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The Assassination of Reverend Martin Luther King

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

"There’s no way in the world you can keep somebody from killing you if they really want to kill you."
-- Martin Luther King, 1968, when asked why he has no bodyguard. [1]

The Mayor of Memphis refuses to recognize the new union of sanitation workers (garbage men) and their grievances. Normally, that is strictly a workman's issue, but when the workday is cancelled due to weather, the white workers are paid for the full day. Black workers are paid for their hours worked. They strike, and Reverend King comes to Memphis in support. He stays at his normal motel in room 306 as he always does. He gives that famous speech, "I have been to the mountain top... And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land." His eyes are distant, as if he sees a vision of his own passing, and its coming soon. As he stands on the balcony of room 306, enjoying the evening, a single bullet from a Remington .30-06 hits him in the jaw. The bullet travels down his spine. He dies in surgery an hour later. The impact on the black community is devastating. Rioters fill the streets in a hundred cities. We are all going to die anyway. Take it down. Take it all down. (FYI, Alex Shrugged is not advocating violence, but conveying the feeling of the times.) [2] [3]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
James Earl Ray ran out of a bordering house from across the street. He was a petty criminal, yet he was apprehended overseas on his way to Rhodesia and carrying a fake passport. The FBI had a weapon with his fingerprints on it, but could not prove that it was the weapon that fired the bullet. Ray plead guilty, but 3 days later retracted his plea. No dice. Ray died in prison at the age of 70, all the while maintaining that he did not kill King. Reverend King's family believes him. Conspiracy theorists point to the FBI. This is not as ridiculous as it sounds. Years before, the FBI had sent an anonymous letter to Reverend King suggesting in threatening terms that he should kill himself before they released evidence of his evil ways. Today we admire Reverend King. Certainly I do, but every man has his faults and every woman knows it. His wife forgave him. In the aftermath of his assassination, he is elevated a little higher than he probably deserves, but no harm done. We can use a few heroes. [4] [5] [6] [7]

This Year in Space

Contributed by Southpaw Ben

1968 was a major year is space flight, with some of the most historic space missions taking place. No, not THAT one[8], that isn't until next year. We do, however have the December 21st Apollo 8 mission, which was the first manned spacecraft to leave Earth's orbit, and reach the Moon. Originally this mission was planned to take place with Apollo 9, and Apollo 8 was to test the lunar module in low Earth orbit. This all changed, however, with the successful launch and recovery of the Zond 5 spacecraft, which was the second ship to circle to the moon. (The first was the Zond 4, which self-destructed during re-entry as it went off course as wasn't going to land in USSR controlled territory.) However, Zond 5 was especially notable, because it successfully was recovered, and because it contained plants and animals, which were only slightly affected by the trip, most notably the two tortoises who lost about 10% of their body weight, but were otherwise in perfect condition. [9] [10] [11] [12]

My Take by Southpaw Ben
The United States put it's ego above the safety of it's men, as it so often does, when it decided to move forward the mission for Apollo 8. While the USSR took the logical path of slowly building up to sending humans around the Moon, the US decided to skip on safety testing and have it's first Lunar mission be manned. As the space race had many political and military ramifications, it can be understood why a country would try to rush to beat the other country, the real question is how many lives is being the first to the Moon really worth? While, thankfully, Apollo 8 was a complete success with no casualties, Zond 5 cost 3 lives when one of it's rockets exploded while on the launch pad.

More Control Over Guns. Yeah. That Will Fix It!

Contributed by Alex Shrugged

Senator Robert Kennedy is assassinated by a wild-eyed Palestinian. Former defensive tackle, Rosey Grier, wrestles the shooter to the ground. Dr. Martin Luther King is assassinated. There are riots in the streets! Something must be done! So... Congress does something. The first gun control laws were meant to keep firearms out of the hands of ex-slaves, but even in modern times black people have been denied access to self-defense. In fact, Reverend King was denied a firearms license because a threat to one's life is not sufficient cause. A few decades ago, the federal government limited possession of machine guns, and set a legal age for purchasing firearms. A new gun control bill has been languishing in Congress since the assassination of President Kennedy, but with the death of Robert Kennedy, and Reverend King, it gets pushed through. The new law bans mail order sales of rifles and shotguns because Oswald had bought his rife through the NRA magazine American Rifleman. They also prohibit the mentally ill from purchasing a weapon. (Does that include Congress?) The long list of prohibited persons includes: felons, drug users, illegal aliens, dishonorably discharged veterans, people convicted of misdemeanor domestic assault (essentially wife-beating) and more. [13] [14]

