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At what point can you say “they should have known better?”

Before the Seattle riots, I was praying for the Lord to withhold the judgment appointed on Seattle. He said “on what principle are you asking?” I said “I know people there who seem like good people. They may just not know the truth because they don’t know where to find it. For example, I can think of two men that don’t necessarily believe in you, but I can guarantee that they’ve never had someone minister to them with the capability of explaining it according to their understanding.” He said, “ok, but how far can things deviate from normal before they are left without excuse?” 

Since then, random people set up a lawless zone, riots raged, and the government has not enforced law and order. Now this:

Between now and then I asked one associate how things were and he said “oh it’s not a big deal. The media is overhyping things.” 

I’m sure people in Portland would say the same. 

How far can things deviate from normal in a city or town before people are left without excuse if they choose to stay?