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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:06 PM
Original message
"They Just Started Shooting Us Down" -- Kent State
Edited on Wed May-03-06 03:39 PM by kainah
At 12:24 PM on Monday, May 4, 1970, twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen pivoted 135 degrees and began shooting into a crowd of student protesters at Kent State University. By the time the shooting ended thirteen seconds later, the guardsmen had fired sixty-seven rounds and four students lay dead or dying with at least another nine having been shot. How did this confrontation happen? And what caused the Guard to open fire? 36 years later, many of the answers are still unclear.

In Part I of this series, we looked at Nixon's curiously timed announcement of the Cambodian invasion and the May Day rally at Yale University. Part II examined the events of that weekend at Kent. This, Part III, explores the events of May 4. The final diary in the series will focus on the legal aftermath.

In memory of Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, and Sandy Scheuer, join me in exploring the events of May 4.

Most of the links in this diary are photos, so if you want to see what was happening, click a link!



(This map will also help to keep you oriented. The arrows indicate the route the Guard took on campus that day. The spray of lighter lines indicates the direction of the shots.)


Monday, May 4, 1970 dawned sunny and deceptively calm. Anger over the invasion of Cambodia had faded into the background. That Monday, Kent State students were angry at what they saw as the occupation of their campus back by the National Guard. They wanted their campus back. Many attended the noon rally, announced the previous Friday, hoping to get some answers. They wanted to find out what was going on and when the Guard would leave. At least one professor encouraged his students to go to the rally for this reason. Other students, crossing the Commons between classes, got caught up in events. Although officials later asserted that all gatherings had been banned, classes were scheduled as usual, although a few got cancelled due to fake bomb scares.

By noon, about two thousand students had gathered on the Commons. Some 80-90% of them were spectators. The Scranton Commission, later convened by Nixon to investigate campus disturbances nationwide, determined the Kent State protest began as a peaceful gathering.

Facing students from the charred remains of the ROTC building were Companies A and C of the 145th Infantry and Troop G of the 107th Armored Cavalry, under the command of Major Harry Jones and General Robert Canterbury. Canterbury, who had been meeting with KSU and Kent city officials, arrived too late to don his uniform. At that meeting, Canterbury said later that a decision had been reached to ban the noon rally. No one, however, would later admit having made this decision which the Scranton Commission called a serious error. Nonetheless, at 11:50 AM, KSU policeman Harold Rice ordered the crowd to disperse. With that announcement, this peaceful rally did become illegal. However, since few students heard the announcement, Gen. Canterbury ordered Rice to take a jeep into the crowd and repeat it. Meanwhile, the guardsmen were ordered to lock and load their weapons.

The crowd reacted angrily to what they considered an unnecessary suspension of their first amendment right to assemble. Demonstrators began chanting: Pigs off campus and One, two, three, four, we dont want your fucking war. Students pelted Rices jeep with rocks. As the hostility increased, Major Jones walked out across the field and pulled Rice back. The Guard then began firing tear gas and, soon thereafter, the skirmish line marched out. When someone pleaded with Canterbury not to advance his units, the general replied, These students are going to have to find out what law and order is all about.

Tear gas sent the students running but brisk winds blew much of it back at the troops. As the crowd moved off the Commons, some demonstrators hurled rocks and spent tear gas canisters. Pursued by Company A and Troop G, most students retreated over Blanket Hill. At the crest of the hill, they passed an umbrella-like structure known as the Pagoda. When Allison Krause reached the Pagoda, she paused, turned and yelled an obscenity. (Krause is to the immediate right of the structure in this photo. She is holding hands with her boyfriend.) Her father would always believe that, at that moment, she sealed her fate. After crossing the hill, many students gathered on the veranda of Taylor Hall which housed the school of journalism. Another group continued down the hill to the Prentice Hall parking lot.

General Canterbury later said his mission had been simply to clear the Commons but, when he reached the top of Blanket Hill, he decided to push the demonstrators beyond a practice field some eighty yards below the crest of the hill. Therefore, after cresting the hill, he ordered his troops down the slope of the hill and onto the practice field.

The Scranton Commission later called Canterburys decision to abandon his commanding position on Blanket Hill highly questionable. The practice field where the troops came to rest was bounded by a six-foot-high fence on its north and east sides. Its south end sloped down to another part of campus. To the west, from which the troops had come, the students quickly reformed. In effect, the guardsmen were now boxed in by fences, topography and students.

About fifty students gathered in the parking lot, closest to the guardsmen, now markedly increased their harassment. Alan Canfora waved a black flag. Jeffrey Miller hurled a spent tear gas canister. Dean Kahler threw a stone. Some guardsmen also threw rocks and spent canisters.

Then, suddenly, members of Troop G knelt and aimed their rifles at the students in the parking lot. Although they did open fire at this point, a subsequent Justice Department investigation determined that one person, however, probably an officer, at this point did fire a pistol in the air. No guardsman admits firing this shot. The day after the shootings, a spent .22-caliber casing was found near the edge of the field. Since only Major Jones carried such a weapon, this casing likely came from his gun although he never admitted firing a shot.

Ten tense minutes passed while the guardsmen held their untenable position on the practice field. Officers finally huddled and then ordered their troops to retreat. According to General Canterbury, who denied that he ever took control of the troops that day, the withdrawal was ordered to make it clear beyond any doubt to the mob that our posture was now defensive and that we were returning to the Commons, thus reducing the possibility of injury to either soldiers or students. As the guard marched up the hill, they continued to watch the students in the parking lot.

Some demonstrators increased their harassment during the retreat. A few advanced boldly, then retreated. Throughout, however, few students got within 50 feet of the guardsmen. Some threw rocks but almost all of those fell short. One photo taken seconds before the shooting erupted shows that many of the students closest to the guard line were carrying books. (Remember, classes were still going on.)

As the soldiers crested the hill, their forward path remained unimpeded. But, at 12:24 PM, as they crested Blanket Hill, members of Troop G suddenly wheeled 135 degrees, rushed a few feet back to the crest of the hill, and opened fire. The shooting lasted an interminable thirteen seconds and, when it was over, at least 13 students had been shot.

At first, many students thought the guardsmen were firing blanks. But the sights and sounds around them quickly convinced them otherwise. When people saw the river of blood flowing from Jeff Miller's head, reality hit home. The closest fatality, Jeff was standing 265 feet from the guardsmen when a bullet slammed into his mouth and killed him instantly.

