jon Simpson, World Affairs Editor for the BBC, believes the violence is exposing France's weaknesses:
At some level of consciousness, the demonstrators know that the governmental system they are facing is deeply, perhaps incurably, sclerotic.
Mr Chirac, standing back until his ministers showed their inability to agree a clear line on the rioting, seems not to have the answers when he speaks now. His presidency is overshadowed by an inescapable sense of past corruption and weakness, and he has governed France at a time when its economy and its position in the world have both declined sharply and markedly.
The demonstrators reached their zenith of frustration with the government and the end result was rioting.
Could Paris and the disorder pouring out across France happen here? I believe it could. Americans are disillusioned on a number of levels with the government and their intractable unwillingness to listen to our concerns. Poverty levels continue to grow, as do the number of uninsured; the middle-class is dealing with wage stagnation, out sourcing, and pension insecurity; and religious factions are jockeying for control of our culture and government. It all adds up to a lot of discontent on many different levels by many different groups of people. We’re a teapot just waiting to boil over. The question is, can we solve the problems before the lid blows?