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In late April, I wrote a seven part series on the 1970 Kent State shootings. Having researched those events for thirty plus years, I'm addicted to the facts. The past few Mays, I've spent too many hours correcting well-meaning articles on Kent State that mangled important facts. So, this year, I decided to spend my time telling the story rather than correcting others. I expected interesting responses but never the emotional outpouring that followed. The comments in the shootings and the immediate aftermath diaries moved me beyond words. People told their own incredible tales and taught me that many, many others share my lingering anguish over the events of that May. Sharing memories eased our emotional burdens and, in the course of our journey, younger participants not only learned about the shootings but gained perspective on some of the forces that drove those oft-scorned hippies from their original dreams. I can never, ever, fully express my appreciation to this community for this healing process.

Join me on the flip for the story of my journey of reconciliation back to Kent State, 29 years after I left.  

As always, this diary is dedicated to the memory of Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, and Sandy Scheuer, killed at Kent State University, May 4, 1970, by the lies of a callous nation and the bullets of the Ohio National Guard.

Also, before I go further, I have to thank my most dear and beloved sister, littlesky, who accompanied me on this journey and took most of these pictures. Without her, I almost certainly wouldn't have had the courage to go back. Her strong shoulder when I totally fell apart, her keen sense of humor when the tears left room for laughter and her ability to withstand the onslaught of ranting as I discovered outrage piled upon outrage helped make the weekend not only bearable but, in some strange way, enjoyable. Thanks again, littlesky. You're not only the most evolved of Rita and Bill's kids, you're one of my personal heroes.

Finally, I do apologize that some of these photos had to be further shrunk to fit kos margins after the annotations were already in place. This makes some of the captioning pretty hard to read but the text should explain what you need to understand the photos.

All right, on to the subject. First, here, again, is a map of the shooting site to keep you oriented.  

In 1977, Kent State decided to build a gymnasium annex partially obscuring the shooting site. After being persuaded not to join hundreds of others in civil disobedience because of the possible adverse impacts on my plans to attend law school, I walked off campus in mid-July 1977 with Allison Krause's father. Both of us vowed never to return, a promise I believe he kept as did I until a month ago. Now, as I work on a novel based on the shootings at Kent State and the questions that remain unanswered, I realized I needed to see the site as it is today.

So, on Friday, July 21, twenty-nine years and about ten days after I left Kent State the last time, littlesky and I returned. Since my return was triggered in part by research for my novel, I wanted to follow what would be my main character's route into Kent, from the north (Streetsboro). So, after littlesky picked me up at my husband's brother's in Cuyahoga Falls, we drove through the Cuyahoga Valley National Park and then headed to Kent. Coming into town, I hoped sense memory might guide me to the parking lot but too much had changed. After first cruising East Summit to look for Jeff's house (414-9 E. Summit - gone), we followed maps to Midway Drive. When we pulled in and I saw the first stanchions of Sandy's memorial, I managed to choke out, "This is it." My first thought, in that odd way of all things remembered, was "it's so small." We parked at the base of the hill and, after a few deep breaths that didn't seem helpful at all in steadying my nerves, I got out and gathered my crutches. Then, looking around, I got my first jolt.

"Where's the pagoda?" I stammered, feeling some panic. "Did they tear down the Pagoda???"

The more mobile littlesky took a few steps and reassured me that, no, it was just hidden behind the trees. Feeling only marginally better, I turned and began walking over to Jeff's memorial. This, I knew, would be the hardest. Something about Jeff connected with me on a very basic level and, for years, he was a near constant presence in my life, in my head, my heart, and often, my dreams. I've always been relatively sensitive to psychic vibrations and, on several occasions, I had had extremely close encounters with Jeff, several of them quite frightening. Especially at Kent, I felt a continuing rage and frustration in him so strong that it threatened to suck me down into some unknown space. What I didn't tell littlesky until we had safely arrived was that, on my last two trips to Kent, Jeff manifested himself in decidedly unfriendly ways. But, approaching the memorial, I felt no evidence of him. I even thought I was in control.

Until, that is, about 5 feet away.... And then I just sort of remember a rush to get there before my feet buckled and the next I knew, I was sitting next to Jeff's name, crumpled and sobbing. How long that lasted only littlesky could say. Finally, the sobs eased to tears and then deep sighs and finally a few breathy, muttered words to littlesky. Then a loud rustle and big whoosh distracted us. Looking over, we watched as a large hawk landed in the (former, now transformed) practice field, maybe 50 yards away.