The other casualties included: Joseph Lewis, Jr., standing some 60 to 70 feet away, was shot in the abdomen and lower leg. Joe would admit later that he had been giving the guardsmen the finger when they shot him. As he lay wounded, the second shot him in the leg. John Cleary, 110 feet away, was shot in the chest. 200 feet away, Tom Grace, suffered a shot to the foot. Alan Canfora, who had taunted the guard with his black flag, was 225 feet away and hiding behind a tree when a shot ripped through his wrist. Dean Kahler was lying prone 300 feet away when he was shot in the back and permanently paralyzed. Kahler, a conscientious objector, had been home that weekend celebrating his birthday. Douglas Wrentmore, 329 feet away, was shot in his knee. Allison Krause, who had taunted the Guard at the Pagoda, was 343 feet away when the shooting broke out. She and her boyfriend, Barry, hid behind a car. After the shooting ended, Barry thought everything was OK until Allison whispered, "I'm hit." The bullet had entered her armpit and ripped through most of her major organs. She died en route to the hospital. Jim Russell was ninety degrees removed from the others but still 375 feet away when he was slightly wounded in the thigh and forehead by buckshot. William Schroeder, who was attending Kent on a ROTC scholarship, was shot in the lower back when he was 382 feet away. The bullet exited his shoulder. Bill survived the trip to the hospital but died as he was being wheeled into an operating room. Sandra Scheuer, walking to her next class, was 390 feet from the guard when a bullet severed her jugular vein. She bled to death in the parking lot. Robbie Stamps, about 500 feet away, was shot in the right buttock. Donald Scott MacKenzie was 730 feet away when a bullet struck him in the neck and exited his cheek. MacKenzie would almost certainly have been killed had the bullet that hit him not been deflected prior to the strike. (Some believe MacKenzie was struck by the bullet that passed through Sandy Scheuer's neck.)

Immediately after the shootings ended, an eerie silence fell over the scene. Then, as the guard turned on their heels and began marching back to the Commons, students began screaming and trying, to the best of their ability, to protect and treat the wounded. Ambulances soon arrived to carry off the dead and wounded while the students regathered on the Commons and the Guardsmen threatened to march out again. Finally, Professor Glenn Frank tearfully appealed to the students to listen to him, "even if you've never listened to anyone in your whole lives." Please disperse, Frank pleaded, because otherwise there would be another massacre. Few who heard Frank's appeal would ever forget it. Slowly, in confusion, the kids left the Commons and shortly thereafter, the campus was closed for the semester. Within hours, most Kent State students had left town, catching rides out of town however they could.

**************

Why did the guardsmen fire? Almost every student later interviewed said the soldiers had no reason to shoot. Some guardsmen claimed they fired out of fear for their lives. Sergeant Lloyd Thomas, stating his belief that there was a real possibility that I could be injured, said he fired strictly to issue a scare tactic, you know, like showing power with a big noise. Staff Sergeant Barry Morris said the students were bent on overtaking us. I was scared to death. Specialist Fourth Class Ralph Zoller agreed: I thought they were going to overtake us.

Sergeant Shafer, the only guardsman to admit firing intentionally at a specific individual, fired once into the air before he saw Joe Lewis with one hand behind his back and the other gesturing obscenely. I felt not knowing if this person was going to inflict harm on us or myself I had to use what abilities I had to stop this person. I fired at him. Says Lewis: I was standing still, giving the finger. I was eighteen and arrogant and foolish and I was shot. All of the photos taken immediately before the shooting prove there was no rush of students bearing down on the guardsmen.

Some speculate that a small group of guardsmen conspired to open fire because they were fed up with the demonstrators rock-throwing and taunts. Another possible explanation that an order to fire was given has consistently been denied by Guard officers. No evidence exists to refute this nor does any evidence support the idea that the guardsmen fired out of panic. Considering the simultaneous whirling around of the guardsmen just as the firing started, had they reacted in panic, it's likely that at least some guardsmen would also have been struck. Nonetheless, it is almost certain that some guardsmen did fire after hearing the initial volley in the belief that an order must have been given.

At least six guardsmen later told the FBI that the lives of the members of the Guard were not in danger and it was not a shooting situation. Nevertheless, General Canterbury defended the firing as self-defense: Guardsmen on the right flank were in serious danger of bodily harm and death as the mob continued to charge. I felt that, in view of the extreme danger to the troops at this point, that they were justified in firing.

Photographs refute this argument. Although Troop G, responsible for most of the gunfire, was guarding the right flank, they ignored the largest group of student on that side those in front of Taylor Hall. Instead, they fired on the much smaller, more vocal, and more distant students in the Prentice Hall parking lot. The most compelling evidence to refute the claim of self-defense is the distances at which the victims fell.

The Photographer With A Gun

Another theory advanced immediately after the shootings claimed the guardsmen fired in response to a sniper. This was the rationale offered Monday night by Adjutant General Sylvester Del Corso. Staff Sergeant Barry Morris claimed he heard a shot from behind: It was not a clear loud crack like it would have been if it had been fired out in the open. Sergeant Shafer, the only guardsman to admit firing intentionally at a specific individual, initially agreed: We got over the crest of the hill. There was a single shot. It was impossible to hear what was going on. Although the sniper theory was quickly abandoned and never thoroughly investigated, evidence exists to suggest that someone other than a guardsman may indeed have fired a weapon that day.

After the firing ceased, the Guard marched back to their original position around the burned-out ROTC building. Within minutes, a young man carrying a gun, a camera, and a gas mask ran over the hill, pursued by another person, yelling, Stop that man. He has a gun. He fired four shots.

Terry Norman, the youth with the gun, was a 22-year-old occasional student at Kent State and a free-lance photographer whose primary interest seemed to be taking photos of campus demonstrations. Apparently, at various times, he worked for the campus police, the FBI, or both. Before the May 4 demonstration, Sergeant Mike Delaney, press liaison for the Guard, had initially refused to issue Norman a press pass because Norman lacked the proper credentials. A campus liaison offered to vouch for Norman but that didn't sway Delaney. He finally relented only after the campus police intervened, saying that Norman was under contract to the FBI to take pictures. When Norman reached the Guard line after the shootings, Delaney heard him exclaim: I had to shoot! They would have killed me.

