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Brothers Menendez

September 09, 1990

Lyle and Erik Menendez came of age in a society that worshiped material excess from the crib. If you didn't have everything you wanted by the time you reached puberty, you were a failure. They and their spoiled, brat-pack friends drove $50,000 cars before they could shave; cribbed someone else's arduously written school papers or had their mothers write them; spent more on clothes in a month than whole families spend for food and shelter in a year; dated glamorous 30-year-old models; dined in the best restaurants. In short, as teen-agers they had the good life many of us strive for but rarely reach, even if we live to 100.

Perhaps we have-nots are in the long run the richer. For these young victims are as impoverished and needy as the lowliest Calcutta street beggar. The animal imagery, the driving force behind their father's success, became twisted and bent in the next generation. But Jose paid his dues before becoming king of the jungle he lived in. His sons, perhaps borrowing a page from recent history, wanted to be lionized without experiencing the necessary but humbling years as cubs. It took but a few minutes to kill their parents and they would have it all now.

How many more needless crimes of avarice before this nation returns to some good old but recently maligned Yankee horse sense and values?

CAROL LAW

Leucadia

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