Skip to main content

At 12:24 PM on May 4, 1970, twenty-eight Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on the Kent State campus. When the shooting stopped, four students lay dead or dying while an additional nine had suffered wounds ranging from minor to life-threatening. The shootings had lasted thirteen seconds but legal repercussions would continue for nearly a decade.

In Part I, we look at Nixon's curiously timed announcement of the Cambodian invasion and the May Day rally at Yale University. Part II examines the events of that weekend at Kent. Part III explores the events of Monday, May 4. Part IV deals with the immediate aftermath of the shootings. Part V looks at the various investigations following the shootings. Part VI examines the federal grand jury and criminal trial of eight guardsmen. Part VII concludes the series by examining the years of civil proceedings.

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

(First, let me apologize that it has taken three weeks to continue this series. The reaction to my May 4 diary was absolutely overwhelming and it left me emotionally and physically exhausted. This, then, is offered as a "bonus edition" in the series, dealing with the immediate aftermath. Part V will cover the legal aftermath. Now, on with the story...)

News of the shootings spread quickly across the country that May afternoon. The first reports claimed that two Guardsmen had been shot. Whether disinformation or a mistake, many heard this news and took it as evidence of the deadly intent of the student protesters. However, within hours, the truth of students shot and killed overtook the earlier rumors.  As parents and friends tried to connect with those in Kent, the phone lines jammed and then, in mid-afternoon, crashed. The inability to get accurate information in or out heightened anxieties. For four families, the incomprehensible news of the shootings would give way to the heartbreaking realization that their children were gone forever.

Sarah Scheuer was painting the house on May 4, her twenty-seventh wedding anniversary, when she heard news of the shooting. She immediately tried to call Sandy's house but it took several hours to get through. When she finally did, one of Sandy's roommates told her that she better come right away:  "Sandy's in the hospital, but that's all we know right now." The roommate also told Sarah that Sandy's wallet was still in the house. Sarah then called Robinson Memorial Hospital in Ravenna and asked whether there was a wounded girl, dressed in a red shirt and blue jeans, with no identification. The administrator she spoke with wasn't sure but confirmed that at least one of the injured girls had no identification. Sarah and her husband, Martin, quickly left their home in Boardman, near Youngstown, for Ravenna. At the hospital, they asked about Sandy. A police officer overheard them and, assuming they'd heard the news, asked if they had come to identify the body. Still hoping there was a mistake, Sarah asked if the unidentified girl was wearing a gold ring with a blue stone. The policeman went into the morgue and returned to confirm that, yes, the girl was wearing such a ring. After the morgue had been cleared of the other dead students, the Scheuers were allowed in to identify Sandy.

Jeff Miller's mother, Elaine, heard about the shootings on the radio as she drove home from work in Long Island. She decided then and there to make Jeff come home because it just wasn't safe in Kent. At home, she called Jeff's off-campus apartment. Although by this time in late afternoon, the phone system was severely overloaded, Elaine's call somehow got through on the first try. The phone rang and rang and rang. Finally someone picked up. Elaine asked to speak with Jeff. The voice on the other end asked "Who is this?" When Elaine, annoyed by the question, replied, "It's his mother," the boy replied bluntly, "He's dead." Elaine began to shriek. Her husband-to-be, who had followed her home, found her in a heap at the end of her bed, still holding the phone and screaming incoherently. Later that night, Jeff's father and brother flew to Ohio to bring Jeff's body home. When shown his son's body in the morgue, Jeff's father initially refused to identify him. His face had been so badly damaged by the bullet wound, Bernard Miller simply couldn't recognize him. After the shock wore off, he realized that, indeed, this was his son. Later, this event would be twisted by those who wanted to paint the student victims as worthless agitators deserving of their fate. "Did you hear," the rumor mill asked, "that Miller's own father couldn't recognize him because he was so dirty?" Back in New York, the funeral director advised Jeff's mother not to view his body because of the extensive damage. Still in shock, Elaine accepted that advice and regretted it for the rest of her life. Months later, the high school that Jeff attended (and where his mother and would-have-been stepfather worked) held a memorial service for him. A boyhood friend told the crowd:  "Like many of us, (Jeff) left for college confused, seeking answers and trying to legitimize his own existence. Now his search has ended. A National Guardsman's bullet has brought him the final reality. Dust to dust - another statistic - why should the world notice?" He finished his eulogy with a poignant question:  "Jeff, friend, you as much as anybody typified the fact that we all march to the beat of a different drummer. Why didn't you tell me it was going to be a procession?"

For several hours after the shootings, reports indicated that a "William Schneider" was among those killed. Back at Bill Schroeder's apartment, his roommates waited for Bill to return. When the 5:00 curfew came and went without Bill appearing, his roommates got "that sick feeling" that William Schneider was really William Schroeder. Around 5:15, one of Bill's friends got through to the apartment and he told Bill's roommates that he had seen Bill after he was shot, but that he was just wounded. Bill's roommate, Lou Cusella, then called the hospital to ask if William Schneider had been positively identified. The hospital said he hadn't. The hospital urged Cusella to call State Senator Robert Stockdale, a professor at Kent State, who had been given the job of notifying the victims' families. Stockdale asked Cusella if he would be willing to go to the morgue to try to identify his friend. Cusella agreed, reluctantly, and soon thereafter, a sheriff's department car arrived to transport Cusella to the morgue. There, after being frisked, Lou was taken to a viewing room. Behind a pane of glass, Cusella saw Bill's profile. "Oh god, it's him," Cusella told the officials. Later, Cusella called Stockdale to ask how Bill's family had taken the news. "Not too well," Stockdale told him. In fact, Stockdale had never called the Schroeders - or the Scheuers, the Krauses or Millers. Instead, Bill Schroeder's mother, in Lorain, had heard the reports of a William Schneider dead. Her repeated calls to his apartment never got through. Then, at 4:00, someone from the Cleveland Plain Dealer called to ask if the family had a picture of Bill the newspaper could use. When Florence Schroeder asked why, the reporter quickly apologized, saying he must have called the wrong house, and hung up. When Lou Schroeder got home, his wife persuaded him to go talk to a neighbor, a Lorain policeman. The policeman assured the Schroeders that, if Bill had been killed, they would have heard by now. But, at 6 PM, the Plain Dealer reporter called again. This time, he said he had reliable information that William Knox Schroeder had been killed at Kent State. Minutes later, a Lorain police dispatcher called the Schroeders and gave them a number to call. The number turned out to be Robinson Memorial Hospital where they were put in touch with a hospital administrator who asked if Senator Stockdale had called them. When Florence said no, the administrator told her that Bill had "expired." Florence Schroeder collapsed.

Allison Krause's uncle lived in Cleveland. In the early afternoon of May 4, he heard a report that there had been trouble at Kent and that his niece had been killed. He called his brother, Arthur, and relayed what he was hearing on local radio. Arthur immediately called his wife to get Allison's phone number. Not wanting to alarm his wife until he could find out more, Arthur mentioned nothing of what his brother had told him. Meanwhile, Allison's little sister, Laurie, was on her way home when a neighbor told her that KDKA, a local Pittsburgh radio station, was trying to get in touch with her family. When Doris, Laurie and Allison's mother, called home a bit later, Laurie passed along the message. Doris called KDKA and a reporter there told her that Allison had been shot. Doris began frantically trying to get through to the hospital, with no luck. Eventually, someone suggested using a police band radio and they were finally able to get the emergency call through. Doris asked if there was an Allison Krause at the hospital and was switched to the hospital administrator. She asked her question again and received a chillingly blunt reply, "Yes, she was DOA." (DOA=dead on arrival) Even that turned out to be disputed as Allison's boyfriend, Barry, who rode with her to the hospital, swore she was alive when they arrived. The Krauses left for Ravenna in the early evening. At the hospital, reporters crowded around Arthur Krause seeking a statement. In his grief, Krause told the reporters:  "All I know is that my daughter is dead! I'm not on anybody's side. We were so glad we had two daughters so they could stay out of Vietnam. Now she's dead. What a waste. What a terrible waste." He hesitated and then went on:  "I'd like to know who the boys were who shot my daughter. I'd like to meet them. They're young, immature guys who joined the National Guard to stay out of Vietnam. They've got a miserable job to do." The Krauses stayed at the hospital until an ambulance came to take their daughter's body to a funeral home. The next day, an emotional Arthur would again speak to the media and his powerful words would be broadcast on all the national news networks:  "She resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else's opinion. She felt that our crossing into Cambodia was wrong. Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because she disagrees deeply with the actions of her government?" (emphasis added)

The state of Ohio did extensive autopsies on all the students killed that day and, even though it went against the tenets of his Jewish faith, Arthur Krause decided to have another autopsy done once Allison's body was returned to Pittsburgh because, even then, he didn't trust any official report. After the second autopsy had been completed, her devoted family laid Allison to rest in a small Jewish cemetery in Pittsburgh. A few weeks later, they got a check from Kent State University for $514. It was a refund for Allison's spring tuition.

Before the end of June, Arthur Krause had filed a wrongful death suit against Ohio officials, including Governor Rhodes and National Guard Generals Del Corso and Canterbury. When his lawyer asked Krause how much he wanted to sue for, Krause responded $1. For him, the lawsuit had nothing to do with money and everything to do with holding people accountable. Informed that federal courts required a certain dollar threshold before they would entertain the suit, Krause thought for a bit and then announced he would sue for $6 million. Asked later how he arrived at that figure, he said it represented $1 for every Jew killed in the Holocaust. (Three of the four students killed - Scheuer, Krause and Miller - were, by chance, Jewish.) By mid-September, the parents of Jeff Miller and Sandy Scheuer had also filed suit.

Meanwhile, all across the country, college students tried to understand what had happened. Their gut instincts, combined with what many had seen happen on their own campuses, convinced them that the students had been innocent and that the Guard had overreacted. The shock of the killings, however, was heightened for many when they called home that afternoon. Scared and upset, they heard their own parents denounce the students and proclaim that "they should have shot them all" or "they must have done something to deserve what they got." This widespread attitude that blamed the victims for their fate only served to pull the generations further apart. A fog of grief and outrage descended. One report described how, in the weeks after the killings, the citizens of Kent would greet each other by flashing four fingers, signifying, "We got four."  Bill Gordon, author of Four Dead in Ohio:  Was There a Conspiracy at Kent State would call the Kent State shootings "the most popular murders ever committed in the United States."

Students, reacting to what they believed was murder, took to the streets to demand answers and to remember their fallen comrades. Memorial vigils occurred that night all across the country. Over the next few days, however, many campuses moved from quiet candlelight vigils to more direct action. A nationwide student strike was called and, by the end of the week, some 800 campuses had been shut down, affecting nearly four million college students. It was the largest such event in American history. Many students went home but others, fearing parents who supported the actions of the National Guard, wandered from friend to friend, searching for some place to hang out until their campus reopened. That first weekend, hundreds of thousands of students found that place in Washington, DC, where people from all over the country gathered to protest the killings and demand accountability.  

The DC protesters that weekend included Jeff Miller's older brother, Russ, who left for DC shortly after his brother's funeral in New York's historic Riverside Church. Thousands of young people gathered outside, waving banners with peace doves and blown up photos of Jeff lying dead on the pavement. One placard declared "WE THE PEOPLE MOURN OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS." When police arrived with barricades, the wary youth stood back and then, respectfully, they helped the police set up a barrier to provide space for the hearse carrying Jeff's body. Inside the glorious old church, the large crowd heard a series of distinguished speakers remember the 20-year-old none of them had known. NY Senator Charles Goodell told the crowd, "We pledge to do what we can to make this a meaningful death." Dr. Benjamin Spock, the outspoken opponent of the war in Vietnam, also spoke:  "Young people...are willing to look at the terrible injustices that exist in the United States. They have the courage to act out their idealism. They put the rest of us to shame. To me, the most impressive thing of all this is that they cannot be intimidated. The more efforts there are at oppression, the more it opens young peoples' eyes. (Jeff's) death and the death of the other three at Kent State may be a blessing. This may do more to end the war in Vietnam than all the rest of us have been able to do in five years." Rabbi Julius Goldberg noted that Jeff had been "killed by a fusillade of bullets labeled fear, panic, mistrust, war to end wars." He admonished the crowd to "listen to Jeff's brothers and sisters. We must give peace a chance." Finally, when the service ended, six pallbearers carried Jeff's simple hardwood coffin down to the street where the young, mostly long-haired mourners filled the street for a block in either direction. When they saw the coffin, the kids became silent and raised their hands in the peace sign. Later, Elaine Miller Holstein would say that she had no real understanding of how the memorial service came to be. She didn't know who had arranged for the service to be held in Riverside Church. She had no knowledge of how so many VIPs came to speak at the funeral. She just remembered the kids outside. She knew that they were really the ones who had come to remember Jeff as a person, rather than as a symbol.

