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Sunday, April 29, 2012

"Can We All Just Get Along?"

It's hard to imagine, but it has been twenty years since the Los Angeles riots.  On April 29, 1992, a jury acquitted four officers in the beating of Rodney King.  In the six days that followed, 54 people died, more than 2,000 were injured, and 1,100 buildings were destroyed. 

I remember seeing footage of the King beating.  I also remember seeing footage of Reginald Denny getting beaten on the first day of the riots.  As a teenager without cable television in the house, I didn't realize at the time how the riots essentially shut down the entire L.A. area.  Flights were cancelled at LAX.  Mail delivery ceased.  U.S. Marines were brought into the city to restore order.

Sadly, in twenty years, not much has changed.  Police officers around the country continue to assault minority suspects.  Law enforcement organizations proudly tout their success in racially targeting one group over another.  Bigotry and racism are not only the seen in discussions of today's political issues, they're widely encouraged by modern pundits.  As a society, we're more divided than we have ever my lifetime, at least.

Two decades later I have to wonder, "Can we all just get along"?