Rodney King passed away today. Most of us who saw that horrific video believe that he got a 21 year rain check from the Grim Reaper. He should have died that night. In a way it is only fitting that the man who begged for us to get along has died. Because, in America, any hope of us getting along has pretty much died as well.
Black and white Americans are actually getting along less now. It’s as if the beating caught on tape, and the riots that subsequently followed, divided the country even more. (Of course O.J. didn't help)
Before his ass whopping, thanks to Los Angeles’s most notorious street gang at the time, most Americans didn’t know that this was how big city police departments handled their crime problems. (Thank you George Holliday) This was before camera phones and You Tube exploded on the scene. Even now, with so many eyes watching, the po po will still administer their own brand of justice before a Judge or jury has a chance to.
Still, some Americans saw the tape and thought that he (King) got what he deserved. -The folks who sat on the first jury clearly did. - Those same Americans are angrier now than they ever were before. They see America as going to the lawless, and, to them, more not less Rodney King style ass whippings are needed. "Let them burn their cities, they are already going to hell in a hand basket. They can't be any worse than they are now" .
It's a shame to see King die so young. He seemed to have been getting his life together and had recently written a book which I promised myself that I would read one day. It's funny, but when folks in the hood struggle from addiction it is totally different from folks in suburbia. There are no fancy treatment centers or 24/7 hot- lines for them. Police officers won't call your parents and tell them to come and get you because you are acting funny. In the hood they will shoot you first and ask questions later. Or, if you are driving a Hyundai at a high rate of speed, they will track you down and beat you like a dog.
It's ironic that Rodney King died in his own swimming pool some 21 years after getting a violent beat down that should have killed him before our eyes. It's still too early to tell what caused King's death, but I think that we all know what caused the death of the peace and harmony that he hoped for.