Mumia and King: Oakland Unified School District’s Effort to Equate Them and Their Respective Causes Sullies the Memory of Dr. King and Gives Mumia Entirely Too Much Credit
By Ken K. Gourdin
If a reader has followed this blog for any length of time, one need not read very much of it to conclude that, despite his imperfections, I am a great admirer of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King. See, for example, the following:
Ken K. Gourdin (August 29, 2013) “In Honor of MLK on the 50th Anniversary of His “I Have A Dream” Speech” (Blog post), available on line at the following address, last accessed July 30, 2014:
Ken K. Gourdin (July 6, 2013) “Living Up to American Ideals” (Blog post), available on line at the following address, last accessed on July 30, 2014: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/living-up-to-american-ideals/.
Ken K. Gourdin (January 29, 2013) “We are all beneficiaries of Dr. King’s vision,” The Tooele Transcript-Bulletin A4, available on line at the following address and last accessed on July 30, 2014: http://www.etypeservices.com/SWF/LocalUser/Tooele1/Magazine21925/Publication/Magazine21925.pdf. (This is an entire edition of a newspaper, so it does take quite some time to load.)
Ken K. Gourdin (January 25, 2013) “Reflections for MLK Day: May Our Grasp on Dr. King’s Vision, However Seemingly Tenuous, Not Weaken Further” (Blog post), available on line at the following address and last accessed on July 30, 2014: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2013/01/25/in-honor-of-mlk-jr/.
Ken K. Gourdin (August 8, 2012) “The King Legend Lives On,” The Dixie Sun, St. George, Utah: Dixie College 10, available on line at the following address and last accessed on July 30, 2014: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2012/08/08/in-praise-of-mlk-jr/.
Conversely, because I am the son of a career law enforcement officer who spent 43 years on the job, one also need not read very much of what I have written to realize that I hold law enforcement in general in high esteem. Thus, I am not apt to brook the transformation of someone who has been convicted of killing a police officer into a martyr and a hero, as so many have done with Mumia Abu-Jamal, who was convicted of killing Philadelphia Police Officer Daniel Faulkner in 1982. For more of my thoughts on Mumia’s heinous crime, see the following:
Ken K. Gourdin (March 11, 2014) “Senate was right to reject [Obama] nominee,” Tooele Transcript-Bulletin A5, available on line at the following address (subscription required) and last accessed on July 30, 2014: http://www.tooeleonline.com/senate-was-right-to-reject-adegbile-nominee/.
Ken K. Gourdin (March 15, 2014) “Adegbile Nomination to Head the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division is More Proof That Obama Doesn’t Hold Law Enforcement in High Esteem” (Blog post) available on line at the following address and last accessed July 30, 2014: https://greatgourdini.wordpress.com/2014/03/15/senate-right-to-reject-adegbile-nomination/.
I rue the fact that militancy of the flavor of Malcolm X won out over the peaceful resistance of Dr. King, but at least the former (along with those who cast their lot with him) saw his tactics as being employed in the service of larger sociopolitical goals. By contrast, despite the fervent claims of his numerous acolytes to the contrary, however, Mumia is nothing but a mere criminal – a serious criminal (a felon) and a cop killer, to be sure, but nonetheless, nothing more than a mere criminal.
Given my affinity for Dr. King as contrasted with my antipathy toward Mumia, it shouldn’t be surprising to learn that I reject out of hand any effort to draw even a rough equivalency between the two, their methods, or the justness of their respective causes. Yet the Oakland, Calif. Unified School District has attempted to do exactly that. See, e.g., here, last accessed July 30, 2014: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/04/14/lesson-plan-asking-students-to-compare-mlk-mumia-abu-jamal-blasted-as-disgrace/. (Curiously, the link to the lesson plan contained in the article is no longer active, and even going to the main site and searching for the lesson plan yields no results.)