5.25.2022 – time of shame, sorrow

time of shame, sorrow
some senseless act of bloodshed,
yet it goes on … why?

Back on April 5, 1968, then Senator Bobby Kennedy said in a speech at the Cleveland Club:

This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity to speak briefly to you about this mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.

It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on.

Then the Senator asked a question.

Why?

He then asked, “What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? 

Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of law, by one man or a gang, in cold blood or in passion, in an attack of violence or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of life which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded.

Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition they desire.

Two months later on June 6, 1968, Senator Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles.

Whenever we tear at the fabric of life the whole nation is degraded.

It would be great to think that since we created this mess, we can fix this mess.

Too many people with too many guns.

I am reminded of the story of the founding of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

In the 1870’s, as the Canadian Pacific Railroad was being built, the folks who ran Canada were aware of the colorful stories of the lawless American west.

Dodge City and Tombstone.

Wyatt Earp and Wild Bill Hickcock.

Billy the Kid and Jesse James.

The folks saw the possibility of such an environment taking root as the the Canadian West began to be populated once the CPR was in service.

Their answer was to beat lawlessness with the law and the RCMP was created and in place once the railroad was completed.

When the trains started to run and the desperadoes showed up to rob the trains and the banks and fight in the barrooms, they found that in the trains and in the banks and in the barrooms the Mounties were already there.

For us?

No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed.

Why?

Too many people with too many guns and it is too late.

That train left some time ago.


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