Meanwhile, in Washington, DC, Richard Nixon heard the news on May 4 and issued a statement supposedly expressing regret but really just blaming the students for their own deaths:  "This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy.  It is my hope that this tragic and unfortunate incident will strengthen the determination of all the nation's campuses, administrators, faculty and students alike to stand firmly for the right which exists in this country of peaceful dissent and just as strongly against the resort to violence as a means of such expression." (emphasis added)

On Friday, May 8, Nixon held a press conference where, as expected, most of the questions revolved around the shootings. As he spoke to the press, students had begun gathering in D.C. for the massive weekend protest. When asked what he thought the students were trying to say with their protest, Nixon replied:  "They are trying to say that they want peace. They are trying to say that they want to stop the killing. They are trying to say that they want to end the draft. They are trying to say that we ought to get out of Vietnam. I agree with everything that they are trying to accomplish." He added, "I think I understand what they want. I would hope they would understand somewhat what I want." When asked if he felt the country was heading into a period of revolution and repression, he pointed to the pending demonstrations as evidence disputing this claim. "Briefly, this country is not headed for revolution. The very fact that we do have the safety valves of the right to dissent, the very fact that the President of the United States asked the District Commissioners to waive their rule for 30 days' notice for a demonstration, and also asked that that demonstration occur not just around the Washington Monument but on the Ellipse where I could hear it--and you can hear it pretty well from there, I can assure you--that fact is an indication that when you have that kind of safety valve you are not going to have revolution which comes from repression." In fact, by this point, buses had been brought in to surround the White House and, according to Alexander Haig, troops had been stationed in the basement in case students decided to attack.

Following the press conference, Nixon went back to his quarters where, apparently, he began drinking heavily. Unable to sleep, he began working the phones. As Army troops moved into position to protect government buildings from the demonstrators, Nixon made 47 phone calls in four hours, including eight to Henry Kissinger, seven to Bob Haldeman, and at least one each to Norman Vincent Peale and Billy Graham. While we still don't know everyone he called, we do know that one of the calls went to DeWitt Wallace, founder and publisher of Reader's Digest which had a well-deserved reputation of printing books and articles that "portrayed an America that was kindly, religious, self-sufficient, neighborly, and staunchly anticommunist." A few days later, Wallace would commission James Michener to write Kent State:  What Happened and Why, a massive work designed to prove that what happened at Kent State was a tragedy in which no one was to blame. Michener's high profile and solid reputation, combined with the marketing power of Reader's Digest, gave the book wide circulation. For years, publishers approached about doing another book on the shootings would decline, pointing to Michener's work as "definitive." Unfortunately, however, like most of Michener's works, he sprinkled fiction in with his facts. The result could more honestly be called a "nonfiction novel." But Nixon got what he wanted and DeWitt Wallace was rewarded in 1972 when Nixon conferred on him the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  

To his dismay, Nixon discovered that even this mad round robin of phone calls couldn't calm his brain. After finally giving up on phone calls, Nixon listened to Rachmaninoff's First Piano Concerto. When that, too, failed to bring peace, Nixon summoned his personal valet, Manolo Sanchez, and asked if he had ever visited the Lincoln Memorial at night. When Sanchez replied that he had not, Nixon decided to go sight-seeing despite the fact that it was now 5 AM. Without alerting his Secret Service detail, Nixon summoned a limousine and took off with Sanchez for the Lincoln Memorial. There, they found thousands of students hanging out on the steps, waiting for the next day's protests. The students, of course, were stunned to see Nixon approaching. They stood by respectfully while the President clumsily attempted to engage them in conversation. Nixon talked about surfing and football and how travel would broaden their understanding of the world. Mostly, the students maintained a stunned silence. Finally, Nixon told the protestors to enjoy their time in D.C. but admonished them to keep things peaceful. He then left, with Sanchez still in tow, and went over to the Capitol. In the chamber of the House of Representatives, Nixon encouraged Sanchez to give a speech to the empty chamber while Nixon sat and listened. One can only imagine the thoughts running through Nixon's head as he remembered his days in the House and the Senate. By then, however, the Secret Service had realized their most important person had gone missing. They tracked him down and brought him back to the White House where, referring to his talk with the students at the Lincoln Memorial, he said simply, "I doubt if that got over."

A few days later, after seeing pictures of the students shot down at Jackson State, Nixon would say, "What are we going to do to get more respect for the police from our young people?" Later, Henry Kissinger would confide his belief that, that May, Nixon was on the verge of a mental breakdown. H.R. "Bob" Haldeman would suggest in his Watergate memoir, The Ends of Power that the shootings deepened the White House paranoia, thereby adding to the conspiratorial thinking that ultimately forced Nixon from office. For those of us who believe that the Nixon administration was not necessarily caught off guard by the shootings, this explanation sounds like another attempt to blame the victims.

Originally posted to kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 02:36 PM PDT.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  'They must have had it coming' (38+ / 0-)

    broke the most sacred trust a society has--to protect future generations. We forget the consequences of an amoral government at our great peril. It is disturbing to see how many people have, indeed, done just that.

    I very much appreciate your outstanding work even though it brings back all the pain, sorrow and anger like it all happened just yesterday.

    Thanks.

  •  Holy Moly (11+ / 0-)

    I never heard about the incident of Nixon taking off on the SS and going to talk to the protestors.  No president would do that now.  What a wierd incident.

  •  I also want to say thank you (24+ / 1-)

    I cried through the section about parents finding out their kids died.  That is so sad I can't bear it.

  •  Safety valves. (12+ / 0-)

    Now those are chain linked fences far out of sight.

    "I was Rambo in the disco. I was shootin' to the beat. When they burned me in effigy. My vacation was complete." Neil Young. Mideast Vacation.

    by Mike S on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:10:25 PM PDT

  •  Now that I've cleared.... (12+ / 0-)

    the tears from my eyes, thanks for posting this. I've read the whole series, we can never let Americans forget what happened that day! Thanks again for bringing it back to the forefront.

    Just when you thought it couldn't possibly get any worse...

    by reflectionsv37 on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:14:09 PM PDT

  •  Nixon actually seemed to be troubled... (37+ / 0-)

    ....the sad part is that Bush wouldn't be. Not even evil is what it used to be.

    ...but for three years I had roses and I apologized to nobody.

    by sagesource on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:14:18 PM PDT

  •  thanks everyone! (11+ / 0-)

    Thanks for putting this on the recommended list!

    We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

    by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:26:30 PM PDT

  •  A quote from my fellow... (28+ / 0-)

    As people tend to forget...

    Nixon won after Kent.

    Why?

    For let's be clear about this: only the Establishment -- the institutional powers-that-be -- can break an outlaw president. Millions marched in the street against Nixon and the system; whole city quadrants went up in flames in those days; but none of this was decisive in the corridors of power. (Nor to much of the American public, to be frank; after Kent State, after My Lai, after Cambodia, Nixon was still re-elected in a landslide.) It was his insult to the institutions -- the Watergate break-in of Democratic headquarters, the subsequent cover-up and subversion of the legal system, the defiance of Congress -- that led to his downfall. He pushed too far, tried to grab too much -- and the Establishment pulled him short.  

    Chris Floyd - Clowntime is Over: The Last Stand of the American Republic

    •  and the landslide was after Watergate, too (19+ / 0-)

      When you look at that list of things he did before his 1972 landslide victory, it sure does help you understand the flaws of a democracy.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:36:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  First of all (8+ / 0-)

        great diaries, terrific series.  I lived through those times as well, with very mixed feelings at times.  I was shocked when they killed four students at Kent State (so were my parents; they never thought they deserved it.  My Dad got more protective, though). I still went to protests after that, but I agree the mood was more somber to me.

        Nixon won his landslide because even though the events of Watergate had taken place, no one was covering it except two junior reporters at the Washington Post.  They just kept after it.  If they hadn't, Nixon might have served out his second term.  They did get a big boost from Judge Sirica, as I recall.

        Finally, long after all of this was over, I went to see "Born on the Fourth of July".  It was a great movie, but the protest at Syracuse, with cops beating heads in, was total fiction.  There was a protest, but the Syracuse Police were a model of decorum. I was there. I'm not even sure anyone was arrested.  Stone apologized for that after people protested.

        I still can't listen to "Four Dead in Ohio" without remembering how angry I was.  I couldn't believe they shot protestors. I was leaving for college that fall, and everyone was quiet at the dinner table at our house, not a usual occurrence.  I remember my Dad looking at me, and then saying quietly "You be careful.  Just be careful." It took a couple of days before we could talk about it.  My Mom was vehemently against the war, and I know she cried the night of Kent State.

        We do not rent rooms to Republicans.

        by Mary Julia on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:38:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Shocked (37+ / 0-)

      I was in college at the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana in May 1970 and recall many of the events covered in this series of posts. One of my most horrible memories of that time involves me watching a popular grad assistant I knew get his face beat to a pulp with a nightstick from a local cop. I was only a few feet away and was completely shocked, despite the tenor of the times. There were other students milling around and we all just froze. It was like time stood still. The grad assistant had been trying to calm down a run-in between a student and another cop and had been pleading for the student to withdraw and calm down. His reward was a bloody face, a broken nose and a roughly executed arrest.

      Another memory of the post-Kent State murders student strike involved a large and threatening group of local police charging onto the central quad, a gathering place for the counter culture and other students. They suddenly surrounded and beat to death several of the "hippie dogs" that hung around that area of campus. The cops took great pleasure in this and were grinning and taunting those who were upset about it. It was very bloody. I remember I kept thinking that this could not be happening in America, let alone in the middle of the cornfields of downstate Illinois.

      But perhaps the biggest blow to me and many others was the landslide victory Nixon secured, as you say, after all this stuff had already come down. I could not believe that so many Americans could be so cruel, narrowminded, meanspirited and ignorant. It hurt me to the core of my being and I don't think I've ever really recovered. In fact, it kept me away from active politics for many years, saying the hell with it. If this is what America is about I might as well have a hedonistic good time and be done with it. Many others in similar situations did the same. In fact, it wasn't until Howard Dean came on the scene that I returned to activism and started to regain at least some hope that significant change was possible, that the people cold be awoken from their numbness to make a stand. That we could take our Party and our country back. Again.

      So seeing the lazy, uninformed, meanspirited, ignorant, fear-based reaction of way too many Americans to this return of fascist threats to democracy strikes a very deep chord with me. Can it really be that Americans have that short a memory, that little knowledge of history, such a hole in their souls that they don't see the writing on the wall AGAIN? I'm afraid the answer is yes.

      It scares the shit out of me. Because this time the villains have way more tools and the people are either more caught up in selfish consumerism or working way more to make a go of it. This time the students, for the most part, are uninterested, disconnected, uncaring. This time they have the media. This time they are more organized, more experienced, more savage, without even a pretense of nurturing community, country or anything outside their circle of greed.

      I wonder if and when this will dawn on enough people to cause them to stop the treadmill, walk off, and start caring and acting like the nation and the planet is at stake. Because they are.

      •  good to have you back in the fight, barbwire (13+ / 0-)

        I know exactly what you mean when you say that Kent State -- and its associated events -- left a scar that still hasn't healed. I have certainly felt that way for all these years. One of the best things that has come out of writing this series for me has been the realization that so many other people, people who were suddenly accessible to me, had also experienced that same kind of trauma.

        Kent State PTSD -- I wonder if it's been written up in any of the clinical journals.

        In any case, I'm sure glad Howard Dean brought you back into the activist fold. We can't afford to have people sitting it out. As some wise person said, "All it takes for evil to triumph is for good men (and women) to do nothing."

        We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

        by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:15:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Thanks (6+ / 0-)

          Thanks for your kind words and thanks for this amazing and compelling series of posts. I'm in it for the duration now. I'm too old to get all hedonistic again!

        •  PTSD (10+ / 0-)

          I was there that day, and wrote some comments pertaining to my recollections in part III of your remarkable and highly recommended diary, and along with many others from Kent, I too attended the demonstrations in DC on weekend following May 4th, where I was once again tear gassed.  And kainah, I agree with you on PTSD.

          A military psychiatrist at the time verified it in my case.  

          I was drafted almost a year to the day after May 4th, and I refused induction, claiming the war was illegal, and that my order to report was involuntary servitude.  On induction day I showed up at the Federal Building in downtown Cleveland, refused to take the step forward, and was arrested, had mug shots taken, was fingerprinted and then interrogated by the FBI, apparently SOP at the time.  I remember the agent was only upset when I let him know that I would probably not be imprisoned that night, because of the number of us engaging in civil disobedience at the time.    

          A few weeks later I received my indictment, with the ominous heading of "The United States of America vs. _______"  Rather than flee to Canada, which some friends had done, and who are still there btw, I decided to fight it in court.  Thankfully, I received free legal help from a fellow Kent State actor who had gone into law and was doing pro bono for anti-war activists.  

          Our defense was basically that I was traumatized by the events of May 4th, and combined with also having witnessed a workplace mass murder (also 4 dead) at Chrysler's Twinsburg Stamping Plant the prior year, I was interviewed by a military psychiatrist, and months later received a 4F classification.

          My best friend at the time, later the best man at my wedding, also was traumatized.  He took a more official protest to the prospect of being drafted, and went through the lengthy process of applying for conscientous objector status.  He was approved finally, and assigned to the TB ward at Bellevue in NYC, where he eventually contracted the disease.  He did get the best of care, and is OK today, but his life was never the same.