For 5 minutes or so, the hawk sat there and played, played, with a black walnut. He'd pick it up and toss it & then go poke at it some more. Pick it up again, toss it, play again. Over and over. We just sat there, transfixed.

Now, maybe this isn't as remarkable as it seems to me. Please, ohiojack and others familiar with this area:  do hawks often land and play? My husband, who has always been skeptical, at best, of psychic connections and tends not to look for buried spiritual significance in every day events, immediately invested this hawk with supernatural energy. I'd love to hear others' interpretation. (And can anyone identify the type of hawk from littlesky's remarkable photo? If a larger one would help, I can send the non-shrunk version.) Looking back now, I see this hawk as a visit from at least one, if not all, of the kids. I had, after all, worn my best hippie garb - tie-dyed skirt and gauze tunic - so they would recognize this gray-haired old lady! Otherwise, it was pleasing to me that, contrary to all my other visits to Kent State, I didn't feel the kids' presence this time. That was comforting because I believe it means they're more at peace now and have moved on. At the time, I missed the significance of the hawk because I was waiting for the old ways of communicating. Now, however, I prize that encounter with the hawk.

When the hawk left, we visited the other kids. Luckily, I didn't break down with each, having spent all my emotions at Jeff's site. Instead, I now began to critically assess the site changes. I had previously seen photos of, and deeply disliked, the individual markers installed in 1999:

But they are more offensive than I even imagined. The stanchions are enormous, completely oversized. The nameplates are shoved off in the corner, as if the kids are an afterthought. The odd little curb seems to have no real purpose except to put you off. And, if the stanchions light up, we saw no evidence of it despite staying well into dusk. Littlesky, a sign designer by profession, quickly came up with a delicate, gentle design that would have been warm and inviting for visitors rather than austere, hard and cold.

As I stood at Sandy's memorial, instinct told me it was wrong. At my last May 4 memorial, I stood a vigil for Sandy while Dean Kahler, paralyzed from a guardsmen's bullet, sat one for Bill. For half an hour, we essentially stared at each other. But standing at Sandy's memorial now, Bill was several spaces down and felt much too far away. (The picture above shows Bill's and Sandy's memorials.) I sent Littlesky back to the car to retrieve Peter Davies's book, with its wealth of photos. I needed to check Beverly Knowles's picture of the scene immediately after the shootings, with every victim visible. Then we counted the spaces in the picture and on the ground. Sure enough, Sandy's memorial is a row back and several spaces over from her proper position in the parking lot.

Adding to the insult of this, I would find several official Kent State maps of the scene and every single one of them has Sandy marked correctly. That can only mean one thing:  it was crass indifference, nothing more and nothing less, that led them to misplace her marker. Thus far, that was the most direct punch to the gut.

Meanwhile, Littlesky, heading towards the hill, had encountered one of Kent's famous black squirrels:

A young couple, also visiting the site, said the squirrels were making a comeback after several lean years. A few idle stranger comments later, we were talking about May 4. They were both KSU grads but knew very little about the site. They asked if I knew where the guard had been when they opened fire. I had hoped to avoid becoming a tour guide but I couldn't, in all good conscience, allow such ignorance to stand:

(sorry the text in that photo got shrunk so badly after I created it.)

As I explained events of May 4 to these KSU grads, another lone gentleman and couple came to the site. Both of them soon realized I seemed to know a lot and so they hovered on the edges, where they could hear without appearing to eavesdrop. The guy in the picture above walked around us in an arc while the couple (hidden by the tree) circled the Drumm sculpture. Littlesky, standing on the hill, was tempted to tell them I didn't know that couple, I was just telling what I knew, and they should go listen. But she resisted for which I was quite grateful. As a historian and public speaker, one of my curses in visiting my favorite historic sites is attracting a crowd. Yet, one of the nicest parts of our visit was the number of other people exploring the site. On Friday, at least 15 other people arrived during the several hours we were there.

Finally, I climbed the hill and understood the main reason the entire site looks so different. Littlesky had already discovered and verified it with the 1970 photos. In one of the most cynical moves yet, Kent State has planted a large black maple directly in the middle of the Guard's sightline as they shot.  

