Today is the first time in 11 years that I have missed the annual MLK events here in Hopkinsville. My absence certainly is not a sign of indifference but more one of respect for the wellness of others. (I also didn't want my persistent cough to distract at all from the amazing sermon and singing that I know is taking place.) Still, I feel the need to reflect on some of the words and wisdom of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as it pertains to the job that faces myself and others tomorrow and all the days that follow.
These two quotes specifically stand out to me as I am challenged daily by those in our community who are afraid or unwilling to intervene, or at least speak up, when they see crimes committed - especially ones of a violent nature. While I can certainly appreciate the reality of one's fear of retaliation, to idly sit by and allow unjustified violence to occur is simply promoting and accepting these acts as part of our daily lives. To those who find themselves in the position of being a witness to evil actions of others, please search your souls and think about these words spoken decades ago.
I realize that in this day and time, prosecutors and law enforcement have been villainized so publicly that it is hard to see that there are those of us who are dedicated to the fair and just pursuit of a peaceful society. We definitely do not do our jobs for fame and fortune, particularly when on a good day, we make more enemies than friends. However, without the presence of people who enforce the law, I feel sure that our community would succumb to the forces of evil. I cannot emphasize how important it is for the safety of everyone that people learn to do the courageous things that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. encouraged us to do all those years ago. Speak up about the things that matter and don't passively accept evil!
In our community alone, violence has taken lives and broken the spirits of entirely too many individuals. Our court system is littered with cases in which cruel acts occurred, but witnesses are reluctant to speak out about it because they do not want to be involved. Maybe, if criminals knew that others would speak out against them, they would at least think twice before inflicting pain or death on someone else. Let today be the day that you take a stand against evil. You always have the ability to make a difference! Always!