          And I believe the country was also traumatized.  The killings at Kent State virtually stopped the student protest movement, and Nixon and his gang had five more years to impose their will on an unwilling populace thousands of miles away.  The Ford crowd that prosecuted that illegal war never gave up, and look where we are today.

          That's how it is on this bitch of an earth. Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot"

          by ohiojack on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:39:18 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  an amazing story, ohiojack! (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            joynow, peraspera, mitchvance

            I don't think I actually realized that there was a PTSD element to this until I began responding to the commentss in these threads. Yes, I knew I was obsessed but, hey, I get like that. But as I read what other people were saying and responded to them and then, perhaps even more significantly, when I tried to cope with all the feelings that had been brought up over the next few days (and then weeks), I realized how deeply embedded in me the trauma really was.

            And, of course, I was nowhere near the actual event.

            I can't imagine what it must have been like for you to be part of two such incidents.

            This reminds me, though, that Elaine Holstein (Jeff Miller's mother) was at Luxor, Egypt the day before the horrible terrorist attack there about ten years ago. That was way too close for comfort. I can't imagine how she would have survived emotionally if she'd actually been witness to that event.

            We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

            by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:47:11 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It was one of those rare events in history (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              mitchvance

              that you "felt" you were there. Maybe due to repeated viewing of the many photos from nearly every angle, you  just feel deep inside that you (we) were part of the actual experience.

              I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers

              by Zwoof on Thu May 25, 2006 at 02:50:45 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  I went back and read (6+ / 0-)

            your comments in the last diary.

            Don't know what to say but I have to say something. I am so sorry it all happened and so glad you shared what you did.

            I'm not sure the the country was traumatized enough. It sounds like too many accepted it as part of law and order. It was the caring hearts that were traumatized.

            You're right-look where we are today. How can that be possible?

            Now and then I hear people complaining about where the baby boomers went, look what they've done with things. I am later baby boomer and always felt it was the ones that came earlier and led the protests and opened the doors that the rest of us walked through are the only ones that deserve the title. My peers had no draft to worry about.

            The best of them were shot through the heart that day, wherever they were.

            The worst of them did the shooting or found it justified.

            Yet you went to Washington, the courage that took! I understand why you would...but you should have been apologized to, honored, listened to, not tear gassed.

            The world wasn't made for this crap.

          •  Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (0+ / 0-)

            The massacre at Kent State is seldom talked about these days and I believe that is wrong given our current government.  

            I am sorry that you had to experience that awful time.  

      •  One has to wonder (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye BattleCry, JuliaAnn, nhwriter, ama

        what the young of today are thinking.  Except for the few I meet at Democratic rallies, the young are apparently NOT thinking.  Most of the people at these rallies are 50 and above.  It's sad, really.  And scary.

        I talked with Eric Alterman and Catherine Crier at a meeting in Dallas a couple of months back and asked both: what's the biggest threat to the country, and where are we now.

        The answer from both was: the unitary executive and a dictatorship.

        I have to wonder where the marchers in the streets are, since NOW is worse than THEN.

        The answer is simple: the MSM doesn't carry the stories, and to most people, if the MSM isn't going on about it, then it must not be important.

        The next time, it will be lots of people vs. the regular Army, and American soldiers will gun down innocents - just like they recently did in Iraq.  Don't doubt for an instant that Americans will murder other Americans.

        Kent State was just the foreshock.

        Col. Andy Tanner: "All that hate is gonna burn you up kid."
        Robert Morris: "It keeps me warm."

        by Wolverines on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:46:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In fairness to today's youth... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, peraspera, ama, Albatross

          First, remember that your host here is relatively young and nobody can fault his devotion to the cause.

          Also, please note that despite a Cronkite-free media, Bush's approval rating is 29%-33%, depths that Nixon never plumbed until the Watergate endgame.  The protestors (many of them quite young) have won the battle for public opinion in a way never quite matched by the Vietnam protestors even though the carnage was worse in Vietnam.  There may be less compelling protest footage and fewer bodies in the streets, but the antiwar coalition enjoys popular success undreamed of 35 years ago.  

          If you are of a Kantian bent (self-interested altruism isn't), remember that the prospect of getting killed in Vietnam awaited many of those students after graduation;  the students were marching in part to save their own skins.  These days the risk of getting killed in Iraq can be greatly mitigated by not joining the military;  today's protestors are marching to save other peoples' skins.  

          •  In fairness to the boomers... (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kainah, esquimaux, Albatross, Yamaneko2

            (and all generations)in our early youth, we witnessed and took part in the Rock and Roll music and  civil rights revolutions. As we matured in the sixties kids were pushing the limits. During that time, over a six year period, I did not meet a single protester who was trying to save his or her own skin. You see, it was easier to stay in school forever than protest. Or join the National Guard!
             I continue to meet beautiful young people everyday. There are some very courageous young people being killed and maimed as we speak, and they will have to deal with PTSD as we did.

      •  I fear that liberals have been villified (0+ / 0-)

        to the extent that something like this could happen again - conservatives war against liberals, which is how I view the entire bankrupt conservative movement.  

  •  This is a fabulous series. (9+ / 0-)

    I'd love to get your permission to quote from it in my site.  I have a Kent State entry already, but you've got a ton of factual material that I've not seen before.  I would, of course, give a citation and a link.

  •  Thanks. (11+ / 0-)

    What an amazing diary; the amount of research and time you've spent on this is evident, and admirable.
     
    (And on a related note, thank you for explaining the genesis of the Michener book.  I read it when I was in high school, and I remember that something about it seemd a little off to me - now I know why.)

    Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle. -Philo of Alexandria

    by vansterdam on Wed May 24, 2006 at 03:50:01 PM PDT

  •  We're finally on our own. (32+ / 0-)

    Who would have ever thought that a mentally deficient scion of a rich family would vastly outdo the evil that Nixon did a mere 31 years later?  Didn't anybody learn a fucking thing from Vietnam and Kent State?  God DAMN the silent majority.

    "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." J. Lennon

    by trashablanca on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:00:18 PM PDT

  •  excellent series (9+ / 0-)

    thanks.  I have been researching May 4th for three weeks now.

    My 16 y o daughter and I went down there last saturday -- first time for both of us -- amazingly, the site is mostly still intact.

    the metal sculpture [with the bullet hole through 1/2 inch steel] proves what happened there...  

    "The ship be sinking." M. R. Richardson

    by hoof32 on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:03:40 PM PDT

    •  site mostly intact (21+ / 0-)

      Well, yes and no. There is the gym annex that they built next to the site. That covers a large part of the path the Guard used as they retreated from the practice field back up the hill. Since their explanation has always been that they "were surrounded" and threatened, the building of that gymnasium annex helped to advance a visual defense that didn't exist on May 4, 1970. All the parents asked of KSU, in the way of a memorial, was that the hillside be preserved and Kent didn't do that. I have a hard time forgiving and forgetting that.

      That said, i will confess that I haven't been on the campus since the gym annex was built. I walked off the campus the day before the mass arrests protesting that construction happened. I had planned to be arrested but since I was heading for law school that fall, several people convinced me I shouldn't take that risk. So I walked off the campus that day with Arthur Krause and we swore we would never go back. Arthur died a few years ago and, to the best of my knowledge, he didn't return. I, too, have kept that pledge but I am planning on breaking it this summer when I take my sister (littlesky) with me to Kent to show her the scene and then to do some more research. I don't feel as though it's a broken pledge. I need to do the research and she wants me to show her the site. But I know I will be thinking a lot about that last time I was there, with Arthur, before that gym annex got built.

      The bullet hole in the metal sculpture is really a chilling reminder, though. The guard supporters tried to use it to prove that someone had fired on the guard first because the metal flares out towards the guard's position. Unfortunately for them, it didn't take long for ballistics experts to say that that was simply how an M-1 entry "wound" looks. Moreover, there were lots of cars in the parking lot with bullet holes that looked exactly like that and it was pretty hard to argue that people were hiding under the hood and in the floorboards of cars shooting out.  

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:39:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  asdf (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah, peraspera

        I have been reading along the whole way with you--fabulous work. I live within walking distance of that field and actually do distance obedience work with my dog on it. (Born in '71, came to Kent for grad school, BTW.)

        Let me know when you're coming here--I'd be glad to say hello to you and your sister and cook you lunch or something--small thanks for your fine work.

        •  thanks, buckeye blue! (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera

          There's a few participants in these diaries who are still in the area. Maybe we should try to arrange to get together when littlesky and I are there. Let me give that some thought. I know I'm going to be on an emotional roller coaster and, right now, I'm not entirely convinced I can handle much more. But....

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:40:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Outstanding series (10+ / 0-)

    Thanks for doing it.  You rock, sis!  :-)

    "The legislature's job is to write law. It's the executive branch's job to interpret law." --George W. Bush, Austin, Texas, Nov. 22, 2000

    by littlesky on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:20:09 PM PDT

    •  as do you, my favorite littlesky (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, trashablanca, Albatross

      and thanks for the push that will take me back to Kent this summer. I'm scared but excited ... and I'm not gonna get a cold this time. :-) We have to put together a research strategy so we can maximize our time there.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:23:32 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thank you, Kainah (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah

        for all your work on this series.

        I've lived in the general area of Kent for ten years (first Stow, then Kent), and I have tried to read everything I could find about the Kent State tragedy in order to reach some sort of understanding about what happened. In 1970, I was three years old, so I have no personal memory of those times, but I sometimes feel as though I have the most horrible sense of deja vu nonetheless. Thanks for helping me to understand a bit more.

        Oh, and if you're in Kent this summer, and you want to sit out on a shady porch with a glass of iced tea, I live on Main Street, and you'd be more than welcome.

        •  as I said to buckeye blue above (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera

          We may just have to try to figure out some time to have a little kossacks near Kent time. I'll definitely give it some thought.

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:42:32 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  marvelous diary. (9+ / 0-)

    thank you.

    still remember seeing the pic of Jeff Miller lying on the ground in life magazine when I was a kid, asking who it was and why he was dead, and being told that he was a bad person who the police had protected us from.

    •  that 'bad person' (19+ / 0-)

      That photo was taken of him on Saturday, May 2, 1970.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:40:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's how you grabbed me (11+ / 0-)

        In your earlier diary, linking to the pictures of the kids they were shot...before they were shot, alive and well.

        (Same things get me about the soldiers who have died in Iraq that have that same twinkle in their eye in life. Who would think a war protester and a military guy could hit the same way. But Augie Schroeder's face came to mind when I saw the picture of the living Jeff Miller. They both look like they just got done picking on their little sister)

        Since I read your previous diaries I have looked into May 4th a lot and I have never forgotten the young faces. I had hit my teens by the time this happened and while I remember being horrified it has hit me much harder since your diary than I remember it hitting then.

        In your last diary there were a couple posters who had lived there then and they talked about the response of the local adults. That just killed me though I knew initially some might be explained by early news reports that guardsmen had been shot by students. Maybe they were afraid? The problem is the reaction lasted. That is as far beyond my understanding as the shootings themselves are.

        I am not "nicer" or more caring than people in general as far as I know and I can't imagine my heart not going out to the kids that were killed and their families and to the other students who were traumatized by it. Even if one disagreed with whatever kids were protesting, their idealism should is worth admiration and how could the instinct be other than wishing to console? I hug them all now in my heart retroactively.

        I hope those posters are here to see this and post again. One had neighbors pointing guns at students houses, another was able to get in to get his sister out but had much to say about that time and the reaction of the guard there.

        I have followed links to right wing posts before, I know hate can exist in the sense that people deserve bad things to happen to them. But what hurts is that the town reacted that way, that many in the country did, that the young guardsmen did. It hurts to not be at all convinced there would not be the same reaction today.

        Your diaries are wonderful but...they do of course bring pain to the heart. I know the pain I feel now is nothing to the pain of those affected then.

        What I hate is that there is no just ending. In a novel there surely would be at least some justice and much regret.

        Thank you.

        •  thank you so much! (8+ / 0-)

          Yes, I've noticed that mitchvance and DonnaZ -- who were both in Kent that day -- don't seem to have seen this diary. I've been watching for them and for a few others, Allison in Seattle, gooserock and you and nonnie9999 (and you've showed up). I know how to reach DonnaZ and, if he doesn't show, I think also I'll track down mitchvance to make sure they do see this.

          That night with the May 4 diary was a tremendously moving experience for me. For years and years and years, I've known I was irrationally obsessed with Kent State. For most of my family and friends, it wasn't really new to see me get totally wrapped up in a subject. But this was different and even the most supportive of them reached a point where the last thing they wanted to hear me say was "Kent State." On the 20th anniversary, I forced myself to kind of let it go because, well, because it did real psychic damage to me to have it constantly in my heart and mind. And I was OK with that. I wrote an article for American History Illustrated which summed up (and documented for the editor) what I knew & had discovered. And then I moved on to a topic that had also grabbed my fancy and spent the next ten years working on a book on the Upper Missouri frontier of the 1800s, which I totally enjoyed.

