The intellectual myopia of some "open-minded" college students never ceases to amaze me, especially when their closet bigotry is so thinly veiled. Surely Greg Childs could have come up with something better than four paragraphs of obfuscations, falsehoods, specious arguments and baseless, easily refuted speculations (letter to the editor, April 25).

He terms the beating of Rodney King a "run-in" and implies that it was justified given his "drunken rampage." Well, since King was cleared of all charges, this is a red herring. Also, the officer who said King was speeding, Timothy Wind, was fired for falsifying a police report, so it has yet to be established whether a crime was in progress. In addition, the "run-in" euphemism is particularly insulting. A run-in is when two or more parties engage in or start conflict of their own volition. When four renegade cops ambush one unarmed man and strike him 56 times (while at least 12 other cops look on), breaking an ankle and 15 facial bones, and cause permanent physical and psychological damage, that is not a "run-in." That is assault.

My. Childs' apparent rationale for denying King compensation is that King is an ex-con. The fact that he had a record is irrelevant. The department was run by a bigot, and the cops had no idea of his record when they pulled him over, and if they did, so what? Once a person serves a penalty, they are no longer subject to physical punishment at the hands of officers of the state for that crime. We do not live in a Gestapo state, Mr. Childs, and if your studies in criminal justice have left you unclear on this concept, I question the curriculum of your department or your intellectual or humane capacities.

As for Childs' speculation on what kind of earning potential a "drug-abusing, DUI-collecting, uneducated street thug" has, ironically, we can look to the current mayor of Los Angeles, Richard Riordan (three DUIs in the '70s), for one example. This man ran on a "law and order" platform. We can continue down the list: Dennis Hopper, Boy George, Kurt Cobain, Elvis Presley (drugs), baseball's Len Dykstra (a near-fatal DUI for him and a teammate), Sean Penn, Everlast of House of Pain, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, G. Gordon Liddy, and, of course, our recently departed 37th president (assorted thuggery, assault and theft).

Since we're "demanding" that "grown-ups" take responsibility for their "stupidity" and stop blaming "extraneous factors," let's ask Laurence Powell to stop rationalizing his direct violation of LAPD procedure when he hit King over the head. I agree we should stop coddling "overgrown delinquents," especially when they are entrusted with enforcing our laws. Read Next Article