Several students later told the FBI they saw Norman fire his weapon. After stopping at the guard line, Norman was quickly surrounded by the KSU police. KSU policeman Tom Kelly took possession of Normans gun, a .38-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver. NBC reporter Fred DeBrine saw Kelly make a movement, which resembled the action taken when opening the cylinder on a revolver and heard the policeman exclaim, My God, he fired dour shots! What do we do now? Later, however, Kelly claimed that Norman's gun was fully loaded and had not been fired. In any case, the KSU policemen quickly hustled Norman away from the scene.

Curiously, when the FBI received Norman's gun, the cartridges they found in the cylinder came from five different manufacturers, leading many to believe that the gun was quickly reloaded with whatever bullets were handy. The FBI agents also concluded that the gun had been fired since its last cleaning, although they could not say when. Three years later, as the House of Representatives threatened to investigate the Kent State shootings, FBI director Clarence Kelley finally revealed that Terry Norman had indeed been on the FBI payroll. On April 29, 1970 a mere 5 days before the shootings he had received a cash payment of $125 for information which he voluntarily provided to the FBI concerning activities of the National Socialist White Peoples Party. Normans connection to the FBI almost certainly explains why he was never subjected to further scrutiny and why his possible role in the shootings was summarily dismissed by the official investigations. Norman later stated in his only sworn statement about the shootings that he did not fire his weapon that day. After that, he remained beyond the jurisdiction of all investigative bodies. Terry Norman, declared the Scranton Commission tersely, a free-lance photographer, was taking pictures of the demonstration and was seen with a pistol after the Guard fired. Several civilians chased him from Taylor Hall into the Guard line, where he surrendered a .38-caliber revolver. The gun was immediately examined by a campus policeman, who found that it had not been fired. And, officially, that was the end of it. But, for many, the role of Terry Norman remains one of the bigger mysteries of the Kent State shootings.

Terry Norman was last known to be working for a police department in (where else?) Florida.

Cross-posted at Daily Kos and Booman Tribune
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Those "twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen" are PIGS...
facsists, shitbags, and should have been tried and convicted of treason.
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spag68 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:16 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Ohio nat.guard
Edited on Wed May-03-06 03:18 PM by spag68
I don't know how old you are, but I lived in Pgh. Pa. at the time and got first hand info about it. The guardsmen you are talking about were 18 to 20 year old kids, who were shitting their pants. they were scared and to call them fascists and pigs is to do them a disservice. Kent State was a sorry time for all of us that went there the next week to protest and mourn. If you must blame someone, blame nixon and his crew,which included cheney and rummy by the way.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:23 PM
Response to Reply #3
5. I am in sympathy with the NG, but not with the OIC.
These men should have been trained, should have been lead by someone in uniform and not a Hawaiian shirt and should never have had live ammunition.

Like always, the guys with boots on the ground get the shaft and gold stays on the braid.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:01 PM
Response to Reply #5
18. What the fuck??!!
When someone points a gun and shoots, they are trying to kill someone!

If you don't know who you're trying to kill, don't shoot!

I think that's easy enough for someone to understand before they give them a gun.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:34 PM
Response to Reply #18
23. I don't know your history or experience but being in a situation like
an active riot is a scary thing. The line between civil disobedience and violence can be thin. Once violence erupts it is contagious and spreads. That's what happened to the NG at Kent State. One scared 19 year old with a loaded gun shit his pants and opened fire. Everybody around him followed suit.

It is the job of law enforcement, including military riot control, to find that line and keep it from being crossed. Too many times law enforcement is the one to cross that line. That's what happened at Kent State. That's what happened with civilian police in far too many situations back then.

It takes training and a lot of discipline to maintain control, not only of the situation but of yourself. These poor kids didn't have that training or discipline and neither did the leadership on the ground.

Point in fact is that much of the gunfire was random. Not directed at the protesters but elevated above their heads. That's how people in the dorm were killed.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:41 PM
Response to Reply #23
24. can't agree with you on this
One scared 19 year old with a loaded gun shit his pants and opened fire. Everybody around him followed suit.


This is simply NOT true. I have very, very, very little doubt that the first Guardsman to fire that day knew exactly what he was doing. He wanted to shoot, he wanted to kill, and he counted on others to panic and assume an order to fire as well.

You're right that there were scared 19-year-olds there. On both sides of the guns. But you're simply wrong if you don't think there was an intention by many of the older Guardsmen to shoot and to kill that day. Look at this photo again and you will realize that the leaders of this shooting were not scared kids.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. no one was killed in a dorm
And some of the shots certainly were aimed at specific people. One guardsmen (Lawrence Shafer) even admitted shooting a specific student (Joe Lewis) because Lewis was giving him the finger. And, as he laid on the ground, badly wounded by a shot to the groin, Lewis was shot again. A mistake? I doubt it.

I'd suggest maybe you should read the post because I really don't think you did. I appreciate your sympathy for the guardsmen who deserve your sympathy but I think a close reading of the post -- and the previous parts of the series -- would give you a better understanding of what happened.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:03 PM
Response to Reply #25
31. On reflection you are right--no deaths is dorms.
As I recall there were wounds and deaths in parking lots far from the center of violence.

Still, as a soldier (unwilling I might add) I soldiered 24/7 with 40 plus hours a week of riot and confrontation training and never was issued live ammunition. The root of the tragedy lies in the chain of command and placing untrained people in a situation that begs for violence.

I thank you for the post and the research you did. This is vital to prevent such tragic events from happening again.

Just know that professional soldiers at the time were most upset over the event.

Event. What a sad word for what happened.
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stevedeshazer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 07:37 PM
Response to Reply #25
44. I know Joe Lewis personally
You are right.
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 08:55 AM
Response to Reply #25
57. Giving the Finger Does Not Justify Shooting & Killing
a protester. Even the Supreme Court justices speak often of their "dissent" on various cases.

So did Benjamin Franklin, James Madison and so on and so forth.

