Rodney Glen King died on Sunday. I’ve spent some time thinking about it… it’s a sad story. Truly sad. It’s an American story. We ALL continue to be bound to the horrors of our American heritage. Can we outrun our past? Can we look beyond our skin? Will we ever just get along?
Like A King – Ben Harper
The man lived with the guilt of the LA Riots. He didn’t like the violence and destruction. He lived with each of those 53 deaths. He gets beaten like a dog and ends up the guilty one.
Rodney – Zeke
His family called him Glen but the world knew him as Rodney because that’s how his name was reported after the beating. It was like having an alter-ego that doesn’t fight crime… an alter ego that becomes a punching bag for every bad joke or racist rant about ‘pissing away lawyer money’ or ‘being no good.’ He was a sweet guy, he wasn’t a rocket scientist and fell under the category of ‘people who should stay away from the booze.’ And he showed us what it’s like to be black in America first hand.
Fuckin’ Up (Live) – Pearl Jam
Rodney Glen King kept trying to do better. But he kept fuckin’ up. Each time he’d pop onto the news he seemed just a little closer to where he wanted to be. I saw him interviewed on TV recently and he was followed by a Lindsay Lohan story. You could still see the struggle on his face, hear it in his voice… but he really seemed to be getting there. He just wanted to be a better person. He was just trying to get there. All I saw in the Lohan story was the waste of someone completely unaware. One rising. One falling. In the long run I guess it’s hard to tell who’s doing what at any one time.
Police On My Back – The Clash
After the beatings I can remember hearing people say “he must have done something!” There were a lot of different ways to try and explain away the savage police brutality. But I already knew he was just guilty of being black and breaking the law. By that time I’d already had the shit kicked out of my twice by cops… once for being a smart-ass, once for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And I was just some white kid they were hassling because they were bored. I got bruises, black eyes and bumps… a couple of cracked teeth… another concussion. When I saw the King tape I became violently angry, I could just feel what was going on. And now, city by city, they’re passing laws to keep you from filming these kinds of ‘police encounters.’ Is that what you want?
Why Can’t We All Just Get Along – Uli Lenz Trio
In the end he was just a dude with issues who ended up at the bottom of a swimming pool. I imagine there’s a slight hint of relief for all those people involved with the whole business. The police, lawyers and politicians. The people who used him as a means to an end. For good or bad. Now it’s easy for them to move on or away or where-ever. As long as he could pop up on TV they’d be reminded of those days. Those times. Of the reality of America. But he was actually just some guy trying to make his way… and I feel sad… ‘cause he never got there. He just wanted us to live in peace. But he didn’t have the capabilities to carry it beyond a simple statement. I’m not certain that I do either.
Rest in peace, your sadness is gone.