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.
Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by his assassin’s bullet.
No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.
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.
These are the remarks of Senator Robert F. Kennedy to the Cleveland City Club in Cleveland on Ohio, April 5, 1968. You can read the whole speech -- and I hope you do -- here.
I heard them in the movie Bobby that I watched this hot June afternoon after leaving church to try to nurse myself to health. And yet again, I feel restless for what change I am not making in the heat of these days. And so, I lift up my simple prayer for peace -- that history might not repeat itself in utter tragedy as I fear it already has.