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Thursday, May 04, 2006

Four Dead In Ohio: 36 Years Ago Today


We once again remember the four students (above) at Kent State University who were shot dead by the Ohio National Guard 36 years ago today. Nine others were wounded, including one who was permanently paralyzed from the waist down. The demonstrators had been gathered on the campus commons protesting the Viet Nam war and Nixon's recent expansion of the fighting into Cambodia. Although two of those killed, Scheuer and Schroeder, were merely walking on campus between classes.

Ohio Nation Guard soldiers with fixed bayonets on rifles.

The Guard broke up the protest by tossing tear gas into the crowd as the participants retreated from the center of campus. Armed with loaded rifles and fixed bayonets, the soldiers suddenly turned unprovoked on the crowd along side them and to the rear and fired 67 shots into the crowd in less than a minute. They hit students from as close as 71 feet away and as far as 750 feet. Senseless, shocking, unnecessary killings. A massacre. Soldiers almost randomly killing American college students on American soil -- an act so heinously symbolic of the chaotic and desperate mood of that era.

Soldiers approach as students start dispersing.

In response to the incident, CSNY released the quickly written and recorded song "Ohio," penned by Neil Young, within a few days of the killings. It was shipped out immediately nationwide and used as a rallying cry for student strikes that shut down hundreds of colleges and universities across America, including the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, where I was in my senior year. Many colleges and universities, including my own, never reopened after the strike. An abrupt end to the semester came after several weeks of demonstrations and strikes that virtually shut down operations on campuses all over America.

Students fleeing and ducking as shots are fired into the crowd.

Ironically as well as appropriatedly, Neil Young again has issued music in response to the escalation of a national tragedy. As the Iraq quaqmire drags on, as the warmongers in Washington make plans to attack Iran and as evidence grows that American operatives and troops may already be on the ground there, Neil Young releases Living With War. Can something like Kent State happen again? According to this article, it sure as hell could, given Bush's eternal and expanding "war on terror."

Jeffrey Miller dead on the ground.

I wrote about Kent State last year, and I'll probably do it every year, if I can. Kent State represents the executive branch and miltary-industrial complex run amuck, crushing our democratic traditions in response to criticism. Sound familiar? It's as crucial to be on guard against this kind of anti-American and undemocratic destructiveness now as it was then. The dark forces of repression are growing daily in this atmosphere of fearmongering and "security." Secretive, imperialistic and stubbornly lethal forces are in power once again. And they don't respond to reason.

The only differences now? There's no draft. It's now the Pentagon-multinational corporation-defense techonolgy complex. Bush isn't as smart as Nixon was. Nixon never claimed to be acting on god's command.

For information about and photographs of the Kent State tragedy, check these sites:

The official Kent May 4 Center.

A compelling and well-documented series of posts on Daily Kos the provide detailed analysis of Nixon's actions that Spring regarding the Viet Nam war and the aftermath of his decisions, including the Kent State massacre.

Wikipedia entry.

NPR entry recalling that day and revisiting the campus years later.

Killed at Kent State 5/4/70

Allison Krause
Jeffrey Miller
Sandra Scheuer
William Schroeder

Wounded at Kent State 5/4/70

Alan Canfora
John Cleary
Thomas Grace
Dean Kahler
Joseph Lewis
Donald Mackenzie
James Russell
Robby Stamps
Douglas Wrentmore

May 4, 2006 at 04:24 PM in Current Affairs | Permalink


My horrible intuition is yes it will happen again.
And it will be worse. Far worse.

Posted by: Mary Ellen | May 5, 2006 9:47:29 AM

Yeah, this time they'll be shooting adults too. Homeland Security you know.

Posted by: JLC | May 5, 2006 10:00:07 AM

I was also in college when this happened and it had a strong impact on the rest of my life. It did on everyone I knew back then.

We started out so innocent, only to have all the assassinations, early deaths, violence and America turning on its own as the enemy. It still goes on today, coming from the same sources. I sometimes think these dark ones won't quit until they destroy everything humans hold dear and the planet too. What is it they want? False power to make up for their own perceive inadequacies, which are many.

Repression breeds monsters. Monsters make up this administration and the ones behind the scenes who are the real power. We must keep fighting them and protecting the core of innocense that still remains in our hearts.

Posted by: Goldie | May 5, 2006 3:45:59 PM

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