This year the nation's commemoration of the 84th birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr occurs during the week of the second inauguration of America's first African-American president, three weeks after the 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and during the 50th Anniversary year of Dr. King's August 28th, 1963 "I Have A Dream" speech.
The unique historic confluence of these events was particularly present in my mind after recently reading and grading of 47 term papers from undergraduate students, who last semester completed my course "From Slavery to Obama" at the University of San Francisco, where I am serving as Diversity Visiting Professor. Added to this were thoughts prompted after viewing Steven Spielberg's movie Lincoln.
And, like so many people in our nation over the past several weeks, I have been also trying to rationally process the horror of Newtown, CT, the response of the gun lobby to this tragedy and the public's growing revulsion to acts of violence committed by the use of a gun.
Then I found out that on same the day our nation is scheduled to remember the life and service of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. -- a leader committed to non-violence -- the National Rifle Association has organized a Gun Appreciation Day.
My initial reaction to this was: No, this cannot possibly be true. There must be some factual error in the reporting of this planned event.
Then, to my utter disbelief, I double checked, only to find that in fact it is true: On the very day we come together to honor our American apostle of non-violence, a hero, who was tragically assassinated by a rifle's bullet, the NRA has called for a national Gun Appreciation Day!
Somebody, please, please, please tell me this will not occur.