SENTINEL 6-21-2012
HomeAlbumArticleFirpo FilesPeople!Proof of JesusPsych Series

Recognizing Rodney

The shock felt around the world

The Firpo Files

(Sentinel, June 21, 2012)

The sudden death of Rodney G. King on June 17, 2012, was a shock more paralyzing than the 50,000 volts from the Taser gun that Los Angeles Police Department Sgt. Stacey Koon used in 1991 against a helpless, bloodied King as he writhed in excruciating pain on an L.A. pavement.

Rodney's shock eventually stopped. Our emotional shock lingers on, festering as it does.

When I dedicated a three-part series to Rodney in the weeks before his death (Part 1: "Rodney King & the Riot Within," May 10, 2012; Part 2: "Rodney's Race," May 24, 2012; Part 3: "Rodney vs. Rodney," June 7, 2012), I had no idea that it would precede his obituary. My last weekly article ran until four days before his death.

When King and I first met at Eso Won Books we immediately connected. I was humbled by the fact that, given our similar backgrounds, he looked to me as an older brother ten years his senior for advice.

He excitedly accepted as a gift my book, Germany's Black Holocaust: 1890-1945 (as did Michael Jackson and President Bill Clinton) by simply saying "Wow! I can't wait to read it!"

In the case of Rodney's checkered history, am I making excuses for him, in effect calling ‘good bad and bad good'? (Isaiah 5:20) Absolutely not. Granted, Rodney was troubled, but that's a far cry from being wicked.

Rosa, Rodney, & Civil Rights: What Rosa Parks did for civil rights Rodney King did for human rights. Quite appropriately, Rodney inserted a full-page color photograph of the two of them smiling warmly as they embrace.

The following statement from Dr. Anthony Samad and the Urban Issues Forum (where Rodney made his last public appearance in Los Angeles on May 25, 2012) reads: "In the aftermath of the 1992 ‘Rodney King' Riots, LAPD management and oversight changed in Los Angeles forever.

"However, the ripples in the pond caused by his experience changed police accountability measures in nearly every police department in every city in the nation.

"Rodney King was pushed into the American history books, not by his own choosing but, because GOD chose this time to reveal injustice through him.

"The community gave him a standing ovation for his sacrifice, his courage to persevere and his willingness to share his insights on being at the center of [the] storm, in what became the most costly civil disturbance in the history of America. 

"The Rodney King event confirmed the abuse we all knew existed with the same [ferocity] we all knew was being denied. His justice was OUR justice because his experience with police abuse and misconduct had been our experience."

"GOD has cemented his contribution to society into the annuals of time. The world will forever know the name of RODNEY KING."

A glib Dr. Michael Eric Dyson told CNN: "You ain't got to be highly educated and deeply connected to a bourgeois black infrastructure," the Georgetown professor said of Rodney King's well-known plea ("Can we all get along?"), "to make a statement that articulates and summarizes the hopes, aspirations, dreams and determination of a people."

Along with a slate of other notable authors Rodney King was scheduled to speak and sign his new book, The Riot Within (2012) at the upcoming 6th-annual Leimert Park Village Book Fair on Saturday, June 30, 2012. Dr. Earl Ofari Hutchinson was to interview him.

Please recognize Rodney by attending the book fair.

"Right" in Black & White: Rodney's accomplice was George Holiday, a White man. Before the days of YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, George Holliday's video was the first in history to go viral. That was the game-changer. Kudos to King. Celebrate Holliday.  

Rodney Races Ahead: Rodney believed that Jehovah can make something "good" come from something "bad." God can make our foibles work out his will. Look at Joseph's brothers.

They wickedly sold him into Egyptian slavery and told their father he was dead, but in the end things turned out well for everyone involved.  

"As for you," Joseph told his brothers, "you had evil in mind against me [but] God had it in mind for good for the purpose of acting as at this day to preserve many people alive."--Genesis 50:15-21, New World Translation.

Rodney--in his brazen, unbridled defiance of the law--raced ahead of us, absorbing the shocks he received, and transmitted them to the world; enlightening everyone as to the brutality White cops regularly perpetrate against African American males.

Rest well Rodney. We recognize.