Today, standing where the Guard stood, you can't even see the parking lot. I clearly remember standing up there several times and identifying people down in the parking lot. The first time it happened, I was shocked to realize how easily the guardsmen could actually have targeted specific individuals. No one will again have that experience. What the gymnasium hasn't obscured, the tree has.  

The gymnasium did exactly what everyone predicted:  chopped up the field, changing the entire character of the site. The guard fired because the kids were closing in on them? Today, it appears to be an extremely reasonable explanation. Of course, it is actually total garbage as the old site told you. In addition, the practice field, where they first threatened the students with their guns, is also gone, having morphed into a small patch of campus green.

The gymnasium did another offensive thing. The university swore it would not cover the actual site where any student was shot. Perhaps technically true but, standing on the hill, you can't see the site where Jim Russell (hit by falling buckshot 90 degrees removed from the rest) fell. No, it's buried in some hidden alcove doorway of the gym.

One thing that did make me feel good was the Drumm sculpture, which was also shot that day. The bullet hole has been sanded down, no longer bearing the jagged scars of pierced metal. But that was almost certainly a public safety issue - people want to touch it - and I found it easy enough to dismiss the change as the Drumm sculpture healing itself after all these years.

Offerings and chalked messages cover the sculpture, now a sort of bulletin board for visitors with (mostly) lovely messages of healing. On Saturday, when we returned with our offerings, we left our own candle.

Next, we walked towards the Commons. Coming around the corner of Taylor Hall, I burst out laughing. There, smack dab in the middle of the Guard's line of retreat after the shootings was a new emergency pole!

I like to think someone was laughing their ass off when they erected this but fear no one even understood the significance. We didn't go down to the victory bell - long climb for me - but it looked very much the same and I'm sure it has messages on it, too.

Next stop:  the 1990 Bruno Ast memorial. No pictures of this. Can I just say We didn't get it! I could transcribe the university's explanation in their May 4 site guide but why? What we experienced bore no resemblance to their flowery description. The five disks that are supposed to be reflecting our image are invisible, totally covered in ivy, certainly not leading us to "four free-standing pylons stand(ing) as mute sentinels to the force of violence and the memory of the four students killed." Nope, sorry, never saw them. Never saw the "jagged, abstract border symbolic of disruptions and the conflict of ideas" either. Nope, didn't see any of it. What we saw was a massively overgrown site with big blocks of granite, a wall, and a bench. And the words "Inquire, Learn, Reflect" to which I wanted to add "Get pissed!" The memorial we visited did not invite walking or any of those activities. Instead, what we witnessed was more of the same: hard and cold and neglected.

What I also didn't see were the names of the four kids. In 1990, before the 20th anniversary when this was to be dedicated, Elaine Holstein, Jeff's mother, asked me to consider meeting her at Kent for the anniversary. Even for Elaine, I couldn't do it. Then she said she wasn't going. She had learned the kids' names would not be on the memorial and, therefore, she wouldn't attend. Later, she said Kent agreed to add the names and so her trip was back on. Well, littlesky and I searched but no names. Did Elaine just not tell me that they reneged? Did they promise to do it later and then not? Now I wonder if perhaps they were on the free-standing, mute sentinel pylons and we missed them. Whatever the truth, this began a recurring mantra echoing in my head. When Arthur Krause and I left campus in 1977, one of the last things he said to me was, "They'll look you right in the eye, Les, and lie to your face." This trip proved the truth of another of Arthur's many prescient statements.

Now late, littlesky and I retreated to a rather ratty Quality Inn to eat some good pizza and plan strategy for Saturday. Brushing my teeth, I read the brochure we'd picked up at the Ast memorial. It would soon be known as the "foot-stomping" brochure because, with my mouth full of toothpaste, I could only stomp my foot repeatedly in disgust as I read misstatement after half-truth after damned close to outright lies. "They'll look you in the eye, Les, and lie to your face" reverberated.

Finally, when I had calmed down a bit, we began to plot strategy for Saturday and, eventually, we had our plan. The next day, we would first take a printed copy of these diaries (without the comments) to the library, then return to the site and leave flowers and tokens for the kids, place a candle on the Drumm sculpture, correctly mark the spot where Sandy died and, finally, make our own helpful additions to every one of the brochures at the Ast sculpture. Under the heading for May 1-4 timeline, we would write For more details, see Under "The Aftermath:  Inquire, Learn, Reflect," we would add:  "They'll look you in the eye and lie to your face" - Arthur Krause, 1977. Those would be our contributions to Kent State twenty-nine years later.

