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Rodney King’s Luck Continues

By Brian | November 30, 2007 | Share on Facebook

In a story that received almost no airplay, given what a media sensation this man once was, Rodney King was shot on Wednesday evening on a street corner in San Bernardino, California. The article says he was hit two or three times in the face, arms, back and torso by birdshot fired from a shotgun from a distance, and that his wounds were not life-threatening. It reminds me (and several of the stories commenters) of the time Dick Cheney shot his friend in the face with birdshot during a quail-hunting trip earlier in the year.

What I find most interesting about this is how Rodney King has “fallen from grace” in the eyes of the media. Back in 1991, he was an iconic victim – an African-American man who was savagely beaten by white police officers in Los Angeles, touching off a series of riots in the city that left 55 people dead and caused more than $1 billion in property damage. He received a $3.8 million settlement in the ensuing lawsuit, and would occasionally pop up in the press to reiterate his rather inspiring tag line, “Why can’t we all just get along?”

Since then, though, he’s had many run-ins with the law, including a 2004 jail stint for driving under the influence of PCP (the drug he was high on when he got beaten by the LA cops). After this week’s shooting, police officers found it difficult to get information at his home because his house guests “appeared to be drunk and few cooperated with officers by providing information.”

While no one’s justifying the beating he took, I think perhaps the media has realized that Mr. King has some serious problems, and that while he was a victim, the term “innocent victim” is probably too much of a stretch. I’ll also note that no one has even mentioned the skin color of the person who shot him. I’m not sure what that means exactly, but I think on the whole, it’s probably a positive thing.

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