I can recall that it was during my time in high school when the incident involving Rodney King incensed the social setting of the nation. The underlying racial discomfort and disparities between Blacks and Whites throughout The United States was brought to a heated point. A greater focus was placed upon how police throughout the nation had and continue to have distinct differences in their methods of dealing with citizens and suspects of different ethnic origins. The arrest and treatment of Rodney King by Los Angeles Police placed an immediate spotlight on the frequency of these methods by police within that California metropolis, as well as within cities across the country.
The arrest and the abuse of Rodney King by L.A.P.D. officers seemed to put a spotlight on how members of communities that are not wealth-based are viewed and handled by public officials. It gave greater light to how African-American males in specific were found to face consistently negative opinions and treatments by police, and by legal officials that have control of how public settings are managed. King’s arrest, followed by his filmed mistreatment by police officers brought light to a seemingly ongoing practice of public officials interacting with minorities on a level that was less than equivalent to how citizens of the ethnic majority were treated. The subsequent 1992 riots of Los Angeles because of King’s abuse by L.A.P.D. reignited a worldwide focus on the continued racial disparities that exist solidly within The United States.
Rodney King himself may have gained the distinction of something similar to an anti-hero after all that occurred, surrounding his abuse by Los Angeles Police. As the subsequent Los Angeles riots aroused public attention to how law officials handled minority citizens in manners less than equivalent to the methods used with majority citizens, King himself was the prime focus because of his attack by L.A.P.D. having been videotaped. This was used as a focal point for protests by activists against racial disparity. All of the attention placed on his assault, followed by the worldwide sight that was given to Los Angeles, as well as the continued issue of racial inequality throughout The United States, placed global focus on how racism and social disparities continue to exist despite many efforts made to equalize these settings.
One would think that Rodney King, being at the center of this particular social scene, would have made it into a life where he reached some levels of safety and protection from future harm. Indeed, King may have actually gotten to some points of such security. Yet, all of those things were not enough to protect him from his greatest enemy, which seemed to be himself.
The fact that Rodney King was found dead at the bottom of a pool was disturbing in itself. Had he no one whom maintained continuous sight of him, protecting him from possible situations of harm? Furthermore, the manner in which he died, drowning due to an overdose of alcohol and marijuana abuse, indicates that he was unable to escape the depleted setting that seemed to engulf his life initially. Mr. King was unable to learn from the errors of his earlier life, and/or he was forced into a return of lesser living because the traps of such a lifestyle were more powerful than anything offered as methods of improvement and escape into better, higher living.
Rodney King was 47 years old, and he was engaged for the third time in his life. It was his fiancee, Cynthia Kelly, who called 9-1-1 at 5:25 a.m. to report him being at the bottom of his pool. Paramedics and police got to his house, but they were unable to revive him. King’s body was taken to Arrowhead Regional Medical Center, where doctors pronounced him dead at 6:11 a.m., June 17, 2012.
Perhaps a way to look at this is that individuals living in situations where their lives are unstable due to past problems should continue to be reviewed, monitored, by people whom have the capacities to provide stability to them. It could be said that Rodney King was in no position to go onto live a lavish and seemingly unchecked lifestyle, laden with some levels of celebrity. It is not the manner of life to which he was accustomed during the majority of his time alive. He seemed not to know how to deal with it, likely leading him into lesser forms of living, to which he was accustomed and comfortable.
I have to hope that the story of Rodney King will be filtered into society, especially spread to youth, and anyone on the verge of immediate success after coming from settings drastically opposite to luxury. It is a classic example of how going from nothing to something can be overwhelming, and indeed deadly. Be it over twenty years, twenty months, or twenty minutes, I would have to say that sudden shifts of social placement can be dangerous without an understanding of the need for change on several personal levels, and without a capacity to recognize that some things need to be left behind for a true intent to move into a more stable and more secure setting of life.
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