My Take by Alex Shrugged
FYI, a letter of clarification was issued in 2011 stating that people who are issued a medical marijuana card are forbidden to own, carry, possess, transport, ship or receive a firearm. IT'S THE LAW! Frankly, nothing could do more to increase sales of ANYTHING than for the Federal government to prohibit it. (It is amazing how many girlfriends and wives of felons feel a need to buy a gun!) Of course, the law was expanded with the Brady Law after President Reagan was shot. (Brady was Reagan's White House Press Secretary who took a bullet to the head and lived.) There was the assault rifle ban whatever that is. (I think it means a scary-looking rifle painted black.) They also limited magazine capacity for a few years. I still don't get that one. Somehow Congress thinks that when a gun runs out of ammo, the shooter must stop and carefully reload the magazine before resuming fire. Who would ever think of having TWO pre-loaded magazines or even THREE! The mind boggles. [15]

Notable Births

  • Timothy McVeigh (executed 2001, age 33 by lethal injection): Convicted of blowing up the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma. (He said it was revenge for the government murders at Ruby Ridge and Waco.--alexshrugged) [16]
  • Ramzi Yousef: Mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center Bombing. (Currently in prison.--alexshrugged) [16]
  • Mohamed Atta (died September 11, 2001, age 33): Hijacker who crashed a 767 into the North Tower of the World Trade Center. [16]
  • From Star Trek Voyager...
  • -- Garrett Wang: Ensign Harry Kim. [16]
  • -- Jeri Ryan: Seven of Nine, and divorced from Jack Ryan (R), the favorite to run against Barack Obama for state senate. (Barack is BORG!--alexshrugged) [16]
  • -- In Music: Celine Dion, Kenny Chesney, and LL Cool J. [16]
  • -- In Movies: Will Smith, Cuba Gooding Jr., and Hugh Jackman (Wolverine in X-Men). [16]

This Year in Film

  • 2001: A Space Odyssey: It's long, weird and amazing. (I like 2010 better.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • Funny Girl: Barbara Streisand has a voice like a bell. (But her politics leave me flat.--alexshrugged ) [17]
  • Planet of the Apes: Starring Charlton Heston. (Different from the book. Both are good.--alexshrugged) [17]
  • Charly: From the short story "Flowers for Algernon." Rated X meaning MATURE SUBJECT. No sex. No nudity. (Worth seeing. Definitely worth reading.--alexshrugged) [17]

This Year in TV

  • Star Trek's Captain Kirk kisses Lt. Uhura: The first white/black kiss on TV. [18] [19]
  • Eleven cartoons are censored: Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies withdraw 11 racially insensitive cartoons from TV syndication. (They are REALLY insensitive. Oh brother!--alexshrugged) [18]
  • The Raiders/Jets Game goes long, so it is preempted by the movie Heidi: TVs fly out the window when a news banner reports a last minute touchdown. [18] [20]
  • -- In Comedy: Laugh-In, and Here's Lucy. [18]
  • -- In Game Shows: What's My Line?. [18]
  • -- In Law Enforcement: Hawaii Five-O (Book 'em, Dan-o!), and Adam 12 (TWO, count them, TWO officers per patrol car.) [18]

This Year in Music

  • Hey Jude: The Beatles. [21]
  • Jumpin' Jack Flash: The Rolling Stones. [21]
  • (Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay: Otis Redding. [21]
  • What a Wonderful World: Louis Armstrong. [21]

In Other News

  • Hot Wheels are introduced by Mattel: (I worked for Mattel as a child cleaning toilets though I doubt they knew it.--alexshrugged). [22] [23]
  • Intel is founded: They produce that CPU in your computer. [22] [24]
  • The DNC Convention is disrupted by rioters: It changes the direction of the Democrat Party by making room for young people, but they are radical leftists. [22] [25]
  • "Redlining" is outlawed: That is the practice of banks and realtors steering black home-buyers to certain neighborhoods marked in red on the map. [22] [26]
  • A North Vietnamese spy is shot in the head on camera: It is a legal execution during the Tet Offensive. The photographer apologizes for taking it. The General holding the gun forgives him. [22] [27] [28] [29]

This Year in Wikipedia

Year 1968, Wikipedia.

