Mike Royko's column on Rodney KingI would like to...

the Forum

April 16, 1993

Mike Royko's column on Rodney King

I would like to congratulate Mike Royko on his insightful, intelligent column that appeared in your paper on April 9. Unlike some of the other columnists who appear in your paper, Mike Royko has the courage to point out the truth about the entire Rodney King situation.

Hopefully, the general public realizes that media and public attention is often determined by factors other than a search for the truth.

The senseless murder of a white foreign tourist has little appeal to the media, which instead would rather exacerbate the situation in Los Angeles and the rest of the country than report the truth.

Violent crime is wrong. No one will deny that. When will society and the media be outraged at all violent crime, not just that which has alleged social significance?

Gordon R. Handler

Sykesville

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Mike Royko's commentary of April 9, contrasting the murder of Barbara Meller Jensen and the beating of Rodney King, was a horrifying chronicle of man's inhumanity, including Mr. Royko's own.

It's true that Rodney King was a lawbreaker. He is also a victim of unwarranted violence, which was so vicious it probably would have killed Mrs. Jensen.

Some white policemen, poisoned by a bitterness akin to Mr. Royko's, broke the law themselves by using Mr. King as a whipping boy.

Rioting erupted when a white jury, gripped by a paranoia like Mr. Royko's, bent over backward to acquit the torturers, so as to preserve the latter's ability to use such force in the future.

In truth, policemen are sworn to protect all people, including suspects, from this type of molestation. Moreover, especially with such a precedent, this force could one day be used against any of us, regardless of color -- or guilt.

"There are more Mrs. Jensens . . . than there are Rodney Kings," Mr. Royko declared, as if even one injustice should be overlooked. Besides, only the men in blue know how many Rodney Kings are being abused in the shadows, out of range of the video cameras.

But Mr. Royko went further. "Would those black thugs [who killed Mrs. Jensen] have rammed a car driven by Rodney King?" he sneered, seeking thereby to stir white outrage. That act is no less despicable than a rapper's attempt to stoke black rage.

What neither side seems to understand is that hatred eventually boomerangs. According to recent estimates, black-on-black violence surpasses black-on-white.

The question Mr. Royko would do well to ask himself is whether he would have felt such indignation if Mrs. Jensen had been black, or a lesbian, or even someone with a criminal record. Believe it or not, every human being equally deserves to live in peace.

Bill Kamberger Jr.

Baltimore

Marian Anderson

Despite the many honors bestowed on the late Marian Anderson, when she was asked what she considered to be the greatest moment in her life, this was her poignant response:

"The happiest day in my life was when I told my mother she didn't need to work any more."

Miss Anderson's greatness applied not only to her voice but to her character as well.

eraldine Segal

Randallstown

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During the "early years," we African-Americans had very few heroes or heroines. One of our heroes during that time was Joe Louis, and our heroine was Marian Anderson.

Joe Louis' exploits served as an outlet for the anger and frustration caused by racism. Marian Anderson's voice acted as a poultice to make the hurts easier to bear.

Louis and Anderson traveled different paths in their search for equality. Louis' was through his strength, Anderson's through her courage. Both are needed in the struggle for equality.

There are those who believe that racism can only be overcome through strength. Perhaps this is true. However, I believe that complete victory can be achieved only by those who have the courage to stand when they are armed with nothing more than the unwavering belief that their cause is just.

America is truly the land of the free and an individual's ability and determination are the only assets that limit his or her rise to any height. Marian Anderson was such a person.

America has less racism because Marian Anderson lived here. She will be sorely missed.

George C. Molloy

Baltimore

Pet care

While Jacques Kelly presumably intended a character profile in his column of March 29 ("A day on the job with the dog catcher"), he presents a convincing case for the non-negotiable position of animal companions.

From callousness or ignorance, there seems little hesitation on the part of care-givers to decree for the canine or feline misfit an essentially non-commutable death sentence. Money is not a deterrent, age is not a deterrent, injury is not a deterrent.

The dictates of health, education and welfare -- those principles for which we prevent abuse and provide for rehabilitation -- are true regardless of species. Being a responsible pet owner means making informed choices about training, nutrition, veterinary care and breed characteristics, not unilateral decisions.

elen M. Blakey

Baltimore

An echoed question unheard

Fifty years ago, while being held in Auschwitz as undesirables to the German Reich, in our barracks after a day of heavy slave labor we were sitting and asking ourselves: How is this possible for the world to sit idle, for the world knew well of the atrocities and murder of millions of innocent people?

Sure, there was no television and instant communication then, but what about now? Isn't there enough evidence to see the massacre of innocent people? And what is the world doing, except passing resolutions and debating at the U.N. while the carnage goes on in Yugoslavia?

The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand in 1914 in Sarajevo jTC brought the world to a disaster, but today's victims are not of noble ancestry, just people who want to live in peace while the world is watching from a distance as it did during the Nazi atrocities.

oseph Kryszpel

Baltimore

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