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Sirhan Sirhan, charged with the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy during a campaign stop in California, is the subject of intensive investigation by the US Government after an Arab government provided new evidence about his identity.  Keystone/Getty Images
Sirhan Sirhan, charged with the assassination of Senator Robert Kennedy during a campaign stop in California, is the subject of intensive investigation by the US Government after an Arab government provided new evidence about his identity.  Keystone…

What to do with Bobby Kennedy’s murderer? | OP-ED

The possible parole of Sirhan Sirhan opens a door to wonder about what is the most fair for all.

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I’ve been strapped for several days with a moral dilemma I have been unable to resolve. The news of the possible release of Robert Kennedy's assassin has left many questions floating in my head. Is there a way to obtain justice after a murder? An eye for an eye and a life for life? After more than 50 years in prison, is Sirhan Sirhan at peace with society?

The worst thing about the assassination he committed is that it ended a society that dreamed. It was the 60s and the Kennedys were seen as the hope in a country so old-fashioned, stiff and unequal. 

"Bobby" and John were charismatic, mediatic and owners of a destiny that could be no other than to govern.

The two came to the presidency in 1961, John in command and Bobby, who was campaign manager, officially serving as Attorney General. He acted more like a co-president.

The political audacity of Bobby was enormous, and he demonstrated it by winning the support of Martin Luther King, and with him, African-Americans. I was impressed by the pressure he maintained on Governor George Wallace over the admission of African-Americans to the University of Alabama. It was a determination that shattered the southern, racist status quo.

He also got involved on impossible fights of the time period: Vietnam, apartheid, civil rights, extreme poverty, the strikes in California. Bobby showed a moral sense beyond politics. His life ended in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in June 1968, after his victory in the California Democratic primaries, which would surely have propelled him to the presidency. 

Dark years would instead follow for the United States.

Dark years would instead follow for the United States.

Sirhan Sirhan's express trial left many doubts, but no one wanted to fuel more conspiracy theories. He was sentenced to the gas chamber, a verdict objected by the Kennedy family, since Bobby would not have wanted someone to die for justice. The sentence changed to life imprisonment.

After 53 years, a panel of the California Parole Board has just recommended that Sirhan (77) be released because he no longer represents a danger to society. He’s maintained the same reasoning as before — he doesn't remember what happened. The final parole decision was made by Governor Gavin Newsom.

Six of "Bobby's" children want Sirhan behind bars, and two support his release. What is fair for his family? For the United States? Even for Sirhan himself? I still haven’t made up my mind.

 

 

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