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Letters to the Editor: I was there the night RFK was murdered. Sirhan Sirhan should never be released

A memorial to Robert F. Kennedy stands at the former site of the Ambassador Hotel
A memorial to Robert F. Kennedy stands at the former site of the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard, where he was killed in June 1968.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: I heartily applaud Gov. Gavin Newsom’s decision to overturn the state parole board’s recommendation to allow Sirhan Sirhan to leave prison. While the wanton murder of any innocent person is horrendous to family members and friends, the murder of Robert F. Kennedy in 1968 was horrendous to our nation and the world.

Kennedy had an excellent chance of winning that year’s election. As president, he would have ended our involvement in Vietnam sooner than President Nixon did. He would have tried to bring Black America and white America together and pursued policies to reduce the gap between rich and poor.

Without Nixon as president, there would have been no Watergate. Without Nixon as president, there would not have been a “Southern Strategy” that exploited racial divides for political gain. One could reasonably argue that this different trajectory would have prevented a Trump presidency.

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I was one of the many student volunteers for RFK who worked to get out the vote for him in the California primary. After the polls closed on June 4, 1968, I went to the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, where the Kennedy victory party was being held. I remember hearing his final speech. I also remember seeing his brother-in-law Steve Smith at the podium pleading for a doctor.

That evening is seared into my consciousness. So, the fact that Sirhan has been a “good” inmate in prison and mouthed insincere regret for his deed — which, according to him, he may or may not have done — is woefully insufficient to warrant parole.

Andrew C. Sigal, Van Nuys

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To the editor: I commend Newsom for his well-reasoned denial of parole for Sirhan. It’s difficult to comprehend why two of the late senator’s children would ever support the release of a man who murdered their father, whether or not he had ever expressed regret or taken responsibility for doing so.

Furthermore, it’s flabbergasting that the parole board would consider Sirhan a suitable candidate for release when he has claimed innocence and failed to express sincere remorse for the murder he committed and its profound impact on the Kennedy family and the political future of the United States.

Thank you, Gov. Newsom.

Marcia Goodman, Long Beach

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To the editor: Thank you, Gov. Newsom, for your insightful reasoning behind refusing Sirhan’s parole. We can all use some level-headed thinking these days.

Kimberley Hieatt, Playa del Rey


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