See Also


  1. Garrow, David J.. Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Vintage Books. ISBN 0394756231. “At each stop of his Georgia tour, King proudly introduced Marty and Dexter to the waiting crowds. In Albany, Southwest Georgian editor A. C. Searles chided King for traveling without bodyguards. " 'I can't lead that kind of life,'" King responded. "'I'd feel like a bird in a cage.… There's no way in the world you can keep somebody from killing you if they really want to kill you.'" The chartered airplane had engine problems at both Waycross and Macon, putting King hours behind schedule, and he apologized to his Macon audience, saying, "I would much rather be Martin Luther King late than the late Martin Luther King."” 
  2. American Rhetoric: Martin Luther King, Jr. - I've Been to the Mountaintop (April 3 1968). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don't know what will happen now. We've got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn't matter with me now, because I've been to the mountaintop. And I don't mind. Like anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I'm not concerned about that now. I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land!”
  3. James Earl Ray Dead At 70. CBS News (February 11, 2009). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “Ballistics tests by the FBI and a congressional committee in the 1970s failed to prove beyond a scientific doubt that the rifle was the murder weapon, though King was killed with a similar gun. Ray's lawyers argued that more sensitive tests developed since the '70s might show the gun was not the murder weapon. But tests that were undertaken after a court ruling in 1997 proved to be inconclusive, too.”
  4. McCall, Nathan. Makes Me Wanna Holler: A Young Black Man in America. Random House. ISBN 0679412689. 
  5. FBI–King suicide letter - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “FBI–King suicide letter, or blackmail package, was a 1964 anonymously-signed letter or package by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) meant to blackmail Martin Luther King Jr.”
  6. United States Department of Justice Investigation of Recent Allegations Regarding the Assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. CRT, Department of Justice (OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT SITE) (June 2000). Retrieved on 16 March 2017.
  7. VII. King v. Jowers Conspiracy Allegations. CRT, Department of Justice (OFFICIAL GOVERNMENT SITE) (June 2000). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “In November 1999, trial commenced in King v. Jowers, a wrongful death civil action filed by Dr. Pepper on behalf of Dr. King's wife and children. Jowers was the only defendant and thus the only other party to the lawsuit. At the conclusion of the nearly four week trial, the jury adopted a verdict offered by the parties finding that Jowers and 'others, including government agencies' participated in a conspiracy to assassinate Dr. King.”
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_11
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zond_5
  10. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_8
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1968_in_spaceflight
  12. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apollo_7
  13. Rosey Grier - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “After Grier's professional sports career he worked as a bodyguard for Robert Kennedy during the 1968 presidential campaign and was guarding the senator's wife, Ethel Kennedy, during the Robert F. Kennedy assassination. Although unable to prevent that killing, Grier took control of the gun and subdued the shooter, Sirhan Sirhan.”
  14. Beck, Glenn. Control: Exposing the Truth About Guns. Mercury Radio Arts. ISBN 9781476739878. 
  15. Barrett, Paul. Glock: The Rise of the American Gun. Crown Publishers. ISBN 9780307719942. 
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 16.3 16.4 16.5 16.6 1968 Births - Wikipedia (2017).
  17. 17.0 17.1 17.2 17.3 1968 in film - Wikipedia (2017).
  18. 18.0 18.1 18.2 18.3 18.4 18.5 1968 in television - Wikipedia (2017).
  19. Plato's Stepchildren - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “This episode is notable for depicting an inter-racial kiss between a white man (Kirk) and a black woman (Uhura), which was daring for 1960s US television.”
  20. Heidi Game - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “On realizing that NBC was switching away from the game, Goodman said to Lindemann by phone, 'Where the hell has our football game gone?' During the station break which began with the network announcement, Goodman called a BOC phone to which only he knew the number and which was not part of NBC's CIrcle-7 exchange (which blew a fuse 26 times in an hour). When Cline answered it, Goodman ordered him to go back to the game. Although Cline knew there was no way to reconnect the feed, he promised to do the best he could. By the time the game ended at 7:07, thousands of viewers were calling the network to complain about missing the end of the football game.”
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 21.3 1968 in music - Wikipedia (2017).
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 22.3 22.4 1968 - Wikipedia (2017).
  23. Hot_Wheels - Wikipedia (2017).
  24. Intel - Wikipedia (2017).
  25. 1968_Democratic_National_Convention - Wikipedia (2017).
  26. Civil Rights Act of 1968 - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “Redlining is related to steering because it is denying financial support and services to neighborhoods based on race, ethnicity, or economic status. Rather than subtly steering individual families towards certain areas or only giving them information on certain racial areas, redlining was a blatant but legally tolerated criterion for financial institutions to decide where to invest. Originating in the New Deal, this procedure was a protocol for deciding where federal, state and city funds would go for financial services. Affluent middle- and upper-middle-class white areas were outlined in green on a map, meaning that financial services were clear to be rendered and these areas were desirable for investment. Racial areas, specifically African-American neighborhoods, were outlined in red, meaning they were undesirable neighborhood whose denizens were poor and racially mixed.”
  27. Eddie Adams (photographer) - Wikipedia (2017). Retrieved on 16 March 2017. “It was while covering the Vietnam War for the Associated Press that he took his best-known photograph—the picture of police chief General Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing a Vietcong prisoner, Nguyen Van Lem, on a Saigon street, on February 1, 1968, during the opening stages of the Tet Offensive.”
  28. Nguyen Ngoc Loan - Wikipedia (2017).
  29. Nguyen Van Lem - Wikipedia (2017).

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