Thumbs-up, kainah.
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katty Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 06:45 PM
Response to Reply #23
42. I've been in one and cops on cycles just started to 'mow us over'
of course, we ran like hell. it was truly frightening.
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DianaForRussFeingold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 04:48 PM
Response to Reply #23
68. Bull,They had a personal vendetta,They took aim at at least two of them.
Edited on Thu May-04-06 05:23 PM by DianaForRussFeingold
:hi: Yes,an active riot is a scary thing,but this was closer to harrassment than an active riot. The guards took aim at the ones who gave them the finger and harrassed them.The demonstrators were spread out and they were'nt in any danger,look at the picture before the shooting. They were mad because at another rally the wind blew the tear gas back at them. Why' were they armed with real bullets? Nixon,Cheney and Rumsfeld wanted to put down any descent,to the war,just like now..They wanted to put the students in their place,so to speak.If you are fine with that ok, but then,that's not exactly what our troops are fighting and dying for. Did you know Cheney and Rumsfeld advised Ford to veto the Freedom of Information Act. Ford was over ruled on that. That's why everything Cheney does is behind closed doors.They wanted full power without congressional oversight,even back then,and look how they are screwing up now.Again,everything is covered up and swept under the rug. I grew up living with Vietnam and I can tell you this,at least we had Dan Rather and Walter Cronkite.There were peaceful sitins and protests again that war,acually right outside the white house. Nixon is responseable for the shooting. Nixon could not hide from protesters like the chickenhawks we have now.Today we have a bunch of bumbling idiots in the whitehouse,and they don't have to answer to anyone. Now they own the cowardly news media and are cracking down on Whisleblowers. This is an interesting article;If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President
http://writ.news.findlaw.com/dean/20060421.html Also did you know Bush Met Privately With a Think Tank at Stanford University where he met privately with members of the Hoover Institution. The Hoover Institution is a think tank that has been aggressively promoting the viability of a preemptive military strike in Iran. There was a protest there,but I don't think many knew about it. A really good documentary,everyone should watch;This has other some histery in it.If we don't learn from the past we are bound to repeat it.. Loose Change' 2nd Edition. http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-51375819912882... This is dick cheney bio and documentary.Ascent to Power http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/dickcheney/ascent.html ; "best of'Why We Fight http://www.ifilm.com/player/?ifilmId=2687878&pg=default... "Why We Fight" movie clearly explains the reasons, starting with World War II right up to Iraq.http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8494.ht... ... Worth going out of your way for this documentary. ...



:kick:
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DELUSIONAL Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:30 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. They were murdering bastards
that Americans could be murdering Americans and not one of the bastards paid for their crime is unacceptable.

No effort was made to make the murdering bastards pay.

Nixon and his bastards turned the country into hateful place -- People were encouraged to HATE students.

I know because I was a college student and Ray-gun was Governor in Calif. and Ray-gun hated college students.

This hatred of college students has been carried forward by all GOP -- who still want to punish college students for questioning the Vietnam war and all the Nixon lies.

Just like the pigs who carried out Hitler's orders -- these guards are guilty of murder and everyone should be hunted down and brought to a court of law and then put in jail for the rest of their live.

Hitler's troops were hung for obeying his orders and these national guard son of a bitch bastards must also pay for their crimes.

I accept no excuses for murdering bastards -- they are as evil as any serial killer lose on the street. I want to see them in jail -- NOW.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:47 PM
Response to Reply #6
12.  No effort was made to make the murdering bastards pay
No effort was made to make the murdering bastards pay.


This is just not true. Tremendous efforts were made to "make them pay." And, in fact, if you literally mean "pay," as in dollars, those responsible were forced to pay, albeit a meager amount, in a civil suit brought by the victims.

There was also a criminal suit brought although it was designed to be part of the cover-up and worked.

In any case, next week, I plan to post the last thread in this series and that will deal with the legal aftermath, so stay tuned.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
11. agree in part and disagree in part
Some of the guardsmen were, indeed, scared and inexperienced troops who had not received proper training and had been placed in an untenable situation. They started shooting primarily because they assumed there was a threat or that an order to shoot had been given. Researchers usually refer to them as "the shooters."

OTOH, there were some guardsmen there who had been in the Guard for many years. They knew exactly what they were doing and they also knew that the younger guardsmen would likely panic and join in the firing, These are referred to as "the Shooters."

But I agree with you that a good deal of the blame belongs on the Nixon administration and also on Governor Rhodes. As I explained in the previous parts of this series, they were definitely looking for the confrontation they got that day.
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LoZoccolo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:53 PM
Response to Reply #3
14. Actually, they were fascists and pigs.
Edited on Wed May-03-06 03:55 PM by LoZoccolo
The fuck anybody goes shooting at random people for? If no one shot at them then how did they know who to shoot at? They didn't, they just shot. And if you shit your pants so easily you don't need to be carrying a gun. Probably a bunch of rich puke draft-dodgers like our decider.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:48 PM
Response to Reply #3
36. If you are going to be "shitting in your pants" then.....
DON'T HOLD A GUN IN YOUR HANDS! :grr: Their behavior was innexcusable! I stand by my original statement.
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 08:53 AM
Response to Reply #3
56. Thanks for that Tidbit
Didn't know cheney and rummy were involved. :cry:
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Cooley Hurd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:09 PM
Response to Original message
2. K&R - Thank you for posting this!
:thumbsup:
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:19 PM
Response to Original message
4. I was stationed in Ft Lee, VA at the time and assigned to a
riot control battalion. It was sort of a joke--code named Brave Fox Delta, aka BFD for short. Any time something happened in DC we ponied up and went there to make a "show of force". We soldiered 24/7 and never at any time were given live ammunition. We trained in confrontation five days a week with fixed bayonets and live CS gas. We were never given live ammunition.

I am only happy that BFD was not on the scene when this happened. If so a lot of weekend warriors' blood would have mixed with that of the students.

There were some really pissed off soldiers at Ft Lee that day.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:52 PM
Response to Reply #4
13. weekend warriors' blood would have mixed
If so a lot of weekend warriors' blood would have mixed with that of the students.


I'm not sure what you mean with this. Do you really think the kids would have attacked the BFD? If so, I totally disagree. The kids were in a relatively peaceful mood until they were ordered to disperse. That, they felt, was an infringement on their first amendment rights to free speech and freedom of assembly. Had the Guard simply allowed the protest to play out, I don't think any of this would have happened. And, in any case, the students had no weapons with which to draw much of the weekend warriors' blood, even if they had wanted to. Yes, they threw a few stones and spent tear gas canisters. But, except for Terry Norman, the FBI agent provocateur, there weren't any guns in the crowd that we know of.

