On the Web I found a photo taken in Washington, at Richard Nixon's January 1969 inauguration. A notation says ten thousand people came out in the cold for this event. Two thousand were protesters. In the foreground, above the crowd, a young woman holds her handpainted sign. "PEACE IS NOT SUBVERSIVE". I read those words and forty years later they make me ask myself what exactly is different today? Is America a sleepwalking society? Quite often that's how it feels. I started blogging this thread, "the American assassinations", before reading that this week BBC News has alleged U.S. CIA involvement in the 1968 murder of Robert Kennedy. The report by Shane O'Sullivan appeared November 21, 2006 on BBC Newsnight. It is possible some in the US still really do not want to think of such things. The evening he was murdered Bobby Kennedy had just won California's Democratic Party primary and was on the verge of becoming the party nominee for president of the United States. How many of us ever stop to consider the implication of these multiple assassinations in the US? All the victims were male political figures and not one of them right wing. All this violence and death. The violent reversal of the politically possible. All in less than five years, from 1963 to '68. The Boomer generation. My generation. Multiple political murders shaped my generation of American youth. In the face of serial murders and assassinations, wouldn't coming-of-age somehow change? One devastating death followed by another and another. All in barely half a decade. All with deep social and political effects that remain today. Who talks about how these killings in the U.S. marked the baby boomer generation? Many of us weren't even 18 by the time we'd lived through all this. How many people, Americans and everyone, ever think about that? Had Robert Kennedy not been shot in the recesses of an L.A. hotel it is possible, even likely, he'd have become the 37th U.S. president. Is this the real reason he died? Indeed this 'alternate reality': had Bobby Kennedy been allowed to live, at the very least would have spared us who we got instead: Richard "I am not a crook" Nixon. Some of us remember -only too well- his other "name", "Tricky Dick". Tricky Dick Nixon. Before Robert it was his brother, our president, on a routine political visit to Dallas where he, too, was assassinated in November 1963. Fewer than nineteen months later it was Black American leader Malcolm X (Malcolm Little), shot so many times, by multiple gunmen, in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem. It was Sunday, 21 February 1965. In Pennsylvania my family heard the news on our car radio. This moment in my parents' car stays frozen in my mind. A sunny, early Sunday afternoon, right after church. I am in the back seat as we ride. The news comes on the radio as we're stopped at the light at East Market Street, heading north on South Queen. So much violence. And then barely three years later Martin Luther King is shot and killed, Thursday, April 4th, in Memphis, Tennessee. Then Robert Kennedy in Los Angeles on June 8th. Two more American assassinations less than eight weeks apart.