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chonce Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 02:33 PM
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63. From The Boston Globe
MICHAEL CORCORAN
Why Kent State is important today
By Michael Corcoran | May 4, 2006

THIRTY-SIX years ago today, Ohio National Guardsmen shot 13 college students at Kent State University who were protesting US incursions into Cambodia as part of the Vietnam War. Nine victims survived, including one who is confined to a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Four students -- Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, and Sandy Scheuer -- were killed.

The students were unarmed, and the closest was more than 60 feet away from the Guard at the time of the shooting. There was no warning shot; the National Guard never issued an apology; and no one ever spent a day in jail for the killings despite the fact that the President's Commission on Campus Unrest, appointed by President Nixon in 1970, found the shootings to be ''unwarranted and inexcusable."

Yearly, since the tragedy, Kent State students, alumni, and others have met on the anniversary of the shooting to reflect and remember. Alan Canfora, who was shot by the Guard, says, ''The students today act as the conscience of the college, and the country . . . just like the students did in 1970."

This year's memorial will come, as the last three have, in the midst of a war that has become increasingly divisive. While the memory of Kent State and other violent clashes from that time between protesters and authorities did not deter the incumbent president from leading the country into another unpopular war, it is important to honor Kent State's spirit of dissent and what it taught about the bloody consequences of intense division.

Halfway across the country, the lessons of Kent State are taught each semester in debate classes at Emerson College. J. Gregory Payne, associate professor of organizational and political communication and a Kent State historian, has been teaching students about history, advocacy, and rhetoric through the lens of Kent State for decades.

According to Payne, remembering this tragedy is important because ''Kent State is not about the past -- it's about the future."

Consider the similarities: In 1970, just as today, we had an unpopular president carrying out an unpopular war for questionable reasons.

Richard Nixon and George W. Bush embody many of the same divisive characteristics. Bush tells the world: ''You are with us or you are with the terrorists." Nixon's public statement after the shootings blamed the students: ''When dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy."

Again our civil liberties are being threatened. Bush has ordered the wiretapping of US citizens without a warrant and holds detainees indefinitely without trial; Nixon was spying on student activists and what he called ''domestic radicals."

But, perhaps the most telling comparison is the sharp division within the nation, both then and now. Americans are now, as we were then, split to the core on matters of war and peace, life and death, and cultural values. The President's Commission concluded it was ''the most divisive time in American history since the civil war." Bill Schroeder's parents received signed letters after the shooting saying, among other things, that their ''riot-making, communist son" deserved to die.

Today antiwar protesters are unfairly discredited by the administration as they were in 1970. When Cindy Sheehan took antiwar positions after her 24-year-old son, Casey Sheehan, died in Iraq, she was smeared by pundits like Bill O'Reilly, who said she was a pawn of ''far-left elements that are using her" and that Sheehan was ''dumb" enough to let them do it.

Of course, the absence of a draft now and its presence then may explain why the antiwar movement during the Vietnam War had a greater intensity then it does now. Still, as the protests in New York City last week indicate, the longer the war in Iraq drags on, the more vehement the opposition seems to get.

Musicians, once again, are singing songs of dissent. Last Friday Neil Young, who in 1970 wrote ''Ohio" in reaction to the shootings, began streaming a new antiwar album ''Living with War" for free on his website. Days later, Pearl Jam also released an album made up entirely of protest music.

My generation can't ignore the lessons of Kent State. The same mindset and failure in leadership that led National Guardsmen to fire at students of the same age and from the same Ohio hometowns is similar to what led US soldiers to torture detainees in Iraq.

Kent State should remind us of what happens when a grossly misguided war divides a country. If we can speak candidly and openly about our history and our present -- even the worst elements of it -- then we can ensure that the lives lost on May 4, 1970, were not in vain.

