The tragedy of Rodney King's life began long before his 1991 beating exposed the disgrace of police brutality. His book "The Riot Within" describes matter of factly, with the same confused gentleness we saw in his "can we all get along" speech, the routine and brutal beatings he suffered as a child at the hands of his abusive alcoholic father. Alas, no one was there to videotape those beatings.
It seems poignant that King died onFather's Day, a holiday likely to have aroused conflicted feelings, including pain and rage. If his life was a catalyst for police reform, let it also motivate us to find innovative and effective ways to prevent child abuse.
In the inevitable retelling of the story of Los Angeles through coming ages, King will be an immortal; his personal story will be enshrined forever in the epic history of the city.