Prosecutors and defense lawyers agreed on at least one thing during Sirhan's trial: He remembered absolutely nothing about the shooting and was not faking his total lack of recall. That fact has always caused critics to wonder whether Sirhan had been hypnotized before his actions at the Ambassador Hotel.
Then there is the matter of bullets. How many were actually fired?
Sirhan's gun contained eight.
Four shots were fired at the Senator; five other people were injured.
One of the others was struck by two bullets.
The FBI, in its compilation of evidence, circled two bullet holes in a nearby door frame. The LA Police Department claimed those markings had been caused by kitchen carts - then destroyed the door frames because they didn't fit into a file folder.
Did Sirhan fire the fatal bullet? Is the evidence against him clear and convincing? Should an independent investigation be conducted to fairly, and objectively, assess what happened? Or should the jury's verdict against Sirhan - based on the evidence which was presented to them - be the final word? Would Bobby - a department of justice official who once brokered a secret deal allowing two opposing countries to save face - think an independent investigation was needed?
And what of today's political climate? Were Bobby still alive, he would likely look to Aeschylus - poet-warrior, survivor of the battle of Marathon - to make sense of life inside - and outside - his own country. One can almost hear him say these words in a speech about American politics:
There is no hope nor future
For a land
Whose mind is split
Into two, and where each half
Strives only to destroy the other.
Give Athens a single mind, a whole mind,
As a marriage
Gives to two strangers
(Oresteia, Ted Hughes translation, page 191)
And ... one can almost hear him say these words in a speech about international relations:
But the time of brute force
The day of reasoned persuasion,
With its long vision
With its mercy, its forgiveness,
The word hurled in anger shall be caught
In a net of gentle words,
Words of quiet strength.
The angry mouth shall be given a full hearing.
I understand your fury.
But the vendetta cannot end,
The bloody weapon cannot be set aside
Till all understand it.
(Oresteia, Ted Hughes translation, page 185)
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