Tuesday’s Column (Michael Jackson)

Call me old-fashioned, but I don’t get the whole Michael Jackson adoration thing.

Perhaps the hundreds of thousands of people heading downtown this morning really want to take part in something that has nothing to do with the still-dead King of Pop.

If they are not going to Staples to remember Jackson, they are there to be part of something bigger than life.

It’s not clear.

But why waste an entire day stuck in traffic? Why get pushed around

by cops? Why fight sweaty dudes in wife-beaters in what is sure to be a mosh pit outside of Staples Center?

Let’s get something straight. Regardless of how much joy Jackson’s music may have brought to the masses, he was a sicko.

If there’s any proof it probably lies in the multimillion-dollar settlements Jackson reached with purported

victims. One of those claimed the singer molested him at age 7 and again at age 10.

That kid’s mother was Jackson’s maid. Jackson reportedly reached a $2.4 million settlement with the


In 1993, Jackson paid $20 million to a 13-year-old who claimed the pop star sexually abused him.

The boy’s mother explained later how Jackson begged her to let him sleep with the boy, according to court documents and testimony at trial.

The star and the mom argued about it, but ultimately the boy’s mom gave in and allowed her teen to spend nights in Jackson’s bed.

After the mom relented, Jackson bought her a Cartier bracelet. Clearly, this was a man who thought he could hurt whomever he wanted and do what he wanted because he had the means to buy his way out of trouble.

The boy may have been molested over a six-month period of time after that.

In 2003, police arrested Jackson and charged him with sex crimes against a 13-year-old boy who had cancer.

At his trial in 2005, prosecutors detailed how Jackson showed porn to young boys on the grounds of his Neverland Ranch. They spelled out how he gave the kids wine, which he called “Jesus Juice.”

The state documented how Jackson preyed on the teen cancer survivor and the boy’s family – for his own self-gratification.

The victim, a resident of El Monte, told a jury how Jackson groped and fondled him.

A member of the jury that

ultimately acquitted Jackson said

later he thought Jackson was a child molester. Another said Jackson should stop sleeping with kids.

If Jackson were any other 46-year-

old man in that situation, he’d

probably still be in prison fending off predators who take no mercy on


Certainly, he’d be listed on the Megan’s Law Web site once he got out of the joint.

I guarantee if he was the creepy guy living down the street from any one of us, we’d be repulsed and sickened by his behavior.

If anything, Wacko Jacko’s life story should be a cautionary tale about the price of fame and the parents who subject their kids to foul and unspeakable acts.

It’s a story about the danger of prescription drug abuse and the

doctors who are nothing more than educated street corner pushers.

It’s an epic filled with details of bad decision-making by a whole host of people – including those making a pilgrimage Downtown on this summer day.

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A note from a soldier on the death of Michael Jackson

This was passed on to me this morning from reader Ruben Quezada. He points out it came from a soldier named Issac who is serving in Iraq:

I was just watching the news, and I caught part of a report on Michael Jackson . As we all know, Jackson died the other day. He was an entertainer who performed for decades. He made millions, he spent millions, and he did a lot of things that make him a villain to many people. I understand that his death would affect a lot of people, and I respect those people who mourn his death, but that isn’t the point of my rant.

Why is it that when ONE man dies, the whole of America loses their minds with grief. When a man dies whose only contribution to the country was to ENTERTAIN people, the American people find the need to flock to a memorial in Hollywood , and even Congress sees the need to hold a “moment of silence” for his passing?

Am I missing something here? ONE man dies, and all of a sudden he’s a freaking martyr because he entertained us for a few decades?

What about all those SOLDIERS who have died to give us freedom? All those Soldiers who, knowing that they would be asked to fight in a war, still raised their hands and swore to defend the Constitution and the United States of America . 

Where is there moment of silence? Where are the people flocking to their graves or memorials and mourning over them because they made the ultimate sacrifice? Why is it when a Soldier dies, there are more people saying “good ridence,” and “Thank God for IEDs?”

When did this country become so calloused to the sacrifice of GOOD MEN and WOMEN, that they can arbitrarily blow off their deaths, and instead, throw themselves into mourning for a “Pop Icon?”

I think that if they are going to hold a moment of silence IN CONGRESS for Michael Jackson, they need to hold a moment of silence for every service member killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.
They need to PUBLICLY recognize every life that has been lost so that the American people can live their callous little lives in the luxury and freedom that WE, those that are living and those that have gone on, have provided for them.

But, wait, that would take too much time, because there have been so many willing to make that sacrifice. After all, we will never make millions of dollars. We will never star in movies, or write hit songs that the world will listen too. We only shed our blood, sweat and tears so that people can enjoy what they have.

Sorry if I have offended, but I needed to say it. Feel free to pass this along if you want.

