On a sunny, gorgeous Spring day in May, four students at Kent State University in Ohio were gunned down by the National Guard, which the Governor of Ohio sent to quell student protestors. The Vietnam war protests had become intense after President Nixon invaded Cambodia. He had lied and said we were getting out, but instead ramped things up. About a week after this, students at Jackson State were also shot.
My prior posts on Kent State:
Birch Bayh, my Senator at the time, started asking questions.
A student’s documentary on Kent State. Note how dramatic the Governor is in describing these 18-22-year-old kids as if they were hardened terrorists part of some bigger organization. They were not. They were unarmed. They were angry at being lied to while their buddies die in Vietnam, as Alan Canfora experienced.
As the documentary acknowledges, only two of those killed were actually part of the protests — the other two were just walking to class. And those shot were several hundred feet away — not a threat to the Guardsmen.
Nixon, et al, had made the claim that we had to go to Vietnam to stem the tide of Communism, however, according to Dr. Martin Luther King, only 25% of Vietnamese were Communists. After the invasion of the U.S., however, they turned to Communism. Interesting, eh? Susie Madrak at Crooks and Liars posted this on MLK and his Beyond Vietnam speech, one of his most important speeches.
Neil Young sings his epic song of that terrible day:
My former blog on the families demanding a new probe into the Kent State murders. The Obama Administration refuses to open a new probe of the incident.
This from counterpunch.
The government claim—that guardsmen were under attack at the time of the ONG barrage of bullets—has long been suspect, as there is nothing in photographic or video records to support the “under attack” excuse. Rather, from more than a football field away, the Kent State student protesters swore, raised their middle fingers, and threw pebbles and stones and empty tear gas canisters, mostly as a response to their campus being turned into a battlefield with over 2,000 troops and military equipment strewn across the Kent State University campus.
Then at 12:24 p.m., the ONG fired armor-piercing bullets at scattering students in a parking lot—again, from more than a football field away.
The other major piece of Kent State evidence identified in Allen’s analysis was the “sound of sniper fire” recorded on the tape. These sounds point to Terry Norman, FBI informant and provocateur, who was believed to have fired his low-caliber pistol four times, just seventy seconds before the command-to-fire.
Mangels wrote in the Plain Dealer, “Norman was photographing protestors that day for the FBI and carried a loaded .38-caliber Smith & Wesson Model . . . five-shot revolver in a holster under his coat for protection. Though he denied discharging his pistol, he previously has been accused of triggering the Guard shootings by firing to warn away angry demonstrators, which the soldiers mistook for sniper fire.”4
Video footage and still photography have recorded the minutes following the “sound of sniper fire,” showing Terry Norman sprinting across the Kent State commons, meeting up with Kent Police and the ONG. In this visual evidence, Norman immediately yet casually hands off his pistol to authorities and the recipients of the pistol show no surprise as Norman hands them his gun.5
Ohio Governor James “Jim” Rhodes claimed the burning of the ROTC building on the Kent State University campus was his reason for “calling in the guard,” yet in this picture of the burning building, the ONG are clearly standing before the flames as the building burns.10
From eyewitness accounts, the burning of the ROTC building at Kent State was completed by undercover law enforcement determined to make sure it could become the symbol needed to support the Kent State war on student protest.11
According to Dr. Elaine Wellin, an eyewitness to the many events at Kent State leading up to and including May 4th, there were uniformed and plain-clothes officers potentially involved in managing the burning of the ROTC building. Wellin was in close proximity to the building just prior to the burning and saw a person with a walkie-talkie about three feet from her telling someone on the other end of the communication that they should not send down the fire truck as the ROTC building was not on fire yet.12
“Mr. Norman was not working for the FBI on May 4, 1970, nor has he ever been in any way connected with this Bureau,” director J. Edgar Hoover declared to Ohio Congressman John Ashbrook in an August 1970 letter.
Three years later, Hoover’s successor, Clarence Kelley, was forced to correct the record. The director acknowledged that the FBI had paid Norman $125 for expenses incurred when, at the bureau’s encouragement, Norman infiltrated a meeting of Nazi and white power sympathizers in Virginia a month before the Kent State shootings.18
(You might recall Hoover’s FBI was also hounding Martin Luther King, Jr. — blackmailing him about his extramarital affair, and encouraging him to commit suicide.)
I can’t help but contrast this to today’s events in Baltimore– it’s unreal that those responsible for murdering students will never be held accountable. Contrast CNN’s coverage of Baltimore and the recent ceremony of Bloody Sunday …with that of Kent State…where is the justice??
Some feel that when John F. Kennedy was shot, it was the end of innocence for the nation….perhaps, but I would say that Kent State certainly impacted a nation that spouts off on how we have the freedom to protest, the freedom to assemble to address grievances against our government…but the events tell a different story. I think it had a chilling effect…look at how people are intimidated into getting vaccinations and how forced vaccination is even being touted by the fearful ones.
We’re just One Nation Under Fear…
**edited to add: You know, recently Louis C.K. had portrayed the Boomers as being the generation that ruined EVERYTHING, especially the environment. And in that piece, there were comments below the video that the Boomers protested the Vietnam war, but as soon as they got the draft revoked, they no longer cared. Well, I didn’t agree with that, either, but thinking about Kent State and the chilling effect of unarmed student protestors murdered…THAT is more likely the reason why the Boomers suddenly became silent. Know your history, folks. Know your history.