          I had a couple different topics I was considering for a book when George W. Bush stole the 2000 election and, after that, and especially after blundering into Iraq, I knew that I had to take all my extra time and devote it to politics and peace work. But, after the 2004 elections, I knew I had to write or shrivel up and so I started a book on Kent State. But this comment of yours captures exactly the difference for me now:

          In a novel there surely would be at least some justice and much regret.  

          What I am writing now is Kent State but it is also fiction. And that allows for justice, reconciliation and regret. All of which, of course, I need in abundance, having lived with Kent at the core of my soul since that Monday afternoon. And like most great psychological traumas, I didn't even realize how much it had reached into my soul until a couple years had passed. Before that, I couldn't look at it  closely enough to understand. I had to turn away because it hurt too badly.

          And what I discovered here on dkos three weeks ago tonight was that other people are also suffering from Kent State PTSD. It was an amazing revelation that soothed me in some really important and fundamental ways. I tried to write a diary talking about my reaction to that night but I failed miserably and so finally gave up and decided to write this instead.

          All of these diaries will appear, in a similar format, in my book. They will be the writings of a central character. I didn't know that when I wrote them but it's surprising how much you don't know when you're writing a novel. I thought they were just an exercise in refreshing my memory of details and a way to honor the kids on the 4th, but I was wrong. They are a part of the book and they are probably the most therapeutic Kent State exercise I've done since 1970.

          In the meantime, while I've been writing this & interrupted with a call to a friend & then thinking I lost this all, I discovered that Allison in Seattle and mitchvance have both checked in so I have to go say hi. But thanks, joynow, for giving me this opportunity to thank all of you who helped  give these diaries a wonderful healing power.

          And, joynow, there would have been a time when I would felt a malicious delight in thinking I drew you into Kent State research. Arthur Krause did it to Peter Davies who did it to me and.... But I hope that you caught some of the healing good along the PTSD.  

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:10:23 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The twist in your book (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kainah, Albatross

            that allows that allows for justice, reconciliation and regret sounds perfect and healing.

            Writing can take on a life of it's own...the hand connects to some part you don't see well that can be deeper and wiser than the part of you that can plan.

            But I hope that you caught some of the healing good along the PTSD.  

            I can't quite word this but it seems the only good to intentionally stepping into or exposing yourself to trauma is to take it on and then heal, as though that transmutes the energy.

            Not just things like kent state but following closely the day to day horrors in the modern world, here at home or overseas. It would be easier not to. I wonder why I don't give it up, just voye a straight Den ticket but otherwise not eneter into it. My calls or letters make no difference.
            But somehow it seems like it matters in that same way I can't explain. You face it, you take it in, you do what you can but mostly you return to center, become more certainly youself, become more and not less...
            I'll quit trying to find right words. But I catch and share all the healing good I can. You can only do it by facing, not by hiding from the hard things that are there.

            •  pretty well stated, I think (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joynow, peraspera

              But somehow it seems like it matters in that same way I can't explain. You face it, you take it in, you do what you can but mostly you return to center, become more certainly youself, become more and not less...
              I'll quit trying to find right words.

              You found pretty good words, joynow. And I totally agree with you. Early on in my journey through Kent State, a well-meaning friend suggested that I really should just "let it go," that it was doing me more damage than it could possibly be worth. I was stunned that she thought there was choice involved in what I was doing. Once I opened my heart and brain to accept the trauma I felt and the possibility I had to heal that through learning and research, I never had a choice to leave it alone. It was part of me as much as my brown hair or left arm.

              That old axiom -- "ignorance is bliss" -- is, I guess, true but ignorance is also ignorance and, for me at least, I have no desire to be ignorant and cannot, for the life of me, find anything admirable in that.

              We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

              by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:48:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  kill 'em all (18+ / 0-)

    The mentality is still alive and well today. The antiwar movement in Olympia, WA has been protesting the shipment of military equipment from the city-owned port. Over the past several days something like 20 people have been arrested, the local paper has a comments system on their website where you can the comments the god-fearing freedom-loving supporters of the troops:

    "A .50 cal used in a sweeping motion will be the most effective crowd dispersal tool!
    Anonymous | 05.24.06 - 4:36 pm | #"

    Taken from the comments section of the most recent article on the protests:
    http://www.theolympian.com/...

    I don't know how widespread these people are but they seem to spend a lot of time posting comments on the internet and writing letters to the editor. If you listen to them there would be dancing in the streets if ever someone decided to kill people who don't support the war.

    Howard Dean has a posse (buy my t-shirts so I can afford YearlyKos!)

    by Jett on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:39:01 PM PDT

  •  Kainah... (9+ / 0-)

    Thank you so very much for this diary.  

    I cried at some points of your diary.  Tears of joy, but mostly tears of sorrow, despair, and fear...fear that this nation may, one day soon, see something like this happen again.  I myself was not even brought into this world before the Kent State shooting, but the symbolism of tyranny and the weight of sorrow remain the same when my thoughts turn to it.  

    There isn't a thing anyone can say to change what happened, but perhaps we all can keep the four people who lost their lives on that tragic day in our minds forever, remember what they died for, and try as hard as possible to make sure it never happens again.

    Once again, thank you.  I could not have produced this diary myself; it wouldn't turn out nearly as well, and I wouldn't be able to bear the emotions that would come with both the research and the writing of it.

    Let us hope that this never happens again.
    Let us hold and pursue the same ideals as those students.
    Let us do all we can, so that we can be sure these courageous souls did not died in vain.  

    Peace and Love to All,
    Ben

    •  worried about it happening again (9+ / 0-)

      Frankly, I am a little surprised that we've gotten this far into W's rule without it happening again. It scares me, too, but I rather expect it to happen. Whenever I speak to people about Kent state, I try to make the point that you need to always be aware of what's going on around you if you're at a demonstration. There were agents provocateur at Kent and a lot of signs that something bad was brewing. But no one really believed that National Guardsmen would fire live bullets at kids armed with rocks and big mouths. Now we know better.

      Stay in the streets (I do it every week) but keep your wits about you while you're doing it.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:55:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't see it happening (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mitchvance, nonnie9999, gatorcog

        It has become obvious that protests do not impress the powers that be.  Given that, it's hard to see why they would bother shooting someone during them unless the crowd gave them no choice.  Arrest them and dump them in toxic, dangerous surroundings so they don't spoil photo-ops?  Sure.  Possibly even 'disappear' some of them?  Maybe  But kill them on the street?  Naw, that would cause a ruckus.

        -fred

        •  you're probably right, Fred (6+ / 0-)

          at least, I guess I hope so. Although

          Arrest them and dump them in toxic, dangerous surroundings so they don't spoil photo-ops?  Sure.  Possibly even 'disappear' some of them?  Maybe

          sounds pretty bad, too......

          That idea of disappearing people has bothered me for a while, as well. We all live in such isolated and insulated worlds these days, I wonder if we'd even notice if our neighbors started being disappeared. My thought is that probably co-workers would notice .... and maybe some blog community friends ... but neighbors? I don't know.

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:32:16 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  You're right Fred... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, peraspera, esquimaux, nonnie9999

          What with the new "free speech zones," you can't get near a government official with a protest sign, let alone a demonstration. Our right to protest is almost non-existent. Riot squads are so well-equipted and trained  that a real demonstration could not even get started. The fascists are very well prepared to squelch any real dissent. It will take massive action to have any impact.

        •  Not by this generation of students. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Zoskie

          We are too beat down with ridiculous tuition and fees, Loan-Only student aid, and working 3 jobs to have the energy to protest. And the 10% who don't work are sucking on the tit of Chimpy's giveaways to the rich.

          "I beg to dream and differ from the hollow lies." Green Day

          by UndercoverRxer on Thu May 25, 2006 at 08:27:14 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  well (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, peraspera, nonnie9999

        I have to say that, at many protests I've been to in these past 3 years, the police have become FAR more aggressive and intimidating, and seem to be trying to repress things.  The worst was at the CAFTA protests down in Miami 2 years ago...

        I guess the "Philadelphis Model" has caught on.

        What have your experiences been like over the past few years Kainah?  

        •  I'm in Wyoming so.... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          peraspera, nonnie9999

          Out here, things are pretty laid back. I went to DC last September for the big demonstration and only remember seeing a few cops, many of whom seemed to be quietly supporting us. But the CAFTA protests were really bad, from what I've read, and I think whoever said that if this happened today, most of the mainstream press would say "they should have shot them all" is just about right. I'll bet there's been a lot of violence going on against protesters that isn't being reported.

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:30:28 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yeah (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kainah, peraspera

            I hope you see this message Kainah.  Sorry it took me a while to get back to you.

            There was some terrible violence going on at the CAFTA protests.  Now, I'm a person who will tell the truth about things.  If the protesters in any way provoke the violence against them, even slightly, I would let people know.  My progressive friends often get mad at me because I'll take the side of the "wrong" people when they are right or speaking the truth.

            The fact is, the police did several things that were not only unwarranted, but downright brutal and illegal.  One of my friends was tazered because someone she knew had a broken arm, and the police were twisting his arm around his back (not to cuff him, just to hurt him) and she was screaming.  She didn't in any way touch or threaten any officer, but was screaming at them to stop and trying to tell them that his arm was already broken (which they obviously knew since he had a sling on it).  We have the whole thing on tape.  Seeing a person get tazered is one of the most horrifying things one can witness.  The convulsions, the clenched teeth...It was terrible.  

            Another one of my friends got tazered because she had a video camera and was filming some of the things that were going on.  Most of the protesters were shot with pepper balls and rubber bullets, all for protesting peacefully.  At one point, about 50 people were protesting in a parking lot that was not allocated to us for protesting grounds.  The police announced on a bullhorn that they were protesting in an illegal area and that they had to disperse in 1 1/2 minutes.  Everyone started leaving peacefully at that moment, but a half circle of police started moving in the second the announcement was made and trapped about 20 of them so they could not leave.  When the time limit ran out, they were backed against the wall of a building with no way out, and the police began arresting every one of them.  They trapped them and then justified their arrest by saying that they did not disperse, even though they had no way of doing so.  This was apparently on tape as well, but they confiscated the camera and destroyed it.  

            There were some reporters who's equipment was confiscated as well.  Those who filmed things that would be detrimental to the police had their cameras taken away, whether they were journalists or protesters.  

            The media painted the whole thing as the fault of the protesters.  They claimed most of the protesters on that day were anarchists who were destroying things.  Any protest has that very small element, but I didn't see a single one of them, I only heard about a few windows broken by some kids dressed in black.  But the media didn't report any of the police brutality, and the stuff they accidentally caught live on film was blamed on the supposedly huge amount of anarchists.  

            Many protests are now be controlled via the "Miami Model."  I mistakenly called it the "Philadelphia Model" in my last post because the person who directed the police force with such brutality that day was John Timoney, the former Police Commissioner of Philadelphia.  He also coordinated the infamous tactics used by the police at the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia.  His methods are now called the Miami Model becaused of what occurred at the CAFTA protests, during which he was Police Chief of Miami (he may still be, I don't know.  He was brought in by the mayor to "clean up the department").  

            If you don't know much about the Miami Model, I urge you to find out more.  Here are a couple of good links:

            http://www.democracynow.org/...

            http://www.zmag.org/...

            The scary thing about all this was that there were both undercover police all over the place dressed to look like protesters, as well as "embedded journalists" dressed in Miami Police Department clothes to write kind reports about the police and the way they handled the protests.  They tried as hard as was possible to make sure the truth did not get out and, in terms of what was reported by the MSM, it never did.  

            Good luck to you in both life and future protests!

            -Ben

            •  thanks for the links, Ben (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              peraspera

              What you're reporting sounds like what I had heard before. DemocracyNow! had some excellent reports on the CAFTA protests. And I'd heard of the Miami Model but don't know that much so I appreciate the links. I will educate myself.

              We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

              by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 04:46:02 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  me too.. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah, esquimaux

        that was the gist of the Kent State diary I did not too long ago.  Remember Kent State..or else.

        I'd sure hate to come face to face with a National Guard unit just back from their 3rd rotation in Iraq.

        Now, the local cops are quite prepared to deal with the "problem" as they have benefited from Federal funding to equip themselves with the latest and greatest implements of destuction all in the name of "The War on Terra"

        Be careful out there.

        I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers

        by Zwoof on Thu May 25, 2006 at 03:05:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Nothing really to add (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    But great read.

    In America, press reports on the goverment. In Soviet Russia, goverment reports on you!

    by Fernando Poo on Wed May 24, 2006 at 04:44:28 PM PDT

  •  I remember (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    hearing something about Nixon sneaking out on the Secret Service before, but it was all quite vague.

    Fabulous series you've got going on here.

