I stood with hundreds of others at a Kennedy rally in downtown Indianapolis when he broke the news that Martin Luther King Jr. had been shot and killed. It has been recorded that Kennedy stopped a riot in Indianapolis with his compassionate words that night. But to be honest, those deeply saddened people around me did not seem in a mood for rioting. He said he had experienced this kind of pain before, that for some reason this kind of violence was American, but he left us with a sense that he would go on and so would we all. Two months later he was dead.
No politician quite like Bobby Kennedy has come along since. Had he lived, I am almost certain the Vietnam War would have ended years, and many thousands of lives, earlier. Perhaps Jim Crow could have been attacked in such a way that African Americans today would not still be fighting for equal treatment, and even, again, the right to vote. We are still using military might and horrific violence to bend small, poor nations to our will; it has become almost a way of life for us as a nation. Gun violence is an epidemic, and there is not the political will to curb it.