- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

Mike Tyson has received permission from the D.C. Boxing and Wrestling Commisssion to rape and pillage the community in June, if it comes to that.
With Tyson, a sucker punch usually accompanies the impressive economic report.
Memphis, Tenn., and Detroit, the other U.S. cities bidding to avert their eyes around Tyson, should consider themselves warned.
With the tourism industry stuck in a post-September 11 slump, Washington is desperate enough to overlook the potential unpleasantness and clutch the U.S. Constitution instead.
That is the right to free speech, the right to bear arms and the right to fight in the city. The right was granted only after a doctor determined that Tyson knew the answer to the following question: "How many fingers?"
The city would be accused of scraping the bottom of the human barrel if Tyson's table manners met the broad definition of human.
They serve Peking duck in Tony Cheng's neighborhood instead of Evander Holyfield's ear.
The distinction remains important, if only because Tyson sampled the uncooked leg belonging to Lennox Lewis during a chaotic press conference in New York City two months ago.
Tyson looms over the city with a dossier stuffed with incidents, large and small. The city is left to cross its fingers and hope to God that all goes well, but only after taking every safety precaution imaginable.
The attention to safety is intended to dissuade others from being inspired by Tyson's out-of-control behavior. He is a law-enforcement load all by himself, with the record to prove it.
Tyson is a convicted rapist who claimed to undergo a spiritual awakening while in prison. He could have fooled the two motorists in Montgomery County. One took a punch to the face, the other a kick to the groin. That apparently qualifies as turning the other cheek, as long as the cheek is turned in the path of Tyson's fist, foot or choppers.
Tyson promises a freak show wherever he goes, especially if he is not taking his medication. He does not need an excuse to warrant a team of white jackets at his side. He just needs his "constellation of neurological deficits" to be having a bad day.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams has lent his stamp of approval to the proceedings. His next official decree is: Hide the women and children.
That edict would exclude Wanda Bruce, founder of Women in Support of Tyson, assuming members of the group have passed a thorough mental health check.
"We feel we should not be the judge or jury of Mr. Tyson's personal life," the founder says.
That would be a redundant exercise, after all.
The lawyers in town probably are updating their legal credentials in anticipation of the boom times ahead. Who needs another whiplash case with Tyson and his entourage predisposed to find trouble?
Tyson's defenders are loud. That merely underlines the benefits of earmuffs, worn either in Tyson's presence or to drown out the noise. Protective cups also are advised for men.
It seems parody, however unintentional, goes with the territory.
"We can demonstrate to the world that we are a city that cares about people," the Rev. Willie Wilson says.
Condoleezza Rice, always in search of new ideas to persuade the world of Washington's clarity, undoubtedly is taking notes.
Grant Tyson a license to fight. Hear the world express its approval to Washington. That is a good one.
Here is another one: A heavyweight title fight is said to help a city's self-image, as if Washington somehow needs help in this regard. Aren't images of the city's landmarks beamed across the world each day?
Tyson's defenders have a million of them, usually from a safe distance, conveniently enough.
Tyson was "thrilled" by the commission's decision to be compassionate, understanding and caring toward another human being.
The feel-good stuff, of course, only goes as far as Tyson's capacity to generate revenue. He can do that, although not because of his athletic prowess.
Americans tend to rubberneck around car wrecks and Tyson.


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