Rap and Race: The Reaction

I am grateful to writer Chuck Philips for pointing out the mind-numbing hypocrisy of the National Rifle Assn., which supports the right to buy "cop killer" bullets--but not "Cop Killer" records!

And, yes, I do have to sympathize with Ice-T. I too am miffed at the legions of the literal-minded who so often take the words or deeds of flawed, or even unhinged, characters in books, movies or songs as endorsements of some heinous activity or other.

I do appreciate why the families of police officers would be upset over a song they see as endorsing the potential murder of a loved one. (Although the logic of helping turn a record with modest sales into a massive hit escapes me.) I myself might be nervous if someone released a song called "Unsold Screenwriter Killer." Come to think of it, if Ice-T really wants to mend some fences, he should look to Shakespeare for inspiration and quickly follow up with "Attorney Killer." He'd probably win a Grammy.

What it finally boils down to is this: It's clear that if all Ice-T wanted to do was sell records, he could've put out some variation on "U Can't Touch This" and really cleaned up. "Cop Killer" tries to illuminate the rage brewing in a large part of our society. We need our truth tellers, no matter how upsetting the truth they choose to reveal.

BOB WESTAL

Los Angeles

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