Thug Worship in Iran and in America

Looters took over downtown Los Angeles the other night following a professional basketball victory.

A news radio reporter and several policemen were attacked, stores were looted, and, as far as I can tell, police stood down and allowed the looters to do the damage. After the Los Angeles Lakers won the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) championship in Orlando, Florida, a mob formed near the Staples Center, burning, vandalizing and destroying property everywhere in sight. Eight officers were injured, and 12 police cars, a sheriff’s vehicle, and six buses were damaged, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD). One officer was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Police said 25 arrests were made. One businessman, shoe store owner Richard Torres, told the Associated Press (AP) that he lost $100,000 when looters broke in and destroyed vintage sportswear and sneakers and the shop’s computers. “They were literally lighting stuff on fire,” Torres said. His store manager, Liz Sanchez, said LAPD did nothing.

In fact, LAPD Chief William Bratton, an ineffectual bureaucrat who routinely lectures the public on how the LAPD is underfunded, downplayed the looting and used the term “knuckleheads” to describe the criminals. The police clearly failed to protect the public and downtown L.A. will suffer and lose business.

But this mob mentality is rampant in the subculture of men’s professional sports, especially basketball, particularly the Lakers. Men of ability competing in athletic contests offers the sight of heroic action but thug worship replaced hero worship and engulfed sports long ago. Today, we are left with the spectacle of unkempt, baggy-clothed dog-killers, murderers and rapists spiking balls and sneering at the notion of civility. When Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant, whom I personally believe is guilty of rape, was arrested in 2003 for felony sexual assault in Colorado, Lakers fans rushed, not to defend him based on facts (though some did) but to praise him.

Dads bought their sons jerseys with his number. I heard comments on talk radio and at parties, from educated men and women, that Kobe Bryant was like an animal that couldn’t be controlled when his sexual urges came upon him and that his accuser, a hotel worker and college student, probably deserved to be raped. Far from damaging his reputation among L.A. Lakers’ fans, the rape arrest (which did not result in conviction) elevated his stature. Thug worship is part of what fuels pro sports and it played out in downtown Los Angeles. With the dereliction of duties by the LAPD, and the consent of sports fans who sanction thug worship, the lawlessness, in the City of Angels and elsewhere, will get worse.

In Teheran, we have another example of civil unrest and I am reading the news from Islamic dictatorship Iran. I doubt that the protests against the current Islamic fascist dictator, who is controlled by the religious collective that runs Iran, will lead to fundamental change in that slave state. I support resistance to theocracy, in Iran as in America, where the Obama administration, defending the Clinton administration’s anti-homosexual Defense of Marriage Act, recently compared being gay to incest (as MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out in a recent broadcast). But jihadist Iran, like Nazi Germany, did not become a theocracy overnight. Predominantly Moslem Iran is infected with anti-Western ideals that are widely accepted by the people. Protest over which Islamic thug is in charge is neither a cry for man’s rights nor a demand for the only political system which supports individual rights: capitalism.

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