"In your statement you assert that our actions, even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence. But is this a logical assertion? Isn't this like condemning a robbed man because his possession of money precipitated the evil act of robbery? Isn't this like condemning Socrates because his unswerving commitment to truth and his philosophical inquries precipitated the act by the misguided populance in which they made him drink hemlock? Isn't this llike condemning Jesus because his unique God-consciousness and never-ceasing devotion to God's will precipitated the evil act of of crucifixion? We must come to see that, as the federal courts have consistently affirmed, it is wrong to urge an individual to cease his efforts to gain his basic constitutional rights becaus the quest may precipitate violence. Society must protect the robbed and punish the robber."
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The clergymen's objection asserts that the actions of King and his followers "even though peaceful, must be condemned because they precipitate violence." King counters that peaceful acts which result in violence propogated by others are not the fault of the protestors, and that protests shouldn't be stiffled based upon the assumtion some other group will cause violence. One example he cites is that robbery is not precipitated by the victim..... having wealth is not an invitation for robbery....... nor is a non-violent demonstration an invitation for violence.
Letter From Birmingham Jail