Rodney King died before he turned 50. His beating, painful as it was, followed by the acquittal and subsequent riots, promoted awareness of racial inequities in our country. Too bad we need chaos to promote learning, not only about ourselves, but the national ethos we support.
Would have liked to see him beat the demons and survive. The great experiment in which America has been engaged suffered a setback when Mr. King became ten-minutes-famous, but it advanced as people who never thought about the problems realized how deep and pervasive they were and are.