Glenn Beck: Rehabilitation Comes From Within

This is a rush transcript from "Glenn Beck," December 1, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GLENN BECK, HOST: I want to talk to you here a little bit about Maurice Clemmons. This guy, this killer, gunned down four Washington police officers cold-blooded — just blew them away.

The saddest, most tragic part of this story is that this guy should have been in jail. He was arrested and jailed in Arkansas, sentenced to 60 years for several felony convictions — burglary, theft, property — he served 13 years out of 60 — 13 years.

And then he was granted clemency by Gov. Huckabee. He was eventually paroled. It's a decision I disagree with, you know, the governor, but the governor was acting within the system. And there were several layers at fault in this system, not just him. But he granted thousands of these based on mercy and compassion.

I agree on mercy and compassion. We are living in a world of nothing but mercy and compassion. "Oh, he did not pass the test. Please, let's pass him anyway." "Oh, they made the wrong loans to the wrong people and didn't want identification. But please, they are too big to fail."

That's not compassion. I will explain in just a second, but the system failure is far worse than just what happened in Arkansas.

Now, we move to Washington. Clemmons was arrested and briefly jailed in May after punching a police officer in the face. What do you think? Sixty years, then he was out, punched him in the face. Then he was booked again in July on a series of allegations including the fact that he had raped a 12-year-old girl at his home. If he was convicted of this, he would have faced life behind bars.

Do you think this guy might be a little dangerous?

Then, the no-bail hold on Clemmons withdrawn; clearly, the way for him to post bail and gain release from custody. So on November 24th, this guy walked out of jail. A few days later, officers, four of them, standing there — boom, all of them dead.

Our system is insane.

I am great with the whole compassion thing. I am. I'm all for forgiveness. There's nobody — nobody — in this audience that needed forgiveness in their life more than I did. I have got problems. You've got problems. I get it.

But forgiveness is a gift that can be given and received through prison bars. It is possible to have compassion while someone is still locked up.

What is the point of a jury trial if after a few years, the prisoner can say, "Yes, I have written a children's book. Free me." And we do.

Well, what else are you going to do in prison? I mean, it is neat that you wrote a book and, you know, changed your ways, but you are in prison. Perhaps you should have thought of that before you raped the child or ran around committing robberies and stealing cars and shooting or punching cops in the face.

Look, if it's knocking a five-year sentence down to 3, I can live with that. It's reasonable. But really, you can make an argument for 60 done in thirteen? I'm sorry, but being a gentleman behind bars doesn't equal 47 years served.

And granting a clear threat, like Clemmons, getting him bailed and saying, "Don't worry about it," that is just begging for trouble. His own family reported him to the police saying that he had acted erratically and proclaiming that the world was coming to an end and claiming that he was Jesus, all the while raping a 12-year-old in his home.

Yes, let's get this guy out. How is that compassion? That is misplaced compassion. If you really want to help somebody get better, you don't let them off. You don't give them three or four, 10 or 15 — don't stop counting. Just keep swinging away.

You do not bail them out because those people will never learn. I know this.

Here is something a politician will never say: People need to hit rock bottom. I can say this because I am a recovering alcoholic. I can tell you with certainty, if no one allowed me to fail, if there were no consequences for my actions, if I kept my family, my job, my house, my wealth, everything else, I wouldn't be able to stop drinking.

I like drinking. It was great. It was sweet. It really was. I had a lot of fun. A lot of vomiting at the end and blacking out, but if I had kept drinking, I'd be dead. My life fell apart and it should have. By my actions, it fell apart. I needed the failure — the low point — to start all over with.

Without it — if I did not have any pain, if you did not have any pain — look, I'm a big fat fatty. I know every day you tune in and you're like, "My gosh, this guy is becoming an elephant." I know that.

I mean, at some point, I'm going to be out of breath. I'm going to be sweating all the time and you're going to say, "I can't watch this elephant anymore."

So what do I do? I get into shape.

That's what happens: consequences. Is there any chance for Clemmons to be rehabbed? Well, I wouldn't count on it. I mean, he is dead now, shot by a police officer investigating a stolen car.

But perhaps, if he had faced the consequences of his actions earlier in his life, maybe there could have been. In fact, I know that not everyone can be rehabbed. But I do know that everyone has the capability of rehabilitating themselves.

See, it is not a system or anything else or anybody that changes you. It is you that changes you, but only when you are desperate enough to let it all go, only when you're desperate enough to say, "I can't do this. I have screwed up everything in my life." And you are faced with life or death — only at that point can you choose to start all over again.

Forgiveness is powerful. It is a powerful gift. It is the greatest gift ever given.

We all carry burdens around with us that we don't need to carry around anymore. We all have a storm to face, but we can't put those down unless we face the storm. We have to actually have to turn and look into that storm.

But in today's America, there are people saying, "Don't worry about that storm. I can take that away from you." No one can and it will only make that storm in your life only more powerful. And when it finally comes, it will devour you, because you will be so weakened by help you won't stand.

I lost everything in my life. Maybe if Clemmons was allowed to hit rock bottom, things would have turned around. Maybe not. Some people die because they never had a bottom.

That's why I wrote "The Christmas Sweater." I wrote it last year and we are doing a special movie theater appearance on Thursday night. I'm going to have this Thursday off because I am doing something here live from New York and I invite you to go to your movie theater and watch it live.

I am going to be talking about people and talking to people that actually turned their life around.

There is a viewer that hit bottom. His bottom and his dark day was probably a little darker and a little lower than most of ours, but here it is:


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can remember one of the last times that I used heroin. It took me to the needle. And I can remember sitting in the parking lot in Baltimore City at some dirty gas station parking lot in my car, and I thought, "This how it ends? This is where they're going to find me, in a parking lot with my car running with a needle in my arm."


BECK: Eric is going to join me along with so many other people that have read "The Christmas Sweater," and said, I've got to face my storm. You know what? I don't want to live this way anymore.

It is the message that I have in my life and it is the real meaning of Christmas. And I shared it in "The Christmas Sweater." You will be meeting people that told me a year ago, "I changed my life." Did they?

You will meet them live in movie theaters all across the country. Check it out at "" It is this coming Thursday night.

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