BOSTON (CBS) – It seems as if most of us are struggling to make sense of what has happened around here this week. However we might want to apply some context by comparing it with other mass murders, we can’t and shouldn’t compare the Marathon attack with anything else, at least not yet.

But I couldn’t help noticing that Tuesday, as we all reacted to the bombings, was the 50th anniversary of another reaction to another set of bombings, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous “Letter from Birmingham Jail.”

Listen to Jon’s commentary:

Dr. King had been locked up after leading non-violent protests against the culture of racial violence in Birmingham, Alabama, a place where the homes of local black families were firebombed at a rate of about one every other month. He found this intolerable.

So King and his allies fought back, using every legal and moral and economic tool they could find, and they set in motion the end of the corrupt, hate-filled power structure that had adopted violence as a way of life.

I see no reason why we cannot do the same.

Even as we do all we can to spot mass murderers – foreign or domestic – in advance and neutralize them, or, if they slip through, ensure they pay a terrible price for their crimes, we can also redouble our efforts to make so-called every day violence more rare.

There were 58 murders in Boston last year, a decline from previous years and considerably better than other comparable cities. But are we really willing to accept that when it should be every bit as unacceptable as this week’s murders?

While we’re at it, we should also address the morally bankrupt violence in our popular culture, just as Dr. King did when he attacked racism.

He gave our country hope back then, and he’s still a source of it now.

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.


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