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more than anybody else, and apparently without consideration for the fact that all of the leaders who have been assassinated were protected. There came too from Washington a demand for effective gun control legislation. No one should deny the efficacy of these gestures. What must be denied is the effort to equate the Black struggle with these monstrous crimes and the allegation that the recent epidemic of violence is new or novel on the American scene. We are traditionally and historically and perhaps incurably a violent people.
It began with the American Indian and with a widely accepted philosophy that the only good Indian was a dead Indian. While colonial settlers heaped indescribable savagery on the American Indian, it was the Indian who was described as the savage. When settlers murdered Indians, it was warfare. When Indians killed settlers, it was a massacre. For years Americans have sat in the theatre and applauded in all the wrong places, accepting the villains as the heroes and the heroes as the villains. We have applauded what is accurately described as the most inhumane and cruel colonization of a people known in the history of civilized existence. This exercise in violence was accepted because it only related to the American Indian.
Our adventures in violence, however, did not cease with this inhumanity. We next moved to structure the worst slavery institution known to the civilized historical record. Black people were bought and sold, intimidated and brutalized, raped and lynched and subjected to an indescribable process of dehumanization. Apparently the concern for this exercise in violence was not too widespread because it related only to Black people.
An effort to contain violence once it is unleashed is like an effort to confine a disease to one room in the house. ITs contagion will inevitably reach all people within and some without. Violence is like alcoholism. A drinker may be selective and discriminatory in his choice of drinks at the outset, but once he becomes a victim he will drink cheap wine, wood alcohol, rubbing alcohol or anything he can find. Our adventure in violence may have been selective at the outset and restricted to Blacks and American Indians. In the process our regard for human life has been disastrously cheapened and we find that no one is safe today because everyone has never been safe. While the President contends that 200 million Americans did not assassinate Robert Kennedy, the truth is that 200 million Americans did. We cannot absolve our guilt with presidentially encouraged escapes into some fairyland of innocence. Everyone who sanctions hatred pulls the trigger. Everyone who condones violence exercised