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On MLK Day, we need to heed message

As we continue to recover from the Jan. 6 attacks by government protestors on the Capitol, there is no better time to reflect on the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King.

King understood the importance of peaceful protest and the ramifications of unlawful complaint.

On the day of his assassination in April 1968, he was in Memphis, Tenn., to support the efforts of striking sanitation workers, but that didn’t include bludgeoning that city’s governmental chambers or erecting gallows as evidence of lawless intent or insurrection.

King, whose actual Jan. 15 birth date will be commemorated by Monday’s national holiday, demonstrated his worthiness for such an honor because of his long, dedicated, positive efforts in regard to a worthy cause — civil rights for Black people and all others.

The out-of-control individuals who stormed the Capitol in Washington on Jan. 6 never will be accorded such an honor.

They will instead be branded accurately in history books as criminals, and it is to be hoped that the number of rioters arrested and sentenced to stern punishment in the days, weeks and months ahead will dwarf any mass roundup of criminals that this nation ever has witnessed.

Those who would attempt to destroy national order and, in effect, shred the constitution, likewise don’t deserve any of the benefits of citizenship, including the right to hold public office and the Social Security payments Americans receive when they retire.

King, as pillar of nonviolent activism, delivered a message relevant today amid the crisis and unrest currently gripping this country.

On the day he died, in what turned out to be his final speech, he told striking sanitation workers that “I’ve been to the mountaintop” and “seen the Promised Land … we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.”

Achieving such an objective won’t be easy using the horrific methods, tactics and abject revolt displayed Jan. 6, rather than the productive means that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. advocated and practiced.

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