Remember these five words the next time you think of someone who is serving in the military; “So that others may live…”

                – Isaac           

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Reporter Robert Hong blogs from Michael Jackson tribute at Staples Center

NOTE: I’ll Update this as Robert sends posts from the scene. He’ll be writing a first person story for tomorrow’s newspaper: (I’ve haven’t edited these, so the dispatches are as I get them)

4:30 a.m. Legions of police are waiting patiently outside the Staples
center right now basking in the calm before the deafening storm that
is sure to come. Not much for them to do yet, save checking in the
hoards of media that had the gall to get up this early in the

A few brave souls sit draped in blankets along Olympic, hiding in the
shadows from the glaring streetlights. Those who chose to camp
outside the Staples center say they have had a noisy night.
A taxi just passed by blaring “Beat it”.

5:27 a.m. There seems to be a deep excitement building up here as
more people arrive. Many have joined me in the “Pantry” 24-hour diner
just a block away from the stadium, hoping to catch the only meal
they will likely eat until evening. Newscasters from Texas are
chattering feverishly at a table across from me. They are upset at
having not slept on the drive over here. I know the feeling. But we
cant hide in this diner much longer, have to go outside and face the

 7 a.m. T-minus 3 hours.
The sleepy streets have turned to crowds, and a mass of humanity is
posted at the corner of Figueroa and Olympic, waiting patiently for
their chance to slip into the folds of history. Some are waving
banners and signs saluting the King of Pop.

A t-shirt salesman who tells me his name is “Tito” said he expects a
fast turnover of profit today. He has been walking the streets since
3 a.m., but the early crowd were not feeling too generous. Things
have just begun to pick up, he said.

Cars are still cruising up and down Figueroa, blaring every
masterpiece that the King had a chance to touch. The last one I heard
was Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” featuring background vocals
by Jackson.

What a strange, cryptic message to play in the shadow of all these
media outlets.

So far, everyone seems happy, but it’s still early. Maybe the
constant glare of these titan-sized screens showing concert footage
of Michael Jackson is keeping them sane, for the time being…..

8:50 a.m. Less than two hours to go 
Michael Jackson Fever has swept over the Staples Center, as word is spreading that they are bringing The King’s casket to the ceremony. That may mean absolute pandemonium considering the onslaught of die-hard fans.

Nearly everyone is wearing some sort of Jackson paraphernalia, be it a t-shirt, glitter glove or full white suit.
Some fans have gathered around the entrance to  the center to watch the celebrity guests roll in. So far I have not been able to see who has walked in, but according to the screams I would guess the Jackson Family has arrived.
The plaza is now piping with humanity, and dozens are taking photos in front of a giant movie screen.
There seems to be no age limit to the fans. With children under 5 and adults over 65 mixed about the crowd. 
It’s amazing to think that this small hub is now the focal point of the worlds attention. I wonder if these ticket holders have any idea how lucky they really are.
9:06 a.m.
The fever is rising. Just 30 minutes to go and the authorities are out in full force. Everyone from security  guards to the bomb squad have encircled that crowds here at the Staples Center, and for some reason that brings me more unease.
So far I have just seen the rapper/ actor Ice Cube and caught a glimpse of what looked like Jesse Jackson.
The fury and power of The King has swept over Los Angeles like a 24-hour virus that nothing can cure, and the cool weather may be the only thing keeping this event from exploding into one gigantic moonwalk.
Moments now until the countdown. People have rushed to get to their seats, and it’s time I found mine as well.
World history is about to be made.

9:55 a.m.
Five minutes left to showtime and reports have come in that the hearse with The King’s body has arrived at the scene. No one knows for sure, but celebrities are arriving in droves. Police presence has gotten even tighter, and a row of firefighters are waiting at bay just steps from the entrance to the Nokia Theatre.
The show is apparently running a few minutes late but is slated to start close to its scheduled time of 10 a.m.

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Riots break out after Laker win*

The California Fire Page advises that riots have broken out in downtown Los Angeles after the Lakers won the NBA Championship Sunday night. 

Trees have been lit on fire and knocked down. Rioters have attmpted to knock cars over.
Extra police and sheriffs patrols were dispatched to Staples in anticipation of civil unrest according to KCAL9’s Web site.
KABC has live coverage of fans making their way to the Harbor Freeway
The Associated Press has just issued an update at 9:34 p.m.:

*LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles police officers have declared the increasingly rowdy crowd gathered near the Staples Center after the Lakers‘ championship victory an unlawful assembly.

Officer Karen Rayner says members of the crowd damaged one or two police cruisers and were setting bonfires in the street Sunday.

Aerial video footage shown on KCAL-TV showed people jumping on a police car and throwing flares set up by police.

No injuries have been reported.

Rayner says reinforcement officers have been called in from throughout the city to help disperse the crowd.

**Two arrested according to the Los Angeles Times

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