In the vortex of the violence 50 years ago that consumed the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Robert F. Kennedy and many other Americans, home and abroad, the later singer-songwriter Curtis Mayfield wrote: “We’re killing off our leaders, doesn’t matter none black or white.”
A half-century later we’d all like to believe our country has changed, has become more civilized. That we’re a country that values discourse, but also understanding, and needs neither the point of gun or a brick to effectuate necessary change.
But as we approach the mid-point of 2018, the reality is the United States is still a very violent place, as is the rest of the world. Grievances are still addressed with lethal force, just as in 1968. Actions begat reactions, as happened to both Dr. King, Mr. Kennedy, Black Panther Party members in Chicago, migrant farm workers in California or police on the beat in the cities doing their jobs, regardless of the politics of the day, and we see the same thing in contemporary society.
The fatal school shootings earlier this year in Florida, Texas and Southern Maryland and the senseless death of Baltimore County Officer First Class Amy Sorrells Caprio last month are examples of a sicker aspect of how just enough people live their lives to make it a dangerous place for us all.
In our former staff member and frequent contributor Kayla Barowski’s review of The Aegis coverage following the Robert Kennedy assassination, she summarized an editorial that, for the time it was written, turned out to be quite prophetic.
Calling the cry for more stringent gun control legislation a “small portion of the necessary remedy,” the editorial went on to argue it was the person behind the killing who needed attention and that too much violence was caused by people who regarded the laws and their enforcement “quite lightly.”
Put another way, killing doesn’t solve anything, never has. And, viewed through the telescope of history, violence has never righted a perceived wrong. Taking a life to prove a point, is the mark of a coward.