Jun 182012
Rodney King

“Rodney King”  – Art by BZTAT

Some people are catapulted to fame through creative or entertaining actions. Others become household names through heroic and brave deeds in the face of danger. Still others become known through athletic prowess or amazing accomplishments.

And then there is Rodney King.

He became known not for something great that HE did, but for something awful that happened to him.

By all accounts, including his own, Rodney King was something of a screw-up. Battling addiction his entire life, he was prone to mishaps at every turn.

How did someone seemingly lacking in the typical qualities of heroism become such a pivotal figure in the American civil rights movement?

I believe that the answer lies in his human frailty – something that we often overlook as an important element of the human experience.

Rodney King reminded us that we all are susceptible to our human demons – and susceptible to the demons of others who use our  frailty to enhance their own overvalued sense of power.

Despite his frailty, Rodney King was able to demonstrate the most civil and responsible behavior in the face of society’s over reaction to what was done to him.

“Can we all get along?”

He later issued genuine forgiveness to those who had harmed him and he simply encouraged everyone else to do the same.

We were all amazed how he survived back in 1991. Now, 21 years later, we are saddened at his passing at age 47.

You were an unlikely hero, Rodney King.

But a hero, nonetheless.


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  1. I like your artwork of a human being, for a change. And your words are true and poignant…I don’t think you really meant ‘Unlikey’ though…

  2. It makes me sad to know that Rodney King passed away. Yes, he was all too human in his addiction and his brushes with the law, but his ability to be a voice of reason in a time of insanity is certainly something worth remembering.

    • That was an insane time, Vicki. When we were younger, we hoped it would get better. Who would have thought that we would have encountered the insanity of today?

      RIP – Rodney. You have earned some peace.

  3. His life experience represented that of many, many others; it was hard to miss the fact that, but for the grace of god or other, many of us could have been him. He showed his true self in a time of crisis, what they say is the real test of your own values, and turned out to be compassionate and understanding. With his settlement money, he bought his own house, and a house for his mother, and he helped a lot of other people in need.

    • He was an imperfect person, and certainly one who made some bad choices in his life. But as you say, Bernadette, he could have inflamed the anger, but instead, he chose to diffuse it. I think that is something worthy of redemption.

  4. The comments so far have summed up my thoughts regarding Rodney King and thanks BZAT for sharing this. I thought I was the only one who understood him……..

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