The Mindless Menace of Violence: ASL

Uploaded by WinkASL on 13.04.2011

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>> It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity, to speak briefly to
you about the 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 can
be certain who will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on
and on in this country of ours. Whenever any American's life is taken by another American
unnecessarily, whenever we tear at the fabric of the life which another man has painfully
and clumsily woven for himself and his children, the whole nation is degraded. Too often we
honor swagger and bluster and wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing
to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of others. But this much is clear:
violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole
society can remove this sickness from our soul.When you teach a man to hate and fear
his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color or his beliefs or
the policies he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom
or your job or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens
but as enemies, to be met not with cooperation but with conquest; to be subjugated and mastered.
We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, men with whom we share a city,
but not a community; men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in common effort. We learn
to share only a common fear, only a common desire to retreat from each other, only a
common impulse to meet disagreement with force. Our lives on this planet are too short and
the work to be done too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in our land. Of
course we cannot vanquish it with a program. But we can perhaps remember, if only for a
time, that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same
short moment of life; that they seek, as do we, nothing but the chance to live out their
lives in purpose and in happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment they can.
Surely, this bond of common faith, this bond of common goal, can begin to teach us something.
Surely, we can learn, at least, to look at those around us as fellow men, and surely
we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our
own hearts brothers and countrymen once again.\ }