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Remembering 20 Years Ago: A Reflection on Rodney King

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This morning I learned that Rodney King has died, found dead at the bottom of his swimming pool.

Twenty years ago on April 29, 1992, I found myself in the crosshairs of history. Flying in our news helicopter, 60 feet above the intersection of Florence and Normandy, I shot the iconic footage of Reginald Denny being beaten. Over the subsequent days I watched in disbelief as the city I grew up in went up in flames and descended into anarchy. Twenty years later I can still hear the words of Mr. King as he pleaded with the city to end the violence, "Can't we all just get along?"

At this time in our history when the country faces difficult problems and the gap between political parties seems unbridgeable, the basic social contract that we depend on to keep us all safe feels all too fragile. Before the voices of hate and despair drown out the voices of hope and reason, maybe we can take this opportunity to think about those simple words and the legacy of Rodney King: "Can't we all just get along?"