I'd appreciate some more elaboration on your thoughts. Thanks!
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:21 PM
Response to Reply #13
21. No, I mean that the BFD would probably defended the students.
Given time, which there wasn't much of, BFD would have been forced to suppress the violence. Our OIC was schooled in riot control, with the emphasis on CONTROL. If that means suppressing a rapidly growing violence with force on the source of that violence so be it.

NG troops were placing killing fire on unarmed civilians. BFD's job would be to stop that.

Were the situation reversed, BFD's job would be to suppress the killing fire from the student's side.

Kent State was not the fault of the NG but of the leadership on site. They should have been trained and not given live ammunition but once they were out of control they became the source of violence. Remove the source, end the violence.

BFD only had two people with live ammunition. Code name Lethal Button One and Lethal Button Two. We were snipers under direct control of the Battalion Commander. We were there to protect our troops. Grunts in direct contact with US citizens have no business with live ammunition. The possibility of bloodshed is too great as evidenced by Kent State.

Professional soldiers know better--not to diminish the role of today's NG, that was a different time and they were under trained.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:47 PM
Response to Reply #21
26. thanks for the explanation n/t
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #21
37. How would the BFD have stopped the National Guard from...
shooting at the students?
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 06:14 PM
Response to Reply #37
38. If BFD was on site the OIC would have been in command.
The NG would have been subordinate to the active military commander in position. The BFD OIC (don't ya' just love the alphabet soup?) would have told the NG Commander to shut up and sit down.

Unfortunately there were no professional soldiers on site at the time.

Bad planning, bad timing, bad result.

Sadness upon sadness.
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #38
40. Thank you for the explanation.
I guess we Americans have something for 3-letter abrieviations (i.e: "BFD" "OIC" "FBI" "CIA" "SEC" "FCC" "FEC" and so forth).
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AX10 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:46 PM
Response to Reply #4
35. There were soldiers who were angry about the shooting?
Is that what you are saying?
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #35
41. Yeah. Soldiers were angry The military isn't a monolithic entity.
I was a draftee and not there by choice but I did my job as best I could. I trained for this event every day for months. I still have recurring degenerative joint disease from the repetitive exercises and the stress it put on my arms and shoulders (and because that's the worst I have I count myself one lucky son-of-a-bitch).

The NG at Kent State were out of their league. They were acting above their pay grade. They didn't train like we did.

Our training consisted of half the company being "protesters" and the other half being "defenders".

Then we traded sides. Things alway escalated. Every evolution got more and more aggressive. There were genuine conflicts between the "sides" even if we were all members of the military. The leaders busted chops on the defender side and encouraged the protester side.

They knew that whatever we did was less than what we would face in the streets of DC.

We were ready and the NG shot people.

Hell yes we were pissed off.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:52 AM
Response to Reply #4
59. Tienanmen Square was similar to our Bonus March of 1932
Edited on Thu May-04-06 09:54 AM by EVDebs
Only on a much grander scale, IMHO. It also assured FDR of the election. I agree with a prior poster, this Kent State event virtually shut down mass demonstrations from that point on giving all second thoughts before showing up on the streets.
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HereSince1628 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
7. IMHO it was the decisive squirmish of the Vietnam War.
And yet no Viet Cong were present.





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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:30 PM
Response to Original message
8. I was a kid and remember that day.
Edited on Wed May-03-06 03:32 PM by Sequoia
We didn't see much news on TV but I saw that one.




"When the United States began involvement in the conflict in Vietnam, the response was uproarious and rampant. Many young Americans despised the idea that their country was involved in an armed conflict that in no part was their own fault, and did not even directly effect them. They believed that the United States had no real business in Vietnam.
One of the most outspoken songwriters of this era and calling was Neil Young. Whether it was with Buffalo Springfield or with his other group, Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young, Neil Young expressed his opinion at every opportunity that presented itself. In his song Ohio, he expresses both his opinions about the war, and about a specific event that took place on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio.

<snip>
http://www.thrasherswheat.org/fot/ohio.htm
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sinkingfeeling Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:35 PM
Response to Original message
9. A terrible day on a campus where I'd spent much time. Students
across the nation were leading the anti-war movement then. I was pleased to learn, recently, that the SDS is still kicking (to some degree).
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:54 PM
Response to Reply #9
15. I also saw that about SDS
I agree, it's nice to see them back at it.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:42 PM
Response to Original message
10. I just gave you the 5th vote.
We must never ever forget this day.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:57 PM
Response to Reply #10
16. thanks
I've spent the better part of 30 years researching these shootings and, when I thought about doing this post, I realized there was no way to do it justice with one post. That's why I split it into four different parts. The first two parts have received little notice here on DU which has been somewhat disappointing but, then, I know that with so much stuff currently going on in the world -- and much of it just as disturbing as what happened back then -- it's hard for a lot of people to want to delve into such an old story.

Nonetheless, I think this is really a situation where George Santayana's warning is especially poignant: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. I'm sure Cheney/Bush would be happy to repeat this chapter of our history.
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jbnow Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 09:57 PM
Response to Reply #16
47. I read your thread
on DailyKos and now read through it again. Just so powerful.

I haven't read the first two yet. Does either explain your dedication to this research?
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:13 AM
Response to Reply #47
51. isn't really any explanation
I just never could get the shootings out of my head and I'm the kind of person that, when something bugs me, I don't let go until I have an answer. I still don't have the answers....
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T Wolf Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 03:59 PM
Response to Original message
17. The murders at Kent State and Jackson State effectively shut down
student protests. When confronted by real violence, most students of that era chose to stay at home (in their dorms) from then on.

It was a master stroke by Nixon and his cronies.

And they say that violence never solves anything.

Justice was never pursued (seriously) and obviously, never served.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:51 PM
Response to Reply #17
27. exactly right
Many people say that Kent State caused the end of the Vietnam War. It didn't. Your memory is much better. I am convinced that Nixon said to one of his happy foot soldiers, "Can't someone do something to shut these kids up?" and the flunkies took it from there.

