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ISSUE 117 VOL 10 PUBLISHED 12/5/2003

Jackson career in doubt after latest accusations

By Byron Vierk
Staff Writer

Friday, December 5, 2003

Kobe Bryant should think about sending Michael Jackson a thank-you card. Wacko Jacko has again been charged with child molestation, diverting almost all media attention away from Kobe’s sexual assault trial.

This is the second time Jackson has come under fire for child molestation, the first time being in 1994. This time, two children have stepped forward with the charges, both of them under 14. The press is in a virtual feeding frenzy as the Jackson crisis has usurped almost every current issue other than the continuing conflict in Iraq.

The whole situation is sure to generate a media circus around the upcoming trial. Jackson cannot settle this one out of court thanks to new California legislation requiring testimony from children who allege abuse. It’s ironic to note that this law was only put into practice after the first allegations against Jackson resulted in an undisclosed settlement rumored to be six figures. If convicted, Jackson could face up to 16 years in prison. If his 2001 album “Invincible” didn’t sound the death knell of his amazing career, this certainly will.

But really, is anyone that surprised to find Jackson in the negative spotlight again? Whether dangling his newborn child from a hotel balcony or accusing record executives of being racist, Jackson seems determined to shoot himself in the foot if nobody else is going to do it for him. Jackson has had incredible news coverage of his eccentricities, most of which has been harmless or simply stupid. However, this second molestation charge is nothing at which to scoff. Jackson’s naïve attitude towards the harsh realities of life and his increasingly illogical attitude towards the consequences of his decisions have reached a new apex.

Jackson was always weird, but it was at least explainable: Jackson’s father abused him as a child. For all intents and purposes, he never experienced a true childhood. All of this, coupled with the massive stresses of unequaled fame, would be enough to write off his strange dress code, bizarre lifestyle and outrageous statements. No amount of sympathy for Jackson’s past misfortunes should in any way affect this trial, and if it does, it will be a travesty both for justice and for plain old common sense. Jackson deserves a trial where he is convicted or proven innocent, but he also deserves to be treated like a normal citizen.

Even if Jackson is proven innocent, the single most incredible thing about this whole situation is that the parents of the two children allowed them to have an unsupervised overnight visit with Jackson, acquitted child molester. If Jackson had been a regular person and not a pop star, no parent in their right mind would allow their child to spend the night alone at such a residence. It certainly adds some truth to Jackson’s claims that people are out to get him.

As a fan, it’s very hard to have to watch Jackson hurt himself and his career over and over again. It’s safe to say that Jackson’s career is finished, and if it must end like this, I truly hope that he is given a real jail sentence in a real jail, just like everyone else. If acquitted, I think he deserves an apology from the media, the parents, and most especially the lawyers who have been profiteering off of his weirdness. I think it’s important to note that most people don’t seem to hate Jackson; he has contributed too many positives to our world. However, most people are fed up with his behavior and actions. This is a defining point in his life where he is either vindicated or damned. Whatever the outcome, he should get exactly what he deserves: closure.

Contributing Writer Byron Vierk is a junior from Lincoln, Neb. He majors in history.

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