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Monday, June 18, 2012

Rodney King: The dark Forrest Gump

The ample list of his mis-deeds circulating on the internet notwithstanding, some people make history (for good or for bad), while others have the fortune or misfortune to have history act upon them. The subject of this thread clearly fell into the latter category.

Rodney King was an already deeply flawed (who among us isn't?) man before his brush with history thrust him into the spotlight.

Taken individually, his misdeeds and crimes were, by current standards, rather mundane. And even when strung together as they have been in the past 24 hours, they show him to have been little more than a petty criminal and perpetual scofflaw... neither monster nor martyr.

If there is to be a legacy for this man... I'd have to say that Rodney King was a Forrest Gump-type character; a catalyst for things - good and bad - that went far beyond anything to do with him or his own personal conduct.

Criminals murdered, looted and rampaged... ostensibly in his name. And police departments across the country were forced to adopt new levels of accountability... also ostensibly in his name.

But Rodney King didn't deserve the blame or the credit for either.

Those who lost loved ones or property in some of the U.S.'s worst riots can't blame him, and those who have been handled more humanely by members of the Law Enforcement Community subsequent to those events, don't owe him their thanks.

Rodney King was the dark version of Forrest Gump; having had the misfortune to find himself at the crossroads of terrible events far beyond any petty evil he could have conjured on his own.

Rodney King didn't make history. History acted upon him.

Note:  I have not used the word 'dark' here in reference to the color of his skin. I hoped that would have been clear, but...

Posted by David Bogner on June 18, 2012 | Permalink

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This is probably the most sensible thing I've read online since Rodney King's passing. Good job.

Oh, and I get to be the first commenter this time!

Posted by: Amanda | Jun 18, 2012 2:47:13 PM

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