    The lone and level sands stretch far away. -Shelly

    by justme on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:02:10 PM PDT

  •  little publicized facts regarding (19+ / 0-)

    campus and other protests against the war include:

    1. the number of violent attacks against protestors in cities and universities across the country. this included the famous incidents at UCB,the police riots in Chicago, Philadelphia and NY etc.
    1. beatings of protestors at such places as Penn State by members of the football team. St. Paterno or some of his staff was even rumored to have implicitly encouraged this and certainly never penalized anyone who participated. this and similar incidents occurred on many campuses
    1. MI, FBI and NSA surveillance of anyone with anti-war views who went public. even some of those who did not
    1. the use of "anti-crowd" laws to justify the beatings of groups of 6 or more "long-hairs" in cities such as Philadelphia and Boston
    1. the hypervigilance of the media about any protestor or anti-war organization

    The point is that Kent State was a horrible event, but was the logical conclusion of policies and processes put in place by the military, intelligence and law enforcement that virtually guaranteed that this would occur.

    Not unlike today.

  •  As I've heard in the past (5+ / 0-)

    This was the day that America came closest to a second civil war.

    Though the Bushies seem to want to push for the exact same thing.

    There's nothing more cowardly than having a guy on salary do your outrage for you.

    by cskendrick on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:11:40 PM PDT

  •  Great diary, recommended (5+ / 0-)

    I hope against hope that Bush won't murder dissenters as a way to rally his base.

    The Republicans want to cut YOUR Social Security benefits.

    by devtob on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:18:57 PM PDT

  •  Thanks! (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, javelina, peraspera, TexH, nonnie9999

    I want to thank you for your wonderful series.  I sent links to the first three to all of my close friends and family.  I was 12 when this happened and remember few details.  In any case, I know none of my family knew the whole story then.  It is amazing.  And your piece is really fabulous.  I feel as though I knew the kids.  And I so identify with their fury and frustration now.

    You should consider writing a book.

    Now I will go and send the last link out.

    Keep up the good work!

    Help me please! Bad bad people have stolen my country!

    by JulieIde on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:39:57 PM PDT

    •  a book (5+ / 0-)

      You should consider writing a book.

      I'm working on it. I started it about a year ago and it took me ten years to write my first (which has nothing to do with politics or Kent), though, so it could be a while.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:50:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  last link (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, peraspera, trashablanca

      BTW, Julie, I just noticed you said "last link." Actually, I still have one more to go. I promised that Part IV would be about the civil and criminal trials that followed but the response to Part III on the killings themselves made me want to do this piece, also, dealing with the immediate impact. So I still have another diary planned regarding the legal aftermath. Hopefully it won't take me another three weeks to get that one done. I'm aiming to post it next week.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:19:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  'They Should Have Shot Them All' (30+ / 0-)

    My family happened to be having dinner at my grandparents house when the story about the Kent State killings came on the evening news.  When I saw your title I got chills, because those were my grandfather's exact words: "They should have shot them all."  I proceeded to tell him off in no uncertain terms in front of the entire family, like I never did before or since for the rest of his life.  Then my parents proceeded to beat me, first a slap to the face, then (as I was unrepentent) the belt.  

    I was 10 years old.

    I still try to live up to that moment of speaking truth to power.

    If we trash the planet, none of the rest of this matters...

    by Dem in Knoxville on Wed May 24, 2006 at 05:56:19 PM PDT

  •  April 29, 1970 (7+ / 0-)

    Although I cannot cite any references for most of what I am about to report, I have heard the following claims:

    On April 29, 1970 the day before President Nixon's Cambodia speech, Governor James Rhodes activated around 6,000 members of the Ohio National Guard.  Most of these were sent to areas around Youngstown and Cincinatti Ohio to police a (wildcat?) strike by truckers.  However, several thousand were sent to Ohio State University (located in the city of Columbus) in order to seal off the campus and enforce a governor's order that included a curfew and a ban on public protests and assemblies.

    Why were the National Guard sent to Ohio State University on April 29?  Accounts vary.  Some claim that rampaging rioters had destroyed several buildings, and that protesters armed with rocks and bottles lined the streets.  Others claim that classes were interrupted by people shouting that everyone needed to disperse and return to their residences immediately, and that students leaving the classroom buildings were gassed and charged by club-weilding, shield-bearing highway patrolmen wearing uniforms and gas masks -- and then, in some cases, locked out of their dormitories and subsequently confronted by Ohio guardsmen armed with rifles, bayonets fixed, or driving military vehicles.  Some highway patrolmen and Ohio guardsmen were reported injured by rocks and bottles.  Some students were reported wounded by bullets and others injured by beating, gassing, or rough handling.

    The critical incident that seemed to have sparked this disturbance was the closing of "gates" that marked one entrance to the university campus.  This had the effect of blocking a road through campus that normally carried significant non-university traffic. According to the New York Times archive, on October 31, 1970 the New York Times carried an articleentitled "Photos Indicate Ohio Patrolmen Had a Role in Student Disorders."  Here is the abstract of that article:

    COLUMBUS, Ohio, Oct. 30 Photographs introduced into evidence at an Ohio State University disciplinary hearing have indicated that undercover State Highway Patrolmen played a role in the incident that touched off several days of disorders here last spring.

    The Ohio guardmen who were sent to Ohio State on April 29 remained there until the university was shut down and all the students sent home following the shooting on May 4 at Kent State.  I have been told that the guardsmen who were at Kent State on May 4 had first been sent to police the Teamster's strike on April 29, 1970.
    ---------------

    I'd be curious to know if anyone can confirm any of this.

    I used to live in the United States of America. Now I live in a homeland.

    by homeland observer on Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:25:40 PM PDT

    •  Teamsters' Strike (7+ / 0-)

      Yes, the guardsmen that were sent to Kent had been called up prior to that for the Teamsters' strike, where they encountered real violence.

      As for the stuff about Ohio State, there is stuff in the comments of my other diary on the events of that weekend that discusses this. Most of what you say coincides with what others have said about what was going on at Ohio State that week. I think it was gooserock who added most of the information to the previous diaries about the events at Ohio State.

      Also, for gooserock or whoever it was that was talking about black students leaving Ohio State and going to Kent, I found a reference the other day to the Friday rally at Kent by Black United Students that said several of the speakers had come up from Ohio State to tell the Kent students about what was happening down there.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 06:50:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have a memory from that time... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, peraspera, grayslady, nonnie9999

    ...not confirmed by anything, just from the time.  That one of the boys' fathers said his son deserved to be killed for protesting.  Some kinda "He asked for it" thing.  Did it happen?  I remember it, but it's not in this diary.

    I've wondered about that father over the years.  If I'd been killed, my own dad might well have said something like that - maybe that's why it's stuck in my mind.  Wondering, at many different points over the years, what he'd say now with years of reflection on it.  There was definitely a "gender gap" those days.

    •  It was more than a gender gap (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera, ama, Dvalkure, nonnie9999

      Or a generational gap. Many of us had loved ones in Vietnam at the time and we felt torn apart by the war protests. You have to remember that there were anti-war protesters who actually spit on the troops in those days and booed them when they returned home. And it wasn't as though most of the young soldiers had a choice to serve. They were drafted! So you had this incredible anger and animosity from people who had served honorably in prior wars, or who had children, or children of friends, or brothers, husbands, etc. serving in Vietnam. Some still believed that if the President thought the war was necessary that meant that you did your duty. Others didn't believe in the war but naturally supported those they knew and loved who were fighting. There were no little magnetic ribbons in those days saying "Support the Troops". The treatment of returning vets by many anti-war activists was truly shameful and, unfortunately, that behavior hurt their cause with people who  otherwise probably would have been supportive of the peace movement.
      Just trying to provide some perspective as to what I think triggered so many of the hateful remarks.

      •  Duh. Didn't mean gender gap. (7+ / 0-)

        GENERATION gap.  Ah well.  If it's the worst mistake I make all day, it's not a bad day.

        I think that thing about spitting on the returning soldiers, and so on, is a bit of an urban myth.  I was against the war, in an active way.  And the reason I was is because of what guys I knew told me about it when they came home.  Boyfriend in VVAW, and so on.  Don't forget that Country Joe (Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-to-Die Rag) was a Vietnam vet himself.

        But you're right that WWII veterans (like my dad) didn't take the anti-war movement very well.  But, even so, the family took the prudent move of sending my brother to college in Canada.

      •  spitting on soldiers (12+ / 0-)

        Boy, I wish I had some real documentation of this having happened. I hear people now saying it happened to them but, funny thing, I never heard much about it until the early 80s when the Reagan Revolution was on the rise and the demonization of the 60s hippie counterculture began in earnest.

        I'm not saying it didn't happen but I think if it did, it was much less than is implied these days. I remember a number of returning soldiers coming to campus and joining with us in demonstrations and, aside from people asking some inappropriate questions guided from curiosity and ignorance, I don't remember a tremendous amount of disrespect. Kids were pretty aware of the fact that plenty of soldiers were draftees who didn't want to be there.

        As I say, it may have happened but sometimes I think this is just more of the right-wing noise machine trying to convince us of how bad we all were back then and why we deserved to be shot down.

        (Not that you are trying to do that, grayslady. Your comment elicited this response from me but I'm not questioning your motives.)

        We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

        by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:45:18 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  As a returning Navy airman (14+ / 0-)

          I can say that I encountered no hostility from my peers in the hippie area of Houston: Montrose.  They had questions, but they also knew I was rabidly anti-war, so maybe I just missed the hate.  Still, I saw a lot of military and ex-military, and while people in uniform sometimes got loud questions, no one was spit on.  Almost everyone realized that, then as now, the soldiers were just regular people trying to do as they were told.

          But I have to wonder about Kent State.  How could an American aim a loaded gun at an unarmed American of any age and think, "I'll shoot them!  This is a good thing!"  I just don't get it.

          Col. Andy Tanner: "All that hate is gonna burn you up kid."
          Robert Morris: "It keeps me warm."

          by Wolverines on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:51:10 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I had close friends on both (7+ / 0-)

        . . . sides of the Vietnam divide. They too often said hateful, hurtful things to and about each other. I tried to play peacemaker but the chasm was often too deep and wide to bridge completely. It was heartbreaking to see families and lifelong friendships ripped to shreds by such a cynical, senseless war.

        Some people did treat returning vets disrespectfully but neither side has any business throwing stones. Ask a few Vietnam vets about how wonderfully some of their fellow veterans of other wars treated them. I know several vets whose own WWII veteran fathers berated them for fighting a losing war.

      •  I had been in the US Army at the time. (8+ / 0-)
        Although I didn't serve any time in Vietnam, I was in Southeast Asia at the time and my plane stopped in Saigon on the way back to the states. When we got to Oakland Army Transfer Base and left the plane to walk through the airport, there weren't any protesters at all. No spitting or nothing. There weren't any flag wavers either. Plenty of US military came back home without any welcome or comment upon our return. It was just another lonely flight for me back to my home in the Northeast US. Nobody was spitting or waving flags there either. I just wound up wondering what all the fuss and news reports were about until I had time to adjust to being home.

        There were plenty of anti- war feelings among the troops at the time and many of those veterans became protesters after their Vietnam   experience. John Kerry, for instance.    

        The lunatics are destroying the asylum. (-6.25,-5.13)

        by Skylor on Wed May 24, 2006 at 10:16:25 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  no, it didn't happen (10+ / 0-)

      There were a lot of urban myths surrounding the event and I suspect that what you heard is a variant on the fact that Bernard Miller, when first shown Jeff's body, refused to identify him because so much of his face was blown away. That was transformed into Bernie refused to claim the body, Jeff was so dirty he couldn't be recognized, Bernie didn't want anything to do with him, etc. etc. What you heard sounds like just another extension of the myth.

      The truth is the man's son had half his face blown off and, after learning his youngest son was dead, Bernie flew to OH with his oldest son and, about 4 hours after getting this news, he was presented with a body that he was in no mental shape to immediately recognize as his son, Jeffrey Glenn Miller, b. March 28, 1950 and d. May 4, 1970.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:40:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I haven't read thi post yet, but I already wanted (9+ / 0-)

    to THANK YOU for the previous 3 from earlier this month. I have been watching everyday and was worried that I had missed this 4th post. I found out that I was too late to post on the earlier ones to say thanks.

    I actually went out and found the Michener book at the local libray and read it. So many thoughts.

    Somehow I keep picturing you as that 19 or 20 year old , as you were then, although doing the math, I have to know that you're my age -- in your 50's, because in 1970, I was 20 also. A part of me, when I hear the words -- Kent State -- will always be 20.

    I was in NYC at the time, in college with friends and roommates who were as outraged and upset as I was. Stunned. The thing was, that we didn't feel like adults yet, and we always thought of the National Guard as adults....not knowing much about them at the time, but who was to know that a lot of them were not only the same age as the college kids, but also some were very local too.

    What stunned me then was my first thought on hearing of the killings..."they really do hate us" ..    meaning the older generation and the Establishment and the adults. That they were willing to kill us to keep us quiet and if they couldn't kill us all in VietNam, then they'd just do it at home in the U.S.

    More later......Pat

    •  I feel like that teenager, too (4+ / 0-)

      And, actually, I was kind of precocious so I was a 17-year-old freshman at the time. And when I remember, I feel that age again. And you're absolutely right -- I didn't feel like an adult then either and I, too, thought of the Guard as grown-ups.

