"Who the hell cares?"

The lead investigator in the murder of 6-year-old Kayla Rolland asks me what race has to do with it.

Published March 13, 2000 5:00PM (EST)

When I wrote a column in Salon about the killing of 6-year-old Kayla Rolland and the exploitation of her death by President Clinton and members of the gun-control lobby, the last person I expected to write an irate e-mail in response was Arthur Busch, the lead investigator in the case. But he did:

David Horowitz ... is slowly sinking into the muck. He has begun to see almost everything through the prism of race. I led the investigation of the shooting of the 6-year-old first-grader in Mount Morris Township, Mich. Never once during this investigation did the issue of race ever get raised. Nor for that matter is it any factor whatsoever in this case.

Our community is in pain over this tragedy. If anything it has brought the races together to mourn and to seek answers together. The type of irresponsible race-baiting that Mr. Horowitz suggests in his article and in his so-called seminal question of the sordid tale of the death of this little girl is completely beyond the bounds of decency.

By the way, this was his question: "Why did it take the press days to reveal that the shooter was black and his victim white?" I say who in the hell cares? Mr. Horowitz proves to me that pundits and so-called experts like him are far removed from the reality of life in America. He is like an orchestra with two instruments: a computer and a lot of racial animosity.

Arthur A. Busch
Genesee County prosecutor
200 Courthouse
Flint, MI 48502

Here is my reply:

Dear Mr. County Prosecutor,

I'm flattered but also concerned that you would take time out from your busy schedule protecting the citizens of Genesee County to wag your finger at me over alleged racial offenses in my Salon piece. If you had read what I wrote more carefully, you would see that the part about Kayla Rolland is not about race but the "moral idiocy of liberalism." Therefore, I am also indebted to you for providing a perfect example of this problem.

In fact, I never once suggested that the killing of Kayla Rolland was racially motivated. I will come back to the question I raised about the media and race in a moment, but I hope you don't conduct all your prosecutions as irresponsibly as you have this persecution of me.

Here are two remarkable sentences from your letter: "Never once during this investigation did the issue of race ever get raised. Nor for that matter is it any factor whatsoever in this case." Tell me something. How do you know that race is not a factor in a case if you never raise the issue during your investigation?

I have another question: Why haven't you and your office filed charges against the mother, father and uncle of the little perpetrator of this tragic killing? Aren't there any laws in Michigan about child abuse? What about the social workers who knew this child was living with criminals in a crack house? Are they under investigation? Since the killer had already stabbed another first-grader, why is your office not investigating the school authorities and other public agencies who were obviously derelict in protecting Kayla, not to mention her killer?

May I offer a hypothesis? Could it be that the liberalism that guides our municipal agencies has lost a certain moral sense of what is right and wrong, so that it has come to protect little offenders like this, bending the old rules to keep what we used to call "delinquents" mainstreamed with their potential victims?

"60 Minutes" recently featured a case in which a district attorney in Alabama is attempting to have a disturbed and malicious youngster (white) removed from the public school system as a threat to other students. The D.A. is being strenuously opposed by liberal advocates of the "disabled," because the mental dysfunction that makes him a threat to others is, under current civil rights law, legally a "disability" that protects him from "persecution" by oppressors like the district attorney.

Perhaps something like that happened all along the way in the case you have so superficially investigated to protect the killer and to expose Kayla to attack. But of course that is no concern of yours. You are too busy protecting the whole mess (including your dereliction of duty) from politically incorrect busybodies like me.

One reason I asked the question as to why the press was so colorblind in this case was that I couldn't imagine a parallel situation where if a little black girl in a class with an overwhelming majority of whites had been shot by a white youngster that the press would have no interest in those facts. Particularly since the killer had committed a violent act against another student previously. (By the way, did you or any of your investigators bother to inquire about the race of the previous victim? Certainly the press has shown no interest in this at all.)

My second reason for introducing the issue of race is the way in which the dysfunctionality of the perpetrator's family was allowed to disappear from all radar screens as the tragedy was transformed by the president and others into a poster-case for the new trigger-lock gun law. You will remember that I asked how a family of outlaws, with stolen guns in their crack-house abode, was going to be impressed by a new law about triggers? It seemed like a reasonable question to me. Just as it seems reasonable to me to wonder whether law enforcement's willingness to allow a bunch of criminals to have their way with two small children (the shooter and his 8-year-old brother) had anything at all to do with the fact that they were black? The same question could be put to the social workers. Social workers, as is well known, are often guided by a left-wing worldview that causes them to treat dysfunctional people, who happen to be "of color," as victims of oppression who need to be protected rather than dysfunctional people who may be threats to themselves and everyone around them.

Even though I did not once suggest that the killing of Kayla was racially motivated, do you really think that had the colors been reversed you and your investigators would have had no interest in the question itself? Particularly if Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton had arrived on the scene to put the question to you? Perhaps that is because the existence of white racism is a clichi, while the existence of black racism is more like a taboo.

It seems to me that this ought to be a time for reflection on your part about what you might have done to prevent this tragedy, rather than lecturing the rest of us about denial, morality and responsible discourse.

By David Horowitz

David Horowitz is a conservative writer and activist.

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Bill Clinton Gun Control Guns Race