“I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy.”

“Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK jr, and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours. Why? What do you get out of saying something pithy, and getting no credit for it? Perhaps they only wanted to say this thing, and knew that no one would pay attention unless it came from someone else. Or, perhaps they are getting a gargantuan kick out of seeing people repeat their lie ad infinitum. Either way, it seems strange to me.” — Megan McArdle, on that fake MLK quote that’s been going around in the wake of Osama’s death.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • BoredJewGuy May 8, 2011, 8:03 pm
  • Rosebud May 6, 2011, 7:02 pm

    Also of note: the reason the first sentence sounds like something MLK, Jr would say — and probably why it caught on so well — is that it is highly reminiscent of something said in a book MLK read quite often himself:

    "Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him." Proverbs 24:17-18

  • Rgofnj May 5, 2011, 9:05 am

    It gives haters an excuse to dismiss the message

  • Ken Lyneham May 5, 2011, 3:23 am

    The above header is incorrect it says, “Someone made up a quote, attributed it to MLK jr, and disseminated it widely, all within 24 hours. Why? What do you get out of saying something pithy, and getting no credit for it? Perhaps they only wanted to say this thing, and knew that no one would pay attention unless it came from someone else. Or, perhaps they are getting a gargantuan kick out of seeing people repeat their lie ad infinitum. Either way, it seems strange to me.”
    That person it seems was Jessica Dovey what she said was:- I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: Only love can do that." MLK jr. So she was correct MLK jr wrote what came after the first sentence. SHE was misquoted, not MLK jr.

  • Jeff Smith May 4, 2011, 7:48 pm

    The original statement was grammatically correct and quoted MLK accurately. Here is the link: http://i.imgur.com/cqtjw.jpg
    The idiots are the ones who make comments on something they haven't bothered to research or view first hand.

  • jennifer Smith May 4, 2011, 6:45 pm

    so who is the correct qouter?

  • Danette May 3, 2011, 9:09 pm

    It's not letting someone else do their thinking for them, the quote is incredibly profound. People reposted it because it moved them and its a beautiful way to think about all that's going on. There is a difference. The original poster should take a little more care. It's not his/her responsibility but making a little more of an effort to clarify wouldn't hurt either.

  • MegMaddog May 3, 2011, 8:29 pm

    Seriously. Someone simply copied a bit too much of someone's FB post and reposted because it rang true for them. The first line was someone's commentary/profile update. The quote IS MLK Jr.

  • Rachel May 3, 2011, 7:30 pm

    Does anyone know who did say the first line?

  • Liz May 3, 2011, 6:44 pm

    Who cares whether it was quoted correctly or not – the point is its spot on….

    • Devin May 3, 2011, 7:58 pm

      agreed. if it puts things into perspective so be it. i reposted this on my facebook because i recognized most of the quote as MLK. further unraveling showed error was there, but regardless, the truth still resonates. what's interesting is people seem to be more interested in debating how the mistake was made than simply taking it as a common error that could and most likely will in some way happen to most of us.

      • devin May 3, 2011, 7:59 pm

        ^notice the bad grammar/puncuation*

  • legalbeagle May 3, 2011, 3:22 pm

    Everything but the first sentence IS a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is in his book Strength to Love written in 1963.

  • Dingo May 3, 2011, 12:57 pm

    I am so glad I'm not the only one that notices things like placement of quotation marks. I'm disappointed that so many people balked at a great quote because people mistakenly quoted the original poster's sentiment before an actual quote. It doesn't make the meaning behind it any less valid.

    • Rebecca May 4, 2011, 3:04 am

      Dingo, I fully agree with you….the sentiment is there, and to spread such a beautiful message over the web is wonderful. I can't believe the backlash over such a timely message, unless they were rejoicing in the death and were stopped cold in their tracks by the quote. Feeling somewhat bad for rejoicing in the death of one, they lashed out at the messengers who spread this amazing sentiment, saying that people need to think for themselves, etc. Well, sometimes you come across a message that is said so perfectly and you resonate so fully with it, that it is complete all by itself and no change is necessary. I love inspirational and thoughtful quotes…and this one more than made its point.

  • jamesfurbush May 3, 2011, 12:09 pm

    The three of you are exactly why I love the Internet. Great stuff and information added.

  • sean May 3, 2011, 11:53 am

    you say it wasn't intended to be attributed to MLK Jr, but when I looked at the screen shot you posted, after the quote it actually says "MLK jr." So it seems to be very intentional.

    • anonymous May 3, 2011, 12:20 pm

      the phrase in question is divided by a quotation mark from what king actually said.

    • j'ronimo May 3, 2011, 12:24 pm

      look at where the quotations begin.

    • cindi May 3, 2011, 12:29 pm

      The quoted part is properly "quoted" and attributed to MKL jr. And the questioned first statement is very intentionally not put in quotes.

    • Mcel May 3, 2011, 12:35 pm

      It was a quote before his quote. The MLK quote does not include the first statement. But it's easy to see how they accidentally got run together

  • Jeff M. May 3, 2011, 9:48 am

    As for the second part of the quotation that is circling the internet, it seems to come either from King's book Where Do We Go From Here or Strength to Love or both.

    In Where Do We Go From Here he writes, "Are we seeking power for power's sake? Or are we seeking to make the world and our nation better places to live. If we seek the later, violence can never provide the answer. The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. So it goes. Returning violence for violence multiples violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that. The beauty of nonviolence is that in its own way and in its own time it seeks to break the chain reaction of evil." (pp. 64-65).

    • JRO May 3, 2011, 3:32 pm

      Thank you! I ALWAYS research before I repost quotes, so I was pleased to find your response. 🙂

    • Jun-Woo Kim May 5, 2011, 11:45 am

      Thank you Jeff M. Your contribution greatly appreciated!