For more on Nixon's role, read Part I of the series.
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annabanana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 05:24 AM
Response to Reply #17
53. wrong
Edited on Thu May-04-06 05:25 AM by annabanana
just wrong (at least in NY)
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tech3149 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:04 PM
Response to Original message
19. Tanks for the memories
It won't be any easier next time.
Just remember those names Howard and Canerbury.
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lfairban Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
20. My Kent State Page
Edited on Wed May-03-06 04:48 PM by lfairban
31st Anniversary Commemoration pictures

I dropped by KSU a few years ago and took these pictures. They have a commemoration every year, (or at least did then) that starts with a candle light vigil the night before and continues with speeches the next day.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #20
29. I'm sure they still have the vigil
They will start tonight around midnight and stay throughout the night, holding lanterns in the spaces where the four kids died. I've been there a few times. The hardest times for me was standing with Elaine Holstein, Jeff's mother, in Jeff's space and later, standing with Peter Davies, author of The Truth About Kent State in Allison's spot. I've stood for all of the students but haven't been back to Kent since 1977 when they built a gymnasium over part of the site. That so infuriated me that I refused to go back. However, I am planning to return this July with my sister (DU's remfan) because I have some research I must do. It's going to be tough going back onto that campus.
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RandomKoolzip Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:30 PM
Response to Original message
22. Wow. This is an amazing post.
Thanks for this. I wasn't even alive when Kent State happened, but it was an incident my father always talked about, and it's a subject I find fascinating and sad.

I appreciate the work that must have gone into this. Nice job. :thumbsup:
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:56 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. thanks
I'm glad you enjoyed it and hope it helps you understand better what happened that day.
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dipsydoodle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 04:54 PM
Response to Original message
28. What's the difference
between a pig and one of those National Guardsmen ?

One is friendly, sociable and quite dependable and the other is a complete c*nt in a uniform.
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Demeter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:11 PM
Response to Original message
32. Being Born A Boomer Hasn't Been All Beer and Skittles
more like dregs and despair and constant derision.
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many a good man Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:40 PM
Response to Original message
33. I always heard they were "fatigued"
I was eight years old and saw almost continuous local coverage of the events on Cleveland local TV stations. My neighbor's older brother was a hippie freshman at KSU and one of the protesters. All he ever said about it was the exact same thing in the OP's title: "the pigs just starting shooting us down."

I had always heard that the troops were fatigued because their weekend obligation was extended for "emergency" reasons. That they didn't have any sleep the night before and were marched an ungodly number of miles. I heard this tale several times in the seventies from different people but could never determine its source. I always presumed it came from one of the Guardsman's own mother.

I was wondering if you have ever come across the Guardsmen's weekend duty schedule and can verify this "urban legend" that I've lived with almost all my life!

:kick:
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 06:23 PM
Response to Reply #33
39. yes
There is truth in that ... that the guardsmen were fatigued. They had been involved in a Teamsters' strike before they were called out to Kent State and then a variety of things were done, IMHO, to keep them on edge because people in charge (Nixon, Rhodes, etc.) wanted the outcome they got. These events were covered in Part I (on Nixon's curiously timed announcement of the Cambodia invasion) and Part II (on the events of the weekend in Kent) of the series.
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flamin lib Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 05:41 PM
Response to Original message
34. Another K&R.
I wasn't there. Wish I were--never thought I'd say that.

Great history lesson and hope it prevents a repeat. Somehow I doubt it and it makes me sad.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 07:17 PM
Response to Original message
43. VERY impressive work you've done on this!
I really appreciate it, Kainah, and I hope more DUers find this thread and then read the others in this series as well. I just finished Part I and will read Part II shortly.

I didn't catch those when you posted them -- you know how fast any thread can drop if it's not propelled to the Greatest page! On busy days for me, I often check the Greatest page only, as I did today, and this time found your gem.

I was 19 in May 1970, about the same age as most of the students and guardsmen. I was going through my own personal hell at that time, having recently allowed relatives to adopt my infant daughter born "out of wedlock" as we used to say it back then. Her biodad was a soldier who shipped out for Vietnam before either of us knew I was pregnant.

Whenever the subject of the Kent State student shootings comes up, I usually say something about how that was one of the most horrible in a long string of horrible events going down in those times. Way down here in Oklahoma where demonstrations of any kind were few and far between, the shock reverberated among young people in particular, though I'm sure many older folk were stunned as well.

My father was a WWII combat veteran and a career State Trooper on the Oklahoma Highway Patrol, and he had a very bad attitude about protesters, student or otherwise. He was abusive to his entire family, but especially to me, and he and I never got along. But during those times the anger in our home shot up to peak levels. The Vietnam War was a national nightmare that had almost everyone in America upset and anxious.

To those too young to remember it, you can only begin to see right now in this country anything remotely like the sort of rancor and protest that revolved around not only Vietnam but also other social issues -- primarily Civil Rights and the hippie/drug/"free love" movement.

The Sharon Tate murders by Charles Manson and his gang took place in August of 1969, and the craziness during the run-up to their trial in 1970 had a lot of people confused and just plain scared. The Black Panther Party was in the news a lot -- as much because of the outright violent persecution of its members by J. Edgar Hoover's FBI as for their own (often worthwhile) activities. The Watts riots in 1965 in Los Angeles heralded more than 200 major racial equality riots in U.S. cities from 1967 to 1969. The "blended" protest (anti-war and civil rights) in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention was widely televised and added to the nervousness Americans felt -- and launched the most heated of all the fights my dad and I had.

Most anti-Vietnam-War demonstrations in those days were peaceful; but emotions were running high for good reason, and there was a strong upwelling of loud, determined protest which bordered on violence and sometimes broke over into outright violent attacks by both protesters and law enforcement.

To many, it seemed as if our whole country had gone stark raving insane.

No one knew in 1970 that Nixon would engineer his own downfall (via the Watergate coverup scandal), but many of us recognized the madness in that pResident even before he ordered the bombings in Cambodia. I don't doubt for one minute that the Kent State shootings were the eventual outcome of one of those Nixonian "horror stories" AG John Mitchell referred to (quoted in your Part I, Kainah).

And while I agree with your fact #2 in Part I saying that students became a lot quieter after that day at Kent State, I know that anti-war protests went on -- and possibly in many cases were renewed with a vengeance, to prove that we were not going to be intimidated into giving up!

Indeed, many college students across the country were so outraged by the Kent State killings that they mounted very public memorials to the students slaughtered and continued the anti-war protest movement boldly. Here's just one example, taken from the history of Colby College in Maine:

"By 1970, community indignation over the war reached new heights, and creative expression also pushed out in new directions. Over 400 Colby students marched through the streets of downtown Waterville on May 6, 1970, in memory of the four students killed at Kent State by the Ohio National Guard just days before and of the lives lost in the U.S. invasion of Cambodia.

