This is a letter to the readers of the Wildcat regarding the $3.5 million settlement awarded to Mr. Rodney King this week for compensatory damages resulting from his 1992 run-in with the LAPD. I feel the American public should take a close look at the implications of such a decision and make their honest opinions known.

Supporters of Mr. King contend that the amount (soon to be added to with punitive damages) is insufficient, asking instead for $15 million or more. This money is intended to cover Mr. King's medical expenses and provide income to his wife and four children while he is unable to work as a result of his injuries. Ask yourself the following questions, if you will: What kind of "earning potential" does a drug-abusing, DUI-collecting, uneducated street thug really have? $3.5 million and then some? Most college graduates can only dream of such a fortune without the benefit of criminal behavior. Would LA's newest millionaire have commanded such a ransom had he smashed into an innocent family and maybe injured himself in the process during his drunken rampage? I think not. Would a white, middle-class individual under the same circumstance have fared as well? You do the math.

Until we demand that "grown-ups" begin accepting full responsibility for their behavior and stop blaming their stupidity on extraneous factors, taxpayers will continue to pay (to the tune of $3.5 million) for the antics of people with a rap sheet longer than a billy club. I realize that this entire subject is a volatile one, and I feel the whole issue was born of an unfortunate and avoidable occurrence. But before you, as open-minded college students, fall for the great "media lie," think about the message this decision sends and its subsequent impression on the overgrown delinquents in our society.

Greg Childs

Psychology/Criminal Justice Senior Read Next Article