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Rodney King: Thug


I have no pity for Rodney King and though I won’t go so far to say he “deserved to die,” I am glad that he no longer walks among us on this planet.  Talking about Rodney King is often a prohibited topic that always comes back to one thing: his excessive beating at the hands of the LAPD.  I’m going to get this one out of the way now.  Rodney King did not deserve to be beaten nearly to death by the unethical and completely inappropriate actions of four white police officers.  This was a blain tent example of excessive force?  In my opinion, yes; he had led police on a high-speed pursuit endangering the lives of hundreds and refused to submit to police requests to yield and cooperate.  Now, (without glossing over it) I’m going to move past his actions and talk about his drug use: one addict’s perspective on an-others.

One only has to look at King’s arrest and police records from 1987 to 2011 (there have been multiple incidents since his beating) to get a true picture of who Rodney King was and the “nothingness” he contributed to society.  He beat several of his wives, he robbed a convenience store with a tire iron, he was caught on multiple occasions with illegal drugs, and he committed assault with a deadly weapon (his car) on a separate occasion.  Rodney King was a true degenerate, and I don’t like brining him into the conversation as being “just another addict” that suffered as product of his environment and upbringing.  As addicts, we have done some horrible things in our lives to ourselves and to those around us.  Yet, at some point, those of us that have the courage and commitment to confront our pasts are the ones that make a new life for ourselves and become better men and women.

I’ve been in rehab with some BAD people that have done some BAD things.  Some are on level with some of King’s actions.  Did I foster a reprehensible resentment for them when finding out about these horrible deeds?  Yes, I did.  However, as I saw these people take accountability for their actions and make positive attempts to change their ways they gradually earned my respect.  Many of their changes came with the great help and loyalty of staff and doctors.  The help of others is a necessary part of recovery.  But more important than the hard work they put in with the help of counselors was the pride and responsibility they took in their own lives to face their demons and become new, better, more productive people and contributors to our society.

Rodney King never took responsibility for anything in his life.  He physically hurt others and jeopardized the lives of many other innocent, good people.  When I read his autopsy from his drowning I wasn’t surprised at all when traces of cocaine, marijuana, and PCP were found in his system in addition to his elevated BAC level.  I feel no shame in admitting, not only my lack of shock about the findings but also that I was glad he was gone.  Rodney King never once looked in the mirror and did a self-inventory and said to himself, “I’m a bad man who has many problems including drugs and alcohol,” or at least it never reflected in his actions.  He was a thug and a pest, a true menace to society to the extent that the world is a better place without him in it.  Go ahead and get all riled up and try to debate this point by pointing to his unjust beating.  Getting assaulted by the LAPD doesn’t have any influence on the addict King was (before and after) the beating.

I don’t buy his supposed repentance for the poor choices in his life.  He was raised by an alcoholic father and didn’t have much that amounted to a happy childhood and structured family life.  I know plenty of people who can put a checkmark next to that one, myself included.  Yet, I don’t use that as an excuse for my life and allow it to define myself or justify my poor choices and actions taken while under the influence.  Rodney King’s life is a blotch on the canvas of human decency in the exact same way the actions of the four LAPD officers that beat him stain our society’s model of good, healthy individuals.  I no longer have to hear a blurb on CNN or an article in the LA Times about a new King arrest or wife-beating episode that we brush under the rug as our memories fade back to his unethical beating, martyrdom, and iconic victimization.


Giving Rodney King a pass for all the horrible things he’s done in his life because of the LAPD incident hides the true story that he was an addict that never took responsibility for his life and his choices.  I have no pity for any man or women, addict or not, that never takes accountability for ruining both theirs and others lives.  The world is a better place without you, Rodney King.

By Chase A.

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