      I'm glad you found the series. And there's a Part V coming -- covering the trials and investigations that followed. Hopefully I'll have it done next week.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:49:16 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent, as before. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    peraspera

    It's the "anti-fear-propaganda" solution: positive news: HeroicStories, free

    by AllisonInSeattle on Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:22:39 PM PDT

  •  One of my earliest memories. (11+ / 0-)

    I was 6 years old, and my aunt (who lived with us) went to Kent State.  And she didn't come home on time.  My mother was calling everywhere, trying to find her. "have you seen her, have you seen her".  The only time I remember my mother crying. (My aunt was at a boyfriend's - had no idea what happened and came home late that day.) I don't know how many hours my mom was calling, probably not as many as it seems like.

    Which explains the rules at my house:

    1. I don't care who you vote for but you will vote in every election
    1. You will never vote for James Rhodes (Ohio Gov who called out the guard)
  •  Thanks so much for writing this (10+ / 0-)

    although it makes me deeply sad.  I was 16 at the time of Kent State, and my father infuriated me by expressing the popular sentiment, "They must have been doing something wrong.  They shouldn't have been there.  They were causing trouble."  I argued back, passionately, that even if that were true (which I didn't grant), being SHOT TO DEATH was not a fair punishment for causing trouble!  

    Those were such terrible times.  It took me years to get over them... and it breaks my heart that those same evil people are back in power and destroying lives, and quality of life, again.  How I wish we could kill this evil spirit, bury it with a stake through its heart, salt the grave -- whatever it takes to make sure it never, never returns.

    Our troops won the war. Bush lost the peace.

    by snazzzybird on Wed May 24, 2006 at 07:56:01 PM PDT

  •  What a bitter irony... (7+ / 0-)

    that Nixon, who had ordered the propaganda ministry to smear, vilify, and demonize student protesters for years, felt safe enough to go out amongst them and try to connect! Can you believe it?
     There's more. Richard Nixon was a Quaker, the one religious sect that is adamantly non-violent and anti-war. And the Friends Meeting he officially belonged to in California, after all that he did, wouldn't throw him out.
     As usual, great diary. I wish these threads would last longer. After I read your post, I am so deep in thought and emotion I can hardly respond. At least not sensibly. Thanks  to all of you for sharing your love of humanity.

    •  want a real irony?? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, peraspera, Dvalkure, nonnie9999

      Richard Nixon is my distant cousin through our Quaker ancestors.

      I kid you not. Twice over related, in fact.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:03:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Wow!! That blows my mind... (4+ / 0-)

        Now that's an irony!

         I didn't know anything about Quakers until I went to Kent State. The war and the CO status available through the Quaker affiliation brought a lot of attention to the local Friends Meeting. Also, a close friend, from a Quaker family, chose to work in Robinson Memorial Hospital to fulfill his military obligation. Those people in the Kent Meeting were wonderful people and have shaped my thinking about religious matters, especially faith in practice. They were very helpful to me personally during some difficult times.
         It's good that we talked about the Quakers. They were another part of the larger Kent State story.

        •  to say the least (4+ / 0-)

          I was less than thrilled when I discovered the connection. My only solace was that he hated his Quaker ancestors while I love mine (who were also involved with the Underground Railroad in Martin's Ferry, OH. And, nearby, there was a Milhous also involved with the UGRR who, I'm sure, is tied to Tricky Dick, too.)

          The family from which we are descended settled in this country in the 1600s. So we had lots of generations to intertwine. But, imagine! They didn't even invite me to the funeral! Or Trisha's wedding. All I got was a branch in the genealogy program.

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:23:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  With one exception, you have quite a pedigree... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peraspera

            The Quakers I've known are extremely courageous people. And I could go on and on. Although I have always been afraid to join any religious group,(or any group for that matter)I was an "attender" at a ND Friends Meeting for two years.
             So sad you weren't invited to family gettogethers. But then, you wouldn't want to be seen with them anyway.

            •  I'm not a Quaker (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joynow, peraspera

              Just descendant of.... Actually, it is kind of funny because my mother -- the one you'll remember who said "they must have done something to deserve it" when I called home on May 4 -- always wondered "where the hell (I) got all this peace & justice crap." You can, then, imagine my delight the day that I discovered that her great-grandfather was a lawyer who'd married a Quaker and that their fathers knew each other because they'd been involved in running slaves along the underground railroad. "Hey Mom, you know that bent for peace and justice crap I seem to have? Well, guess where it comes from?"

              It was a sweet moment (for me) in our relationship, especially since it was a great-grandfather she knew much about because of his proud Civil War record. (He was a member of the Seceder Presbyterian Church, which seems to have been a fringe sect that stayed close to Quaker meetings. He recruited a number of Quakers for Civil War service. Needless to say, my great-great grandmother and the soldiers her husband recruited all ended up no longer members of the Friends Meeting.)

              We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

              by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 10:02:40 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Very interesting... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                kainah

                The acorns don't fall very far from the tree. My grandfather was not a quaker, but he was non-violent person. He deserted the US Calvary while  on duty at the famous Colorado Mining strike. Dad claims he only wanted to marry my grandmother. Nevertheless, he was considered a coward the rest of his life, which he spent hiding out from authorities in the West Virginia mountains.

  •  Thanks for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Buckeye BattleCry, joynow, peraspera

    all the hard work you have done putting this series together. That time seems so long ago and your series of diaries brings back oh so many emotions.

    Tin soldiers and Nixon coming......

    The great tragedy of Science, the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by an ugly fact. ~ T. H. Huxley

    by realalaskan on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:33:21 PM PDT

  •  I was in the Navy. (6+ / 0-)

    with 4 days left to go.  Very few events remain so vivid after all these years.

    CSN&Y's "Ohio" is a song I've played every month or so since it came out.

    It's amazing how many people I talk to, from professors to gun show dealers, who think that we're heading into a revolution.

    The next time, those civilians may just fire back.

    Great piece of writing!!

    BTW, the name I chose for DailyKos was not just for show.

    Col. Andy Tanner: "All that hate is gonna burn you up kid."
    Robert Morris: "It keeps me warm."

    by Wolverines on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:38:33 PM PDT

    •  would it happen to be UMich Wolverines? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      peraspera

      I don't even know if that's right. But I would really like to find someone who was at University of Michigan during Kent State.

      If anyone reading this fits that bill, please respond here or drop me an email (check my profile).

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:51:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It would be Patrick Swayze's Wolverines (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Buckeye BattleCry

        Col. Andy Tanner: "All that hate is gonna burn you up kid."
        Robert Morris: "It keeps me warm."

        by Wolverines on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:02:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I am sure you'll hear something (0+ / 0-)

        Ironically, I grew up in Ann Arbor, through high school. In 1970 I was in 9th grade, but my dad, a college professor, took a sabbatical year and we were in Brazil 1969-1970.

        I think I may have some fliers that were being circulated at the time, tho'. If you are interested I'll try to dig them up.

        I was involved with Friends meeting in high school in Ann Arbor....it was a hotbed of all kinds of anti-war activity.  I remember at some point, the sheriff, who had a broken arm in a cast, on campus directing traffic due to war protests...probably in the early 70s but I don't remember. I just remember the picture in the paper of him with his arm in a cast in the middle of one of the intersections.

        I am sure if you look in Archives of the Michigan Daily from that time period, you will find lots of outrage about the event.

        •  thanks, hopeful! (0+ / 0-)

          Here's what I'm interested in finding out. One of the lesser characters in my Kent State novel is a UM graduate who was there on May 4. Her personal story is not that important to the novel itself ... it's only important that she have & experience the memory of it in the novel. I've done a fair amount of googling and all I can find about what actually happened at UM is a vague reference to the burning of a building. But, from the context, I am not even sure whether that was after the shootings.

          What I'd really like is if I could just get the remembrances of a couple of UM students about their experiences in those days around Kent State. It doesn't even matter if they are technically true -- memories are like that, y'know? half true, half weird, that's fine. I just would like some remembered sense of that place at that time.

          I chose UM for this character's alma mater because I wanted her close to OH but not in OH and I wanted it to be a place with an activist reputation and also some place that I was at least generally familiar with. UM seemed to fit the bill but, like most writers, I need more!

          Thanks for any help you can provide. You can find my direct email in my profile and, if you know people who can provide the kind of stories I'm seeking, please feel free to pass the email along and ask them to drop me a note. I'll be most appreciative!

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:58:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Kainah... (4+ / 0-)

    I vaguely remember something about a group of 20 students from KSU were flown to Washington in the middle of the night to talk directly to Nixon shortly after May 4. I mean within hours of the shooting. Did this really happen or am I conflating again? Have you seen anything about this?

    •  it happened (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, kurt

      There was a group of about 6-8 students who met with Nixon on, I think, Wednesday. I don't remember a whole lot about how they were chosen but, for some reason, I think it had to do with Walter Hickel (who resigned from the cabinet because of Kent State) or one of the other cabinet members. And I don't remember ever seeing any of them really say much about what happened. I suspect it was mostly just for show. I'd imagine they got a lot of empty promises about how it would be investigated, etc. But it did happen.

      (I think the flown to Washington in the middle of the night is an exaggeration, though. I'm pretty sure it was a regular middle of the day type meeting & I have no recollection of thinking their transport there was in any way unique or odd.)

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:54:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent, but (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, peraspera, Dvalkure, nonnie9999
    I was disappointed to see Jackson State treated with but a single link.

    I was a month from being born when these killings took place. I've been horrified by the Kent State shootings from the moment I learned about them. I'm perhaps more horrified by the Jackson State shootings and what it says about our country that we memorialize, rightly, the four white students killed that day, while the two black students killed by the National Guard ten days later at Jackson State, Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green, slip into the memory hole.

    Make love not war because love is lovely and war is very ugly, ya know?-U Roy

    by Rojo on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:49:45 PM PDT

    •  Addendum: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, Dvalkure
      Shot by police, not National Guard, apparently, I see as I now look it up, although the National Guard was there. But still, part of the same phenomenon, and should be remembered as such.

      Lafayette Gibbs - 21 years old
      James Earl Green - 17 years old

      Make love not war because love is lovely and war is very ugly, ya know?-U Roy

      by Rojo on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:56:28 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  sorry for your disappointment (6+ / 0-)

      I always try to make the point that about 28 students were killed on college campuses by official authorities during the 1960s and early 70s. I wish I knew all their names, but I don't. The people at Kent State who do the memorials there always go out of their way to remember Jackson State as well.

      One person can only do so much. With Kent, there are a wealth of documentary photos to study to try to discern truth. That, unfortunately, is not true of most of the other events. Jackson State happened in the dark and there are very few photos, as far as I know.

      In any case, the comments in the other diary contain a fairly good discussion of Jackson State and some of the other shootings. (Berkeley, at least.)

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 08:59:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  it's worse today. (6+ / 0-)

    at least in May of 1970 (when i was finishing the 2nd semester of my freshman year at a junior college) there were people paying attention to the war protesters. the "redneck hardhats" were paying attention, usually flipping off the protesters at anti-war events. "The Press" was paying attention, and actually covering the story. some Congress critters were paying attention. lots of "interested parties" were paying attention.
    contrast that with today, where virtually no one is paying attention, and "The Press" is now in bed with enbedded with those they're entrusted to "cover" on a daily or weekly basis.
    just amazing.
    as wild as those times in the early '70s were - and they were wild - these times are scarier because ain't nobody paying attention.

  •  Good diary; thank you. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, joynow, trashablanca, nonnie9999

    Alison Krause's father's words are chilling.

    My sister-in-law was a student at Ohio University in Athens at the time.  She told me that the governor closed all the colleges in Ohio after the shootings and gave the students a few hours to clear out their things and leave.  She had a hard time finding a ride to PA on such short notice.  Also, being the end of the semester, students were not able to take finals.

    She became a Democrat that day.

    No matter how cynical I get, I can't keep up these days--Lily Tomlin

    by hoosierspud on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:30:26 PM PDT

    •  Just another brilliant move... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kainah, joynow, nonnie9999

      by Jim Rhodes. But he was not alone in his thinking. Consider this: before May 4, he was behind in his senate race with Taft by about 5 or 6 percentage points. By election day, he only lost by about a percentage point. What does that tell you about the public mood toward student protesters in Ohio?

      •  really? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trashablanca

        I had never heard that about where Rhodes before and after the shootings in re: polling. I always took some comfort in the fact that he lost the election .... but I guess that wasn't quite right since, from what you said, it sounds like the shootings helped him. Yikes!

        We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

        by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 09:49:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Rhodes ran and won (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera

        the same year? All the more disgusting. How devalued students must have felt.

        I just wanted to say how much your comments added to my understanding in the last diary. I remembered and mentioned your comments, kainah in response remembered your name.

        Still I clicked your name to check the comments and make sure you were who I was thinking of. I suggest others who don't recall them do the same. They moved me again when I reread them this evening.

        I imagine these diaries really bring things back for you and others who were there. Just can't imagine how it must have been for you...the shootings were bad enough but the response of adults in the town must have been unbelievable.

