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Bobby Kennedy dies in California

On 12 October 1968, President Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968.

Just after midnight on 05 June 1968, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan shot Sen. Bobby Kennedy in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Sen. Kennedy, 42, had just won the California presidential Democratic primary and had been speaking to supporters.

Sen. Kennedy died at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, 25 1/2 hours later, on 06 June 1968.

The shooting occurred on the one-year anniversary of the start of the Six-Day War (05-10 June 1967), which was the third of the Arab-Israeli wars.

In response to the apparent mobilization of its Arab neighbours, early on the morning of June 5, Israel staged a sudden preemptive air assault that destroyed more than 90 percent Egypt’s air force on the tarmac. A similar air assault incapacitated the Syrian air force.

Sen. Kennedy had expressed support for Israel on the campaign trail, which reportedly angered Sirhan.

Try to imagine what the United States might be like today had Bobby Kennedy lived, had Richard Nixon never been elected president.

In March 2018 Kathleen Kennedy Townsend said this about her father:

When my uncle, John Kennedy, died, he wrote me a letter from the White House. “Dear Kathleen, You seem to understand that Jack died and was buried today. As the oldest of the grandchildren, you have a special responsibility. Be kind to others and work hard for your country. Love, Daddy.”

At that moment, he could’ve been bitter. He could’ve been angry, resentful, vengeful. And yet by writing, he told me that he was thinking of me, caring about me, wanting me to be responsible, kind and loving… He believed in treating enemies with respect rather than vilifying them, so he wrote Just Friends and Brave Enemies…  His love impelled him to drive into an inner-city when Martin Luther King was killed and say, “My brother was also killed by a white man,” and asked that there be love and compassion, not revenge.

It is hard to dance between anger and love. In this world that is unfair and unjust, it is so much easier to fall victim to anger’s righteousness. My father had reason to curse the fates, but he resisted that course. He chose a path that found wisdom in pain and in so doing demonstrated empathy for those who hailed from different nations, social classes, ethnicities or faiths.

On 12 October 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Gun Control Act of 1968. This is what TIME magazine wrote about the law then:

It may take another act of horror to push really effective gun curbs through Congress.

There is apparently no act of horror substantial enough for that to happen.

There was a respite from 1994 to 2004 after Congress passed, and President Bill Clinton signed, a ban on the manufacture, transfer (sale) and possession of semi-automatic “assault” weapons as well as magazines that would hold more than 10 rounds.

In a linear regression model controlling for yearly trend, the federal ban period was associated with a statistically significant 9 fewer mass shooting related deaths per 10,000 firearm homicides (p = 0.03). Mass-shooting fatalities were 70% less likely to occur during the federal ban period (relative rate, 0.30; 95% confidence interval, 0.22-0.39).

Congress and President George W. Bush allowed the ban to expire in 2004. According to research from the New York School of Medicine, “Deaths more than tripled in the decade after the ban ended.”


Robert F. Kennedy tombstone
Robert F. Kennedy tombstone at Arlington Cemetery (Flickr CC)

#scitech, #society  (136/365)
📷 Flickr CC
Daily posts, 2022-2023

By Kathy E. Gill

Digital evangelist, speaker, writer, educator. Transplanted Southerner; teach newbies to ride motorcycles! @kegill

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