This march galvanized a sizable segment of the campus: classes were canceled for the day, and roughly 40% of the student body actively participated in the activities. Students gathered on the lawn of Miller Library at 11 a.m. to lower the U.S. flag in remembrance of the four Kent State victims; later, at 2 p.m., they marched through Waterville and deposited four mock coffins on lawn of the downtown Post Office. Forty students also began a sit-in of Colby's ROTC Office on this day, which ended two days later on Friday, May 8."

~~~~~~~~

I know my own outrage over Kent State propelled me out into the streets to protest -- which meant I couldn't go home again for some time due to my dad's rejection of my activities. I do remember I wasn't out there alone! :)

I think the times we're living in right now are evoking memories in many of us of those days that were so long ago but seem like only yesterday in some ways. "The Times They Are A-Changing" once again ... and I'm glad to see it happening. It's a perfect time for this series of Kent State articles to appear, Kainah, and I extend my personal thanks to you for doing this.

~~~~~~~~

"Come senators, congressmen
Please heed the call
Don't stand in the doorway
Don't block up the hall
For he that gets hurt
Will be he who has stalled
There's a battle outside
And it is ragin'.
It'll soon shake your windows
And rattle your walls
For the times they are a-changin'."

(From "The Times They Are A-Changin'" by Bob Dylan, released eight times from 1964 to 2000.)


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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 08:36 PM
Response to Reply #43
45. Thanks, VickiTulsa for this
When I called home that afternoon, I was a wreck. I was so distraught and when I told my mother what had happened, she said, "Well, they must have deserved it." I had been organizing demonstrations at my college and all I could think was that she thought it would be OK to kill me too. It took us years for us to get beyond that. Several years later, when I was knee-deep in the first few years of the research, she asked me if there was something she could read to better understand what happened. I recommended Peter Davies's The Truth About Kent State. She read it and then told me she was sorry she'd said what she said but you can't take something like that back and, obviously, I've never forgotten.

As for the protests after the killings, especially in the immediate aftermath (as with your example of Colby College), there was a huge paroxysm of response. But when kids came back to college in the fall of 1970, most were much more cautious than they had been the year before. And, of course, who could blame them? We all saw what we were risking. And, of course, that what the point, I believe.
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vickitulsa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #45
49. Eerie parallel in my life to your mother's comment.
I wonder how many times that same retort was spoken that day?

When my family watched the scenes of the protest-turned-riot in Chicago 1968, I started shouting to the TV: "WHY are the cops beating the protesters senseless?! Look at them -- they're bloody and staggering and they can't fight back! They're UNARMED! Why don't they STOP?!"

I just completely lost it, I was crying ... and my dad went off on me, claiming that REPORTERS "set up" such scenes, hiring kids to protest and to deliberately provoke cops to violence, then get pictures of cops beating kids. I swear, that's what he believed.

Then when Kent State happened, he couldn't fall back on that favorite mantra of his because there weren't reporters all over that scene until well after the shootings. John Filo, whose photo became the one we think of as a visual of that day (and which won him a Pulitzer Prize), was an undergrad at Kent State.

This is the snapshot I'm talking about:

http://www.digitaljournalist.org/issue0005/filo.htm

Since my dad couldn't claim this time that reporters organized the demonstration, he simply said about the students, "They deserved it!" Didn't even have the grace to insert the "must have" -- he was certain of it.

And I wondered afterwards the same thing you did. When I was holding an anti-war sign in the streets of Oklahoma City and watching warily as cops patroled nearby glaring at us, I thought, "Wonder if they're going to shoot us, and if my dad will think I deserved it."

The rift between us never really healed. Dad seemed to forget all about the words he'd thrown at me, but I never could.

As for the "quieting" of student protests after Kent State, I do agree that happened -- and I DO think that was the intent of Nixon's cadre. The lyrics from Neil Young's song "Ohio" captured our feelings brilliantly:


Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are gunning us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?


Peace, I say. Just Peace.


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RedEarth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 09:43 PM
Response to Original message
46. Wow, great post....... I was a senior in college and just got reclassified
1-A when Kent State happened. Like many people, it freaked me out completely to think the national guard would gun down college protesters....it was a very scary day.
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Iowa Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed May-03-06 10:14 PM
Response to Original message
48. Incredible post! Fascinating...
I was 18 and remember it well. It made an indelible mark and was a turning point for me. I haven't trusted the military since that day, and I never will. Regarding all the hoopla today about supporting the troops... I have always viewed soldiers as an instrument in the hands of someone who will use them for either good or evil, depending on the times. I would not choose to put myself in that situation. I'd have to be forced to volunteer at the point of a gun, and even then I probably wouldn't - especially today - under the idiot CIC. I have compassion for those who believe they are compelled to volunteer for economic or other reasons beyond their control, but in these times I just can't place all soldiers on a pedestal, like many seem to do. Kent State is partly responsible for that attitude.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:26 AM
Response to Reply #48
52. my attitude toward the National Guard
was pretty well set in stone that day, also. A few years later, I was a social worker and arranging a youth summer employment fair. We needed a space that could hold hundreds of kids and so, in this rural Ohio county, the only place we could find was the National Guard Armory. All my co-workers wondered how I'd deal with that but I said it would be fine. At that time, the Guard's slogan was "The Guard Belongs." So, after the meeting, a couple of my fellow employees and I went all over the building -- where there were bumper stickers with that slogan on it slapped on walls, doors, etc. -- and wrote OUT OF KENT STATE in big red letters on them all. We were sure we would be contacted about it and were ready to play dumb. But they never even called us. I always wondered about that curious lack of response.

In 2004, I was very proud of myself, however. The local guard unit was preparing to go to Iraq and our peace group wanted to raise some money to buy them something they wanted/needed. Everyone decided I should be the group's emissary. I was extremely nervous walking into the armory, wondering if my whole body would revolt. But they were all very nice, very appreciative and, to my surprise, the 3 guys I talked and worked with on getting this stuff together (disposable digital cameras and phone cards), were all against the invasion of Iraq.
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 12:12 AM
Response to Original message
50. Thank you for doing this, for those of us who will never forget & those...
to young to know. :cry: for all.
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ktlyon Donating Member (733 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 06:59 AM
Response to Original message
54. It was a turning point in my life
I will never forget
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AuntiBush Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 08:44 AM
Response to Original message
55. Sixty-Seven Rounds - Shew.
And into college students.