        I still don't understand why they came into your office with guns, what were they thinking? And the chatter you heard from the local guard after the event, chilling. Don't know if it was false bravado on their part but to have local and relatively young guardsmen showing no regret makes no sense at all.

        Thank you for sharing what you did and if you ever feel like sharing more that would be great.

        •  thanks for your interest... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kainah, joynow

          in my experience. I would have responded last night but I had to give it up and go to bed. Yes, it was terrible to hear the comments but harder still to not respond violently on the spot. It was during those moments that I started to deal with the violence in my own head. It's been a lifelong struggle.

      •  I see you said he lost (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        peraspera

        my mistake in previous post, I saw he went up in the polls and didn't read close enough before I responded because it made me mad.

        •  he lost the Senate primary (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          vtdem, joynow, TracieLynn, peraspera

          he was aiming for the Senate because he was term limited out of the governorship -- at least I think that's right. And then, in 1974 (76?), he ran for governor again and got re-elected. That's when I decided it was time to get my ass out of Ohio.

          That and the number of phone calls I got threatening my life. I remember so clearly one night my husband answering the phone and saying just, "Thank you." He then walked into the living room, with a complete straight face, and said, "I'm really tired of answering the phone to hear that you are going to be dead if you don't shut up."

          Moving thousands of miles away seemed like a good plan so, in August 1977, that's what we did. And I've never regretted it.

          We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

          by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:53:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  You just made my jaw drop (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            peraspera

            All of it. That he was re-elected later.

            That you got threats. Who were you speaking out to that they wanted you to shut up so much and who wanted you to? I bet that could bve a diary of it's own.

            I was shipped down to live with my dad in the early 70's for part of high school. He taught at the University in Athens Ohio, a pretty area. I've never been to Kent State but as I would stroll throug Athens and see the students I'd think about how another small university in the state had students who walked around their pretty campus with an innocence so suddenly lost. I know you can't blame a place or a state for an event but it was hard not to think of.

            I didn't know you were living there then. I am glad that you moved but also that you did not shut up.

            •  pick up your jaw, joynow! :) (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              joynow, TracieLynn

              That you got threats. Who were you speaking out to that they wanted you to shut up so much and who wanted you to?

              I was writing letters to the editor and asking for books through interlibrary loan and arguing with people selling right-wing pro-Guard propaganda pamphlets on street corners and talking to anyone who had a story to tell about what had happened to them that day.

              I was DANGEROUS!

              When the governor came to town, I was called into my boss's office and sent home for the day because I had been identified as a potential threat to Rhodes. (And, you know what? I could sort of see that. I wouldn't have minded causing him pain.) I protested, however, that my plans for the day called for me to be in an entirely different county. But it didn't matter. I was sent home and people from the governor's detail sat on my front and my back porch for a couple hours while I sat inside. I doubt they had any legal authority to do it but, hey, what's a 20-something big-mouthed kid to do? I knew they could have killed me. They'd proven that, right?

              I look back at it and am somehow amused at my own reactions because, well, I didn't have a clue how to handle it then, nor do I now. Most of the calls were no doubt cranks angry at my LTTEs. But my phone was tapped and I was communicating regularly with the families of the dead and the core group of people who were researching events so I have no doubt "they" were watching me. They still are, right? Anyway, a few years ago, I decided I'm probably safer speaking out than keeping my mouth shut. At the very least, if I end up dead by the side of the road, a la Karen Silkwood, a few people will be suspicious.

              But, honestly, I don't think anymore they really care about Kent State. This is small potatoes compared to what they're focused on these days.  

              We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

              by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:44:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  If Deep Throat'd interviewed he whom ordered KS (0+ / 0-)

    "Why did you end up with three dead people in front of an American flag?"
    "Freedom passover."
    "Who killed Ho Minh?"
    "Your orders are to stand down or be got in the back, SOLDIER."
    "Fun.  Listen, I have things to do but want to know what a strikebreaking armory was doing with light air cavalry plus RPGs."
    "Breaking ranks."
    "You have six and one half years to jail."
    "And by then you are going to be dead, bogfreak."
    "Why did Dick go and talk to the only students at the rally who would salute the picture of Uncle Ho and Fernando?"
    "Those are our allies.  Death quit this Easter!"

  •  This made me weep. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, JuliaAnn, peraspera

    Loss. Pain. Thank you for this diary. I am 51 years old. All of the students you mentioned would be about my age, now. Why does this country hate her children. May they rest in Peace. Impeach Bush.

  •  I Was There 6 Months Later (10+ / 0-)

    I was working with the Jefferson Airplane's light show in the summer and fall of 1970. We were scheduled to do a show with Sha-Na-na at the Kent State Homecoming that October, 5 months after the shootings.

    About a week before we were to leave, I was rummaging thru the outtakes box at a San Francisco film lab. I found a lot of footage with shots of Nixon, Agnew, demonstrations and the shootings at Kent State.

    We cut the footage to synch it with the two big Airplane hits of that tour, Volunteers and Revolution.

    It showed the Guard marching up, in formation, and kneeling as a unit, aiming and firing. There was no random lack of control...those shootings were ordered.

    When we ran the film during the first set of the Kent State concert. The promoter came running up, totally freaked out and asked us not to do it again.

    One of the kids who was shot was sitting out front in a wheelchair. The promoter told us it was too upsetting. Between sets, we got word that the audience was with us.

    We even had a cop come up and tell us it was the first time he had seen any of the footage from that day. We had synched his image to go with "Up against the wall, motherfuckers."

    We ran the footage again during the second set.

    I read a year later, when Rolling Stone excerpted Michener's book (which I didn't think was that bad), that our light show had been mentioned in the Kent State Grand Jury report as representing the kind of provocative behavior that led to the unrest and shootings at Kent State.

    By the way, let us not forget that in Mexico in 1968, there were hundreds of young university students mowed down during a peaceful protest by an elite special army force allegedly commanded by then Interior Minister(later President) Luis Echevveria.
    No one knows how many idealistic young Mexicans were shot in cold blood that day.

    It all boils down to control, or the illusion thereof.

    Let us not forget.

    •  I remember reading about that! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, peraspera, trashablanca

      And, yes, it was a bold move. But I definitely salute you for doing it. I still have Volunteers in my regular iPod tunes rotation and "Up against the wall, motherfuckers" can never pass without being screamed!

      The paralyzed victim is Dean Kahler. He's a great guy. Saw that he broke his leg recently and I hope he's healing well. He's kept his health pretty well through the years.

      Michener's book isn't that bad, it's just that he throws in a lot of little tidbits that he made up out of whole cloth. That makes it very hard to trust it too much. (I think Nixon, et al, expected a much more critical work from him but, looking at the evidence, Michener couldn't go as far as they wanted.) Also, one of the commenters to the May 4th thread, who was at Kent, said that she and her friends -- who were friends of Jeff Miller's -- lied to Michener.

      And thanks for reminding us of the students shot down in Mexico City. That was a horrible event. 1968 was a horrible year.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:35:53 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I can't bear it (8+ / 0-)

    I can't bear to look at the photos of the students lying dead and injured at Kent State. But I can stare for hours at the photos taken of them before that dreadful day. Like the photo of Jeff Miller snapped on May 2.
    I was in high school still, listening to my father rant about war protests, denigrate unions, and insult civil rights activists. He blew up when the media showed the bloody truth about Vietnam on the nightly news. That's when the "liberal media" meme got started, and it hasn't ended yet though all the media owners are now GOP. So Walter Cronkite was a communist. Nixon deserved re-election. And two years later, all my professors were -- in his estimation -- socialists.
    Kent State killed something in a lot of us. It makes me cry because now I have a son in college. I wish he and his friends cared more about politics. There is a part of me that wishes they would march and rally and protest and give a shit.
    On the other hand, when I look at that grainy black and white photo of Jeff Miller, I know that I never want my son within firing range of anyone who works for George W. Bush.
    College students, and all of our sons and daughters that age, are such a treasure. Feisty and spontaneous, like they were as kids, but becoming adults and newly enamored of lofty ideals. They are the best part of us. That's what I see when I look at the photos, and read your wonderful diaries. And damn it, the tears roll out hot and I feel so stupid, but I know what we lost that day. We lost four wonderful young people, and we also lost our way.

    Why do you have to be a nonconformist like everybody else? - James Thurber

    by JuliaAnn on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:34:49 PM PDT

    •  well said, Julia Ann (5+ / 0-)

      We lost so much that day and I think it's had an enormous impact on us as adults. We've grown up knowing that our life is fragile if we don't believe what someone wants us to believe. In the last couple weeks, I've thought a lot about this and I've wondered about all those people -- the old hippies -- that are denigrated for not living out their youthful ideals. I wonder how many of them just learned the lessons of May 4 a little too well.

      As for that grainy b&w photo of Jeff, it's one of my prized possessions. I told this story in the other diary but will repeat it for those who missed it.

      When Jeff died, the media came to his mother for a photo and she had only a few because she and Jeff's father were recently divorced and he had kept most of the family photos when she abruptly moved out. So Elaine gave the press one of Jeff's high school photos, a photo he hated.

      Then, a couple weeks after his death, she got a letter from one of his friends at Kent and this photo was enclosed. She cherished it and feared ever letting it out of her control, even to get a negative and copies made. So, for years, she continued to let his high school picture be used, even though he was in his junior year when he was killed.

      Finally, I urged her to take the photo to someone and explain how significant it was and ask if they wouldn't make a negative and some copies while she waited. She said she would do it for me ... and for Jeff because she knew he'd like that picture much better. So she did and my reward was a copy of the photo. It's not very widely available and I feel very special to have it and to be able to share it with people.

      And I just know Jeff smiles down on me when I spread it around.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:03:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you Kainah (10+ / 0-)

    I was a student at Bowling Green State University at this time and my brother was in the Ohio National Guard.  His Guard unit had the most riot training of any unit in the state.  They had just come back from the Ohio State University campus (where he was shoving his rifle butt down my friends' throats)and had been dismissed 15 minutes before the call came in from the Governor to go to Kent State.  Most of the guys were still hanging around and their commander said they could regroup and go to Kent.  The Governor said no and called the Ravenna unit instead -- a unit with no street/prison/campus riot training or experience.

    I am convinced to this day that if my brother's Guard unit had gone to Kent -- if the Governor had made his call 15 minutes earlier -- that no one would have died that day.

    My brother and I did not speak for years.  After years of silence and a long period of talk and tears, we could be family again.  The crowning moment for me was when his son reached draft age and my brother said he would take his son to Canada if it ever became necessary to avoid a war.

    Kainah, your diary series was painful to read, but beautifully written.  My thanks to you for helping us remember and to all who added their comments and memories.

    •  another amazing story (6+ / 0-)

      I, too, believe that they chose the Natl Guard unit most likely to give them the results they got.

      I'm glad you and your brother healed the breach. Kent State tore too many families apart.

      And thanks for your thanks. I've been very well rewarded for these diaries. I can't thank people enough for sharing their stories and all the emotions that have poured out through them.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:32:50 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I was living in Bowling Green (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca

      at the time as well. I'm still surprised it didn't happen at BGSU also.  I think that's why your brother's unit was held back, so they could be deployed in Bowling Green if needed.

      Just a guess though.

      I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers

      by Zwoof on Thu May 25, 2006 at 03:26:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We've been fighting Fascism in this country (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, joynow, esquimaux, trashablanca

    for a long, long time.  

    "What if you knew her, and found her dead on the ground?"

    My two friends at Kent State did, and they left there immediately.  But then, my freshman year girlfriend ended up teaching there mid-70s, so, I guess everything must have gotten back == to "normal".

    Yeah, right.

    If a thousand men were not to pay their tax bills this year, that would not be a violent and bloody measure, as it would be to pay them, and enable the State...

    by HenryDavid on Thu May 25, 2006 at 12:59:35 AM PDT

  •  weird (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, CarolynC967

    I'm sitting here with C-SPAN on in the background and it's a hearing on the sending the guard to the border -- I think. But, all of a sudden, there's Rep. John Spratt talking about 42 USC Sec. 1983 -- depriving someone of their civil rights under color of law. This is one of the few statutes I know much about anymore. Why? Because, for years, we pushed to have the guardsmen charged under that section of the federal law.

    Very weird.  

    Anyone for the Twilight Zone soundtrack? Maybe this is a sign I should try to get some sleep now.  

    We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

    by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:54:01 AM PDT

  •  The year before (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, DFWmom, joynow, mitchvance

    "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with" - Ronald Reagan shortly before a non protester was killed  by authorities in the Berkeley People's park protest.

  •  Thanks! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, mitchvance

    Thanks for this timely reminder. I've heard exactly 0 commentaries by the plethora of 'victim's rights' organizations that have sprung up during the last few years -- something to think about. Left-Right bickering is horizontal; top-down bickering can most definitely be lethal. When capital removes it's mask, the visage is indeed something to behold!

    At Kent State that day, the USA met Tragedy. Again.

  •  great job (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, trashablanca
    One of the defining days of my life.  I was sixteen and we'd shut down our highschool and marched through town with students from other schools and a local college.  We heard the news at the end-of-march rally.  Several teachers / administrators (and other students) who'd objected to the strike joined us then along with a crowd of -horrified and shaken- representatives of the "silent majority".  

