On June 4th, 1968, I took my last final exam for my senior year in college.The following morning, I awoke early.I’m not sure of the time, but it was still dark outside.I walked to the doorway of the dining room and saw my mother sitting in front of the television.She looked up at me and said, “Bobby’s been shot.”
In 1968, the name Bobby was understood, as a part of normal conversation, to refer to Bobby Kennedy.I looked down at the floor and said, “Why?”I suppose it was a rhetorical question.My mother didn’t answer.“Is he okay?” I asked.
“I don’t know yet.”
“Did they catch the shooter?”
She replied, “Rosey Grier took him down.”Roosevelt Grier had been a member of the Fearsome Foursome — the defensive line for the Los Angeles Rams, and was with Bobby at the time.
I walked into the dining room and sat down beside my mother as the news coverage unfolded.A Busboy, Juan Romero, had knelt beside the fallen Bobby and given him a rosary.Bobby was heard to say, “Is everyone okay?”
Why, Bobby?Why couldn’t you say something human?“Get me a doctor,” or “I need help.”Why did you have to be the god of compassion at that moment in time?
A candlelight vigil formed outside Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles where Bobby had been taken.“Do you want to join the vigil?” my mother asked.
I shook my head.“God doesn’t pay much attention to my prayers.”
I walked into the kitchen, poured a cup of coffee and thought, “Do not go gentle into that good night, Bobby Kennedy.”