Michael Corcoran is a journalism major at Emerson College.
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  -"They Just Started Shooting Us Down" -- Kent State kainah  May-03-06 03:06 PM   #0 
  - Those "twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen" are PIGS...  AX10   May-03-06 03:07 PM   #1 
  - Ohio nat.guard  spag68   May-03-06 03:16 PM   #3 
     - I am in sympathy with the NG, but not with the OIC.  flamin lib   May-03-06 03:23 PM   #5 
     - What the fuck??!!  LoZoccolo   May-03-06 04:01 PM   #18 
        - I don't know your history or experience but being in a situation like  flamin lib   May-03-06 04:34 PM   #23 
           - can't agree with you on this  kainah   May-03-06 04:41 PM   #24 
           - no one was killed in a dorm  kainah   May-03-06 04:45 PM   #25 
           - On reflection you are right--no deaths is dorms.  flamin lib   May-03-06 05:03 PM   #31 
           - I know Joe Lewis personally  Steve_DeShazer   May-03-06 07:37 PM   #44 
           - Giving the Finger Does Not Justify Shooting & Killing  AuntiBush   May-04-06 08:55 AM   #57 
           - I've been in one and cops on cycles just started to 'mow us over'  katty   May-03-06 06:45 PM   #42 
           - Bull,They had a personal vendetta,They took aim at at least two of them.  DianaForRussFeingold   May-04-06 04:48 PM   #68 
     - They were murdering bastards  DELUSIONAL   May-03-06 03:30 PM   #6 
     - No effort was made to make the murdering bastards pay  kainah   May-03-06 03:47 PM   #12 
     - agree in part and disagree in part  kainah   May-03-06 03:44 PM   #11 
     - Actually, they were fascists and pigs.  LoZoccolo   May-03-06 03:53 PM   #14 
     - If you are going to be "shitting in your pants" then.....  AX10   May-03-06 05:48 PM   #36 
     - Thanks for that Tidbit  AuntiBush   May-04-06 08:53 AM   #56 
  - K&R - Thank you for posting this!  Cooley Hurd   May-03-06 03:09 PM   #2 
  - I was stationed in Ft Lee, VA at the time and assigned to a  flamin lib   May-03-06 03:19 PM   #4 
  - weekend warriors' blood would have mixed  kainah   May-03-06 03:52 PM   #13 
  - No, I mean that the BFD would probably defended the students.  flamin lib   May-03-06 04:21 PM   #21 
     - thanks for the explanation n/t  kainah   May-03-06 04:47 PM   #26 
     - How would the BFD have stopped the National Guard from...  AX10   May-03-06 05:50 PM   #37 
        - If BFD was on site the OIC would have been in command.  flamin lib   May-03-06 06:14 PM   #38 
           - Thank you for the explanation.  AX10   May-03-06 06:23 PM   #40 
  - There were soldiers who were angry about the shooting?  AX10   May-03-06 05:46 PM   #35 
  - Yeah. Soldiers were angry The military isn't a monolithic entity.  flamin lib   May-03-06 06:31 PM   #41 
  - Tienanmen Square was similar to our Bonus March of 1932  EVDebs   May-04-06 09:52 AM   #59 
  - IMHO it was the decisive squirmish of the Vietnam War.  HereSince1628   May-03-06 03:30 PM   #7 
  - I was a kid and remember that day.  Sequoia   May-03-06 03:30 PM   #8 
  - A terrible day on a campus where I'd spent much time. Students  sinkingfeeling   May-03-06 03:35 PM   #9 
  - I also saw that about SDS  kainah   May-03-06 03:54 PM   #15 
  - I just gave you the 5th vote.  Sequoia   May-03-06 03:42 PM   #10 
  - thanks  kainah   May-03-06 03:57 PM   #16 
     - I read your thread  jbnow   May-03-06 09:57 PM   #47 
        - isn't really any explanation  kainah   May-04-06 01:13 AM   #51 
  - The murders at Kent State and Jackson State effectively shut down  T Wolf   May-03-06 03:59 PM   #17 
  - exactly right  kainah   May-03-06 04:51 PM   #27 
  - wrong  annabanana   May-04-06 05:24 AM   #53 
  - Tanks for the memories  tech3149   May-03-06 04:04 PM   #19 
  - My Kent State Page  lfairban   May-03-06 04:21 PM   #20 
  - I'm sure they still have the vigil  kainah   May-03-06 04:55 PM   #29 
  - Wow. This is an amazing post.  RandomKoolzip   May-03-06 04:30 PM   #22 
  - thanks  kainah   May-03-06 04:56 PM   #30 
  - What's the difference  edwardlindy   May-03-06 04:54 PM   #28 
  - Being Born A Boomer Hasn't Been All Beer and Skittles  Demeter   May-03-06 05:11 PM   #32 
  - I always heard they were "fatigued"  TorchesAndPitchforks   May-03-06 05:40 PM   #33 
  - yes  kainah   May-03-06 06:23 PM   #39 
  - Another K&R.  flamin lib   May-03-06 05:41 PM   #34 
  - VERY impressive work you've done on this!  vickitulsa   May-03-06 07:17 PM   #43 
  - Thanks, VickiTulsa for this  kainah   May-03-06 08:36 PM   #45 
     - Eerie parallel in my life to your mother's comment.  vickitulsa   May-03-06 10:39 PM   #49 
  - Wow, great post....... I was a senior in college and just got reclassified  RedEarth   May-03-06 09:43 PM   #46 
  - Incredible post! Fascinating...  Iowa   May-03-06 10:14 PM   #48 
  - my attitude toward the National Guard  kainah   May-04-06 01:26 AM   #52 
  - Thank you for doing this, for those of us who will never forget & those...  uppityperson   May-04-06 12:12 AM   #50 
  - It was a turning point in my life  ktlyon   May-04-06 06:59 AM   #54 
  - Sixty-Seven Rounds - Shew.  AuntiBush   May-04-06 08:44 AM   #55 
  - sit and wait for 13 seconds  kainah   May-04-06 12:55 PM   #60 
  - Moderator, related link, please merge ?  EVDebs   May-04-06 09:48 AM   #58 
  - at the very least  kainah   May-04-06 12:58 PM   #61 
  - I hope you're writing a book about this.  arikara   May-04-06 01:48 PM   #62 
  - a book  kainah   May-04-06 02:45 PM   #64 
  - From The Boston Globe  chonce   May-04-06 02:33 PM   #63 
  - Greg Payne  kainah   May-04-06 02:48 PM   #65 
     - J Gregory Payne  chonce   May-04-06 04:09 PM   #66 
        - thanks!  kainah   May-04-06 04:26 PM   #67 
  - Thanks, kainah, for these threads. Question - what book (or books)  kath   May-05-06 12:09 AM   #69 
  - The Truth About Kent State by Peter Davies  kainah   May-05-06 01:15 AM   #71 
     - Thanks very much.  kath   May-05-06 12:25 PM   #72 
  - Can never forget Kent State student murders...!  Imagevision   May-05-06 12:50 AM   #70 
  - kick  rman   May-06-06 06:47 AM   #73 
  - ttt !!  Blue_Tires   May-06-06 10:31 AM   #74 
  - Ohio , Buffalo SpringField Music Video 'Four Dead In Ohio'  DianaForRussFeingold   May-23-06 08:13 AM   #75 
 

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