The Week in Review
MONDAY, JUNE 18 This week of criminal molestation, noncriminal killing, and lottery-winning victimization kicks off in California, where today the world reacted to the sad news of yesterday's death of Rodney King, the Los Angeles man who inadvertently became the face of racial tension and police brutality in 1990s America before falling into semiprofessional alcoholism and reality-TV notoriety. A truly major figure in late-20th-century culture, King installed himself in the national imagination through a series of indelible media moments. First came 1991's eternally harrowing video of King being brutally beaten by members of the LAPD, followed by the almost-as-harrowing footage of the tragic mayhem that ensued when these officers were acquitted of criminal charges. (The LA riots, Reuters reminds us, resulted in 53 deaths and a billion dollars in damage.) Finally came King's shell-shocked, mid-riot plea to TV news cameras, imploring us all to "get along." Such brain-searing moments guaranteed King's ascension to Celebrity Victim, a mind-fucky state of affairs that likely helped fuel the alcoholism that would define King's 21st-century life. In 2008, King made a public bid for sobriety on VH1's Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew, joining such other "celebrities" as Tawny Kitaen and the spawn of Rod Stewart in televised detox, with middling results. Which brings us to yesterday, when Rodney King, 47, was found dead at the bottom of his pool in Rialto, California. "Preliminary indications are that this is a drowning with no signs of foul play," said Rialto police to Reuters. RIP, Rodney King.
TUESDAY, JUNE 19 In better news, the week continues in Texas, where today a Lavaca County grand jury declined to press charges against a father who caught a man molesting his daughter and beat him to death with his fists. Details come from the Associated Press, which identifies the father as simply a 23-year-old man in order to protect the identity of his 5-year-old daughter, who, according to an eyewitness, was "forcibly carr[ied]" behind the family's barn by Jesus Mora Flores, a man hired to help care for the family's horses. Hearing his daughter's scream, the father raced to her aid, pulling Flores off the girl and delivering several blows to his head and neck. Authorities arrived to find Flores dead with his pants and underwear around his ankles, and forensic evidence corroborating the claims of sexual assault. "In declining to indict the 23-year-old father in the June 9 killing of Jesus Mora Flores, a Lavaca County grand jury reached the same conclusion as investigators and many of the father's neighbors: He was authorized to use deadly force to protect his daughter." Undoubtedly helping: the father's anguished call to 911 immediately after the molestation-halting beating, begging a dispatcher to send an ambulance. Condolences to all.
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 20 In worse news, the week continues in Duluth, Minnesota, where, as CNN reports, "between 5 and 9 inches of rain fell between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, sending what looked like raging rivers through Duluth's streets." Among the soggy wreckage: many homes, miles of roads, at least eight animals at the Lake Superior Zoo, and the belief that flash-flooding like this doesn't happen in Minnesota. "We have not experienced anything like this in our community," said health care preparedness coordinator Kayla Keigley to CNN. "I am in shock and I work in the field of preparedness."
THURSDAY, JUNE 21 Four days after the death of Rodney King comes the birth of a new celebrity victim: Karen Klein, the 68-year-old bus monitor for New York's Greece Central School District, who skyrocketed to fame earlier this week when deeply upsetting video of her being verbally accosted and threatened by four foul-mouthed middle schoolers went viral on YouTube, outraging millions and inspiring a grassroots campaign to send the verbally victimized Klein on a vacation. Announcing itself with a goal of raising $5,000, the Karen Klein Vacation Fund will reach $600,000 in donations by early next week. "It's really awesome," said Klein, a grandmother of eight, to the New York Post. Next week, Klein will appear on The Today Show, where she'll express her amazement and gratitude and share her plans for her windfall (invest some, donate a lot to charity, and take that mandatory awesome vacation).
FRIDAY, JUNE 22 Nothing happened today, unless you count the conviction of Jerry Sandusky, the 68-year-old former Penn State assistant football coach who was today found guilty of sexually assaulting 10 boys, "all of them children from disadvantaged homes whom Sandusky, using his access to the university's vaunted football program, had befriended and then repeatedly violated," the New York Times reports. "Sandusky stood stoically as the jury foreman read off the verdicts on the 48 counts against him. The foreman said guilty 45 times. Many of the charges, which include rape and sodomy, carry significant prison terms, and it seems likely that Sandusky will spend the rest of his life behind bars." Deep thanks to the eight Sandusky abuse survivors who offered their graphic, painful testimony during the trial, and best of luck to the pitiably sick Sandusky, who'll spend the weekend on suicide watch in a Pennsylvania jail.
SATURDAY, JUNE 23 In better news, the week continues in Seattle, with a story that happened yesterday but which we are reporting today, for yesterday was devoured by the conviction of Sandusky and this story is too great to be bumped out of print by some predator perv. The setting: Seattle's Interbay neighborhood, where yesterday Hot Tipper Patkins ventured into Whole Foods and received a dazzling faceful of Fabio. As Patkins reports, the great man was there to promote Fabio protein powder and was surrounded by fans and well-wishers, for whom he posed for pictures and autographed lids of his nutritional powder. After dazzling Patkins with his laid-back normality, Fabio revealed himself as a star. "A couple of army reservists from the nearby armory stood in line to have their picture taken with Fabio," reports Patkins. "Afterward, they continued into the store to shop, and Fabio paid for their groceries." (Confidential to the many young folk wondering, "What is a Fabio?" As you should've read in your history books, Fabio invented the cotton gin.)
SUNDAY, JUNE 24 The week ends with Gay Pride Sunday, the annual day of great and ostentatious gayness, from Dykes on Bikes to rainbow feather boas on drunks. To celebrate the day, Last Days got drunk with his gay husband while watching The Wizard of Oz at Central Cinema. It was just as harrowing as we remembered.
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