1970. That was not a very good year though this was the major beginning of the end to the war-monopolies.

Another sad day in American history. Glad to see someone posted this less we forget this part of history.
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 12:55 PM
Response to Reply #55
60. sit and wait for 13 seconds
It's an eternity. It doesn't sound like it's that long but, wow, it's forever, especially when you hear the gunshots go on and on and on and on and on..... I have a tape of the shootings on an old vinyl record with a bunch of the sounds of that day. Unfortunately, I'm not even sure my turntable still works and, even if it does, I would have no way to turn the shootings into a digital file. Wish I could so that everyone can hear those sounds. It's just horrifying.
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EVDebs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 09:48 AM
Response to Original message
58. Moderator, related link, please merge ?
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #58
61. at the very least
Let's put the article referenced in that thread in this one as well:

http://www.freetimes.com/modules.php?op=modload&name=Ne...

because, incredibly, they found Terry Norman and that is explained in this article above. He wouldn't speak, not surprisingly, but I'm glad to see someone tracked him down.

And, of course, a big h/t to algorem for finding this.
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arikara Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 01:48 PM
Response to Original message
62. I hope you're writing a book about this.
I enjoyed your other one.

:hug:
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 02:45 PM
Response to Reply #62
64. a book
Yes, actually, I am working on a book about Kent State. But the other one took me ten years to complete and since I've only been at work on this one for a year, don't hold your breath. On the other hand, I have a lot more of the research done going into this one than I did with the other.

:hi: :hippie:
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chonce Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 02:33 PM
Response to Original message
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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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 02:48 PM
Response to Reply #63
65. Greg Payne
I've known Greg since the early 70s although I haven't seen or heard from him in years. He wrote a wonderful play, called "Kent State: A Wake" in the mid 70s. People kept turning the title into "Kent State: Awake" so he later changed it to "Kent State: A Requiem." I've seen it a few times and it's very powerful but I don't know if anyone ever puts it on anymore.
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chonce Donating Member (8 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 04:09 PM
Response to Reply #65
66. J Gregory Payne
I know him very well, and yes, he still put the play on -- sometimes at Kent on May 4, and other times at student retrospectives.

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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu May-04-06 04:26 PM
Response to Reply #66
67. thanks!
and, hey, WELCOME TO DU!!!

I think I saw one of the earliest performances of the wake/requiem -- at Yale University in about 1975 when they had a whole weekend of events around the donation of Peter Davies's research papers. That was an amazing and wonderful weekend.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-05-06 12:09 AM
Response to Original message
69. Thanks, kainah, for these threads. Question - what book (or books)
about the Kent State shootings do you recommend - which is most objective/factual?
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kainah Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-05-06 01:15 AM
Response to Reply #69
71. The Truth About Kent State by Peter Davies
It's always the first I recommend. It's out of print but you can find copies through Amazon independent dealers. It was originally written in 1971-1972 as an argument for why Congress and/or the Justice Department should investigate what happened. Then it was turned into a book. One of the reasons I like Peter's book so much is because he uses the photos to prove his points.

(On a personal note, I like it because it was Peter's book that got me into the research. Peter was living in Staten Island, appalled at the shootings. He wrote a note to Arthur Krause, Allison's father, after the shootings sharing his horror. From that note, Arthur knew Peter was something special and Arthur reeled Peter into the web of investigators. Three years later, I picked up Peter's book at the library, couldn't stop studying it, had a question, sent him a letter and he saw in my letter the same dogged curiosity that Arthur had seen in Peter's and, as Peter once told me, he did to me what Arthur had done to him.)

There are really surprisingly few books about Kent State ... especially if you compare it to, say, the Kennedy assassination. I have (nearly -- see below) every book ever written on the subject, including multiple copies of some, additional magazines, unpublished manuscripts, memorial programs, etc., etc., and I still think it probably all takes up less that 5 feet of shelving space.

Because Peter's was written so long ago, there is a lot that we've begun to question since then that isn't included. The only book that really covers the stuff that happened after the early 70s is by Bill Gordon. It's been published in hard and soft cover, confusingly with a name change in between. In hardcover, it's called "The Fourth of May" and in paperback "Four Dead in Ohio." Again, you can find it through Amazon's independent booksellers. I know, like, and respect Bill and his research. Unfortunately, though, I have to say that I think he has trouble sustaining a clear narrative for people because he's so involved in the minutiae. I am, as you might suspect, a devotee of Kent State minutiae so I find Bill's book very valuable but I suspect for those who are just trying to learn what happened, it's a forest with the trees in the way.

Philip Caputo, a good writer, also recently released "Thirteen Seconds." It is actually still in print but I haven't read it. :-) From what I've read and heard, it's a good narrative. His "Rumour of War" was outstanding so this, too, should be good. (You've actually made me just go order it so that I can have a better sense of this book.) It also comes with a DVD, of what I don't really know. There is also another older book called "Thirteen Seconds" written by Joe Eszterhas, who was then a Cleveland Plain Dealer reporter and subsequently went on to write screenplays. It's good but was out within a year so it really doesn't cover a lot of the questions. Wanted to mention it so that you'd be aware of the two books, by different authors, with the same name.
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kath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-05-06 12:25 PM
Response to Reply #71
72. Thanks very much.
I'll try to get Davies's book, and possibly some of the others, through interlibrary loan.
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Imagevision Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri May-05-06 12:50 AM
Response to Original message
70. Can never forget Kent State student murders...!
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rman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-06-06 06:47 AM
Response to Original message
73. kick
out of nowhere
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Blue_Tires Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat May-06-06 10:31 AM
Response to Original message
74. ttt !!
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DianaForRussFeingold Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-23-06 08:13 AM
Response to Original message
75. Ohio , Buffalo SpringField Music Video 'Four Dead In Ohio'
:dem:Ohio Buffalo Springfield,Music video,A video collage of still images commemorating the 36th Anniversary of the killing of four college students by National Guardsman at Kent State in 1970 :hippie: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mvg4n8Txgdc&search=neil%...
:patriot: :hippie:
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