    Like the convention riots in Chicago two years before it exposed the cynicism and malevolence underpinning the "conservative", "law-and-order", society.  I've never been able to believe even the most benign of their rationalizations since then.

    Wonderfully written and well researched.  Thank you.

  •  no justice (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gogol, trashablanca

    I think the murderer Guardsmen got off with a slap on the wrist (if memory serves). That makes my blood boil.

    My POSITIVE memory about Viet Nam is that it is just about the only instance in 20th Century history were protests DID make a difference. The war WOULD have gone on a lot longer but for the anti-war movement. I agree with Kos that protests do not seem to work NOW; IMHO, this is largely because the GOP controls all the
    media.

    •  REmember that the Guardsman's poster boy (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kainah

      was Gorge Bush. Many of those in the National Guard had connections. They were mainly white, with family able to prevent them from going to war by getting them in the guard. It was a way to strut aruond in uniform as though you were acutally serving and acting like they were better than those who burned their draft cards or took student deferrments.
      Protests most certainly did make a difference. And they could again. I don't believe it is because people don't care. I think that the reason is that there is simply not enough pure outrage now. Why? No draft. You have two groups going now, the gung-ho types who still think Saddam had something to do with 9-11 - their parents are probably of the same mindset so they're not going to protest. Then you have the poor for whom the military is a job, a way out. And many of their friends and family are probably working two or three jobs and therefore can't afford time off to march on Washington.
      But institute a draft, especially now, when the National Guard out that Georgie took won't help; force those who support the mission but refuse to go because they have "Better things to do;" make all healthy, able-bodied men and women take the risk of being sent into a sausage grinder for nothing and I think you would see many, many more outraged Americans.
      Those of us outraged now are those with a conscience. We might be too old to go, but we remember the immorality and tragedy of Vietnam. today's left uses a march to highlight various causes - march for freedom, justice, anti-war etc. But galvanisze American outrage when we know any one of uis could die for nothing and I think you'd see far more outrage.

      All Truth is non-partisan

      by MA Liberal on Thu May 25, 2006 at 08:24:29 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  your memory is about right (0+ / 0-)

      There was very little justice ever for the victims. But that's the subject of Part V of this series so I'll leave it at that for now.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:06:37 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks so much--amazing. (0+ / 0-)
  •  Thank you very much... (0+ / 0-)

    for this very well written and well-researched series.  It is so important, in these darkening days, that we never forget the struggles of those who came before.

    That day for me was one of those "snapshot" moments that are permanently etched in my memory.  I was only in 6th grade, and our teacher began talking about the event in the afternoon (he was really a pretty cool guy).  I remember the school librarian (a Mrs. Burr) came into the class and stated something to the effect, "those dirty hippies deserved it"(!).  Later, my parents expressed a similar sentiment.  Even at my young age, I never bought into that line of thought. I think this event in history was a big factor in pushing me to begin to pay attention and think for myself.

    I lived in Ohio in a county adjacent to Portage County where Kent State is located.  I remember the overwhelming "Adult" opinion at the time was "They Deserved It".  The idea that the 60's/70's was a time of "permissive licentiousness" is a myth and a lie.

    Insert Meaningful Signature Less Than 160 Characters Here.

    by lightfoot on Thu May 25, 2006 at 07:36:32 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary. (0+ / 0-)

    I went and looked at the pictures from that day and it really hit me. Powerful stuff.

  •  Every young person should read this history of (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, esquimaux

    our government gone wild in an attempt to silence protestors and dissenters.

    I was their age when these murders occured and the fear and horror has never really left me, however, it was buried until I read these diaries again.  

    Those who were shot represented me, my siblings, my friends and all young people who opposed the war.  

    We as a generation were forever changed by those events, and we were already devastated by the war in being drafted when few wanted to serve and our friends were dying there.

    Over 56,000 Americans died in Viet Nam.  How many will die in Iraq before Bush's war is finished?

    This diary is an important reminder of the abuses of an arrogant lying government and the parallels to the war in Iraq are only too apparent.  

  •  It is still up so I get to comment (0+ / 0-)

    My dial-up at home won['t post comments anymore, but I see that this has made it overnight.  Great job, and I'm looking forward to the finale of your series.

    "I said, 'wait a minute, Chester, you know I'm a peaceful man.'" Robbie Robertson -8.13, -4.56

    by NearlyNormal on Thu May 25, 2006 at 10:44:18 AM PDT

  •  Dear Diarist: Did Nixon order the shootings Y/N? (0+ / 0-)

    For those of us who believe that the Nixon administration was not necessarily caught off guard by the shootings, this explanation sounds like another attempt to blame the victims."

    What does this mean?  Especially the bolded portion, which links back to an earlydiary in this series.

    I skimmed through the link, and found a lot of innuendo. So I will ask you to please cut through all the BS and state your opinion plainly, so that your readers here don't gloss past the point.

    Is it your opinion that Richard Nixon, et al, arranged for the murders of young protesters at Kent State, on May 4th 1970?

    Yes or no will do, please.  Thank you.

    "A Republic, if you can keep it". Benjamin Franklin, 1787, regarding America's new Constitution. "You're on", George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2001.

    by Quicklund on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:09:18 PM PDT

    •  yes or no is a bit too simplistic (0+ / 0-)

      But here's what I believe -- I believe Nixon was fed up with student protests and he said something like "Can't someone shut those kids up?" and his dirty tricksters took it from there.

      I can't prove that but I'll go to my death believing it.

      We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

      by kainah on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:12:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That is not the story you tell in Diary #1 (0+ / 0-)

        There was nothing remotely close to an Archbishop of Canterbury angle in your first diary.  If that is what you meant, why is that not what you said?

        You try to paint Nixon as intentionally giving a speach knowing he could then gun down protesters five days laters on a small to-then unheard of Ohio campus.  Then, when faced with his horrible deeds, the man visits the Lincoln Memorial at 5AM and nearly, perhaps does, suffer a nervous breakdown.

        That's not at all an Archbishop of Canterbury scanrio.  If that's your true opinion, you owe dKos with one hell of a Mea Culpa dairy.

        Let me ask you these questions.

        Do the words "tragic accident" have any credibility in your worldview?

        Do you hold open the possibility that Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon just might have been capable of genuine human emotions, at least occasionally?

        I realy don't care that you pass off a bunch of extremely thin coincidences as some sort of evidence.  I'm just sorry to see dKos takes these conspiracy diaries so seriously.  I applaud your desire and effort to memorialize May 4th, 1970.  I just think it's a shame you have to spoil the memorial aspect by weaving in your personal conspiracy imaginings.

        "A Republic, if you can keep it". Benjamin Franklin, 1787, regarding America's new Constitution. "You're on", George W. Bush, Jan 20, 2001.

        by Quicklund on Thu May 25, 2006 at 01:45:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  All this paranoia about conspiracy... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          littlesky, ohiojack

          theories on Dkos is over the top. How the hell do you think anything in government gets accomplished on higher levels without some sort of "conspiracy? Do they not exist in your world? These diaries have not spoiled anything. In the absence of an honest government and real information, everything we talk about is a "theory." How the hell do we know what really (spelled with two L's)happened at Kent State if we can't use circumstantial evidence, eye witness reports and so on. Anyone who knows anything at all about Kent State harbors in their hearts the "conspiracy theory" that Richard Nixon and Jim Rhodes drew the line in the sand at Kent State, deciding once and for all to put a stop to student protests.
            You are evidently wounded by criticism of Dick Nixon. On this site, that is a rare duck. Kainah owes no one a "mea culpa."

        •  not so unheard of campus (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mitchvance

          See my comments in diary III regarding an incident the prior year at Kent State, where a large protest turned into a sit-in, which was broken up by campus police, and involved more than 50 arrests.

          The incident was heavily infiltrated by undercover cops who took extensive photographs.  The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), which as a Nixon apolgist you must be aware of, conducted hearings on the incident, and issued a 150-200 page committee report, which included the photographs.

          So, yes, the campus was certainly in the scope, if not the crosshairs, of the Nixon administration.

          Did Nixon directly order the shootings?  Of course not.  Whatever he was, he was not stupid.  He had aides for that.  But your interrogation technique sounds like the lawyer who pushes for black & white answers which are off the subject.  A little browbeating here perhaps?

          Did James Rhodes employ the Ohio National Guard to quell local disturbances more than any other governor at the time?  I think there has been ample evidence provided by kainah and the commenters for that.

          Did Rhodes escalate the small incident of Friday, May 1st, enhancing his "law & order" image by calling for the National Guard, because he had an election the following Tuesday?  Without doubt.

          Kainah, you owe no apology for digging into the facts.  If your digging connects the dots to a larger truth, so be it.  Quicklund, you a so pre-9/11.

          Conspiracy may be in the mind of the victim, and paranoia may be the label perpetrators use to quiet dissent (see Hofstadter's The Paranoid Style in American Politics), but the truth has a funny was of emerging, even if it takes years.

          That's how it is on this bitch of an earth. Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot"

          by ohiojack on Fri May 26, 2006 at 07:57:29 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

JD SoOR, Leslie in CA, N in Seattle, Mike S, katiebird, wozzle, No One No Where, Jett, Hunter, sj, SteveLCo, RF, LeislerNYC, keestone, Bailey, sagesource, Irfo, thor, CrazyDem, seaprog, RW, SarahLee, teacherken, gogol, joejoejoe, tikkun, DelRPCV, Cali Scribe, TaraIst, lrhoke, Raybin, Pandora, pq, Unstable Isotope, janinsanfran, furryjester, littlesky, Shockwave, JulieIde, UTLiberal, markd, adkay, dji, Pesto, willyr, DemDachshund, kdub, x, devtob, PanzerMensch, mataliandy, redtravelmaster, TexasDemocrat, silence, Soy Lechithin, shermanesq, RubDMC, rasbobbo, joynow, PaintyKat, nwskinner, conchita, justme, Raddark, macdust, Mary Julia, guyute16, SecondComing, sja, rhp, OCD, peace voter, RabidNation, snoopydog, exhausted by the spin, gakke, mrblifil, chimpy, roses, Frederick Clarkson, javelina, peraspera, Dem in Knoxville, Fe, plad0005, Boxers, thingamabob, fumie, Siusaidh, nowness, mhcypher, Alna Dem, tgdonoho, Eddie C, kosophile, Tomtech, Sirocco, BurnetO, MrSandman, oldjohnbrown, fightorleave, jlynne, HenryDavid, Urizen, fishhawk, MA Liberal, PaulVA, grayslady, texasmom, Fernando Poo, bad bart, BMarshall, hoof32, MmeVoltaire, kaekee, Catte Nappe, samoashark, Mrcia, FLDemJax, horsewithnoname, Eddie Haskell, Dood Abides, inclusiveheart, Chun Yang, mitchvance, walkshills, johne, pdxRita, JayBat, Bluefish, AllisonInSeattle, ybruti, WV Democrat, merryelvis, kfred, Da Buddy, Steven D, HK, lurker123, Dawgbro, ChaosMouse, rickeagle, solesse413, FlawedAI, vansterdam, Shapeshifter, greeseyparrot, TexH, julifolo, MichDeb, Fabian, historys mysteries, Bluesee, farleftcoast, BadgerGirl, Zorba the Greek, Elise, Alegre, docangel, baccaruda, seesdifferent, archibaldtuttle, OpherGopher, Erik the Red, PBen, offred, kamarvt, 3card, Far left coast, ZappoDave, barbwire, Tod, Ranting Roland, reflectionsv37, BrenP, homeland observer, Mz Kleen, tutone, singing bridge, GreyHawk, SheriffBart, abbeysbooks, illyia, babatunde, lao fei zhu, sunbro, paxpdx, RElland, calebfaux, simplypete, wulidancer, Thursday Next, Shotput8, wiscmass, sbdenmon, dsteffen, Cory Bantic, trojanrabbit, agent double o soul, YukonJack, Land of Enchantment, RainyDay, hatdog, bently, debedb, Alkibiadesdog, berko, harrietshubby, pmc1970, rserven, kittania, JosephAZ, esquimaux, dannyinla, trashablanca, snazzzybird, BachFan, Nightprowlkitty, Robert M, Do Tell, tarheelblue, PatsBard, ama, Kingsmeg, BlueInARedState, Pianolion, BeadLady, Russgirl, ActivistGuy, Ellicatt, Dvalkure, kestrel9000, Esjaydee, Naniboujou, PlanetTreasures, quinque, zigeunerweisen, TalkieToaster, MJ via Chicago, global citizen, zorba, Lashe, loon with a view, nonnie9999, gatorcog, NearlyNormal, armadillo, justCal, Zwoof, jazzeroo, Wolverines, buckeye blue, va dare, Dreaming of Better Days, goinsouth, kurt, chapel hill guy, ohiojack, DanC, Zoskie, Friend of the court, ekppp, carneystaff, Monique Radevu, old wobbly, OsoDelMar, Buckeye Hamburger, s marie, Invisible Paradigm

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site