Sunday, June 17, 2012

Can we all get along? Violence – It is what it is

The main foundations of every state, new states as well as ancient or composite ones, are good laws and good arms; you cannot have good laws without good arms, and where there are good arms, good laws inevitably follow. - Niccolo Machiavelli

Rialto – This is one of the largest rail freight yards in the world, strung out along the path of I-10 in San Bernardino County near the nexus of I-15 to Barstow and the remains of old Route 66. It is the penultimate aspect of the American expression of wheel and axle, rail and road.

Strings of box cars, thousands of freight containers, and miles of piggy back cars laden with freight trailers nestle between the desert and the mountains amid mobile cranes and miles-long freeway traffic jams that last for hours.

Here, the alcoholic symbol of a decade-long spell of racial tension - a slowly brewing war of nerves between whites and blacks, police and courts, cops and robbers, and enterprising Asians and ghetto dwellers - died at the bottom of the family swimming pool at home, alone, of unknown causes. Officials await a autopsy to learn why he sank to the bottom of that desert symbol of prosperity so peculiar to the arid reaches of the Los Angeles basin - the swimming pool - and died.

Rodney King was only 25 in March, 1991, when he led Los Angeles police on a merry hundred mile-per-hour chase down a freeway, into a quiet, darkened street, and into the annals of history when he stepped out of his car and took one of the worst beatings ever recorded live on video.

A resident stood on his porch and recorded their excessive reactions while four out of the 15 officers who converged there dealt out more than 50 blows with their batons, repeatedly kicking and stomping Mr. King in an arpeggio and paradiddle of authoritarian overkill while the whole world was watching a video segment that last some 9 minutes.

In the edgy days to come, he wasn't the only one who took such a gang beating.

An innocent bystander to history, the unwitting truck driver Reginald Denny came wheeling around a corner of Firestone Boulevard a few miles away from the site of the Rodney King beating following the acquittal of two of the LA cops who beat Mr. King and the mistrial of the other two.

He was driving a double bottom dump rig, running empty for another load of rock, when enraged black residents who had begun to riot following the news jerked him from the cab of his truck, brained him with the fire extinguisher DOT regulations require to be carried in a semi, and set off riots nationwide, looting and burning while the cops, overwhelmed, retreated and waited for more peaceful times in which to react.

City officials had previously budgeted overtime and scheduled double shifts of officers to help contain the anticipated violence – to no avail. The police waited in their station houses while the looting and fires, beatings and gang attacks raged outside.

The resulting polarization of the entire nation inspired at least one Academy Award-winning motion picture, “Unforgiven,” in which producer and director Clint Eastwood starred as William Munny, a mercenary hit man hired by the prostitutes of Big Whiskey, Wyoming, to kill two cowboys off the Bar-T who slashed the face of one of their sisters from the local brothel.

In the end, William Munny winds up killing “Little Bill,” the local sheriff, who has outlawed all firearms in the town of Big Whiskey, and stomped the hired gun, kicking him into the street because he caught him carrying a firearm in Greeley's Saloon.

Mr. Eastwood told the public he had owned the screenplay option for the ultra-violent story for some time, but never considered committing it to principal photography because it was too far beyond the sensibilities of the viewing public, what with the reprehensible behavior of police in the plot of the story.

The Reginal Denny and Rodney King beatings changed all that, maybe forever.

Can we all get along? Probably, we can, but you would be surprised how politely people behave toward one another when they know they are all equally armed and ready to defend themselves.

Princes and governments are far more dangerous than other elements within society.
 - Macchiavelli

1 comment:

  1. I still don't understand how such hate comes from people against another human based on their skin color, religion or sexuality..sad business