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David Horowitz - Columnist

David Horowitz is a noted author, commentator and columnist. His is the founder of the Center for the Study of Popular Culture and his opinions can be found at Front Page Magazine. [go to Horowitz index]


Rodney King: Once a Bum, Always a Bum
[David Horowitz] 09/09/03

If you’re not a news junkie you probably didn’t notice that Rodney King was arrested again. He was speeding at 100 miles an hour, high on PCP, when he ran a red light in Rialto, California on August 27. It is just a matter of luck that King hasn’t killed someone yet. This was his fifth arrest since a kangaroo court awarded him $3.8 million some years ago because the LAPD had “violated his civil rights.” Or perhaps it was because the court was afraid that rejecting King’s claim would spark another riot that would kill 58 people and cost the city $16 billion in destroyed homes and stores.

One of King’s post-riot arrests was for beating his wife, just in case you thought he was a nice guy harassed by police simply because he was black.

Apparently, in addition to going to jail again, Rodney King is now broke. Which is one of the reasons you haven’t heard much about his latest bust. Because the post-riot life of Rodney King gives the lie to virtually every liberal nostrum for improving society, eradicating poverty and making us all equal.

How can you go broke on $3.8 million? Let’s say, for the sake of this example, King had to pay his lawyers a million dollars in legal fees. If he had put the remaining money in the bank in a long-term savings account it would have netted him a six-figure income for the rest of his life -- without requiring a stitch of work to get it. But if you give money to a self-destructive lout like Rodney King, all you are going to get for your money is trouble.

Poverty, as a friend mine has said, is different from being broke. Being broke is when you’re out of pocket. Being poor is a dispiriting and disabling state of mind. Giving money to dysfunctional people is not a way to make them rich or even comfortable. It’s a way of enabling them to pursue their self-destructive behaviors at an even higher velocity.

If Rodney King had obeyed the orders clearly given and had laid down in a “prone position” on the night of his famous encounter with Los Angeles police, 58 people would be alive today, $16 billion would be circulating in the economy and four dedicated LAPD officers who were working to the book that night would not have been forced to endure two trials (the first had acquitted them) and had their careers destroyed to appease the liberal conscience.

But liberals had to make their point. They had to roll out the racial melodrama, insisting that every time a black man is arrested – even one fleeing and refusing to be cuffed -- a hate crime is committed by the police themselves. Liberals had to wring millions of dollars out of Los Angeles taxpayers to pay reparations to a man whom everyone knew then and knows now is just a pathetic bum.

Will Rodney King’s fifth arrest teach anyone anything? Hardly. First, because no one wants to even talk about it. But second, nothing will be learned for the same reason that liberals reading this column will consider it mean-spirited and lacking compassion. Of course the same liberals have already forgotten the 58 people who are dead because of Rodney King and the criminals he and his supporters inspired – (I am thinking of the late unlamented murderer Damian “Football” Williams). Nobody cares about the innocent victims of the protesters for social justice – the 2000 Koreans who lost their businesses to “black rage;” the four cops who lost their careers because they beat a reckless criminal who was resisting arrest and refused to go prone.

And so is the inspirer of it all, Rodney King, forgotten too. But he is forgotten because remembering him would tell a liberal culture more than it wants to hear.

This opinion piece first appeared at



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