Saturday arrived wet and rainy. After buying flowers, mementoes, chalk, and a candle, we headed for the library, a dry destination. There, we visited the May 4 Resource Room, supposedly a room of May 4 resources for quiet study and reflection. There are four pretty stained glass windows, pictures of the kids, and a clock stopped at 12:24. I immediately went to check the bookcase contents. Fairly normal assortment of resources on the `60s and student activism. But then I noticed something else. None of the best books on Kent State were there! Not Davies, not Bill Gordon, not Esterhas and Roberts, not "Middle of the Country," not even the KSU-published anthology by Scott Bills! Could they be checked out? Perhaps, but a quick check of the books there gave no sign that these books circulate. Was it an attempt to ensure the "right story,"i.e., Michener's, was told? I don't know.

When we went to sign the visitor guestbook, no pen. We had one, however, in preparation for our brochure additions. I was tempted to write "fess up!" under comments but opted instead to refer people to these diaries. At the desk, when we explained about my diaries and handed them to the professional librarian we were referred to, he was appreciative and sincere, promising to deliver them to the May 4 archives come Monday.

Now, remarkably, as we approached the parking lot again, it stopped raining. (It would not start again until the moment we got into the car to leave.) It was way too wet to sit and helpfully annotate the brochures. It was probably also too wet to mark Sandy's spot accurately but, at least, we could leave our flowers, mementoes and candle. The day before, I'd been appalled to realize I hadn't brought anything to leave. Searching my belongings, I could only find a little guardian angel and one peace button. (I usually have 2-5 around.) I left the guardian angel for Jeff:

And the peace button (Let Peace Grow) with Allison, but returned Saturday with magnets of flowers (daisies for Sandy, violets for Allison) and butterflies for Bill and Jeff along with a calla lily for each.

When we went to give Allison her offerings, I placed the calla lily and then propped the violets magnet against the stanchion base. (No sticking - the posts are concrete painted black.) Nice, but a little crooked. As I tried to straighten it, it slipped into the stanchion's base. "I have tweezers," Littlesky announced, heading for the car. I tried, and failed to retrieve the violets. Then she tried, also without success. We could see still them down there until, suddenly, poof, they vanished. Gone. Whoosh! Disappeared. It could have been upsetting but, instead, I just laughed. "Gee," I said, "Allison really wanted her violets!" And I could hardly blame her for not wanting them against those ugly stanchions.

After leaving all our offerings, I decided the ground might be dry enough to mark Sandy's spot correctly. I pulled out the pink chalk and went to work:

(I wish I'd noticed and picked up that cigarette butt!) I knew it wouldn't last but, for that moment, people would know the truth! And, as we pulled out of the parking lot as it started to rain again, two young guys pulled in and parked next to Sandy's memorial. They got out and walked towards Sandy's space. Certainly, they saw it.

I stopped to say one last good-bye to Jeff. Approaching, for the first time since arriving the day before, I felt another presence. Then, as I stood there, I clearly heard Jeff's mother's voice telling me to give him her love. I originally thought the presence I felt was Jeff but now I suspect that it was, instead, Elaine. Which is kind of intriguing because, you see, I don't know whether Elaine is alive or not. The last time I heard from her, several years ago, she'd just had surgery for a brain tumor. We were very close but my relationship with her husband (not Jeff's father) was understandably more difficult. He wanted to protect her and wasn't always sure our relationship, with its emphasis on Jeff and Kent State, was helpful, a fear shared by my husband. I love her like a mother and miss her enormously but I respect the silence that leaves me not really knowing. Whether it was Jeff or Elaine, her voice was clear and so, my last act was to leave Jeff a note. I've tried several times to post littlesky's picture of this but it refuses to appear. I regard that as a sign and will try no more.

Then we got back in our car and drove off campus.    

Epilogue:  The trip to Kent, no matter how many terrible things I discovered, was very therapeutic. The trip, and these diaries, really clarified my book for me. Back home, I wrote a complete synopsis and outline, unimaginable six months ago. I also discovered that Kent State can't hurt me any more. They ripped out and stomped on my heart so long ago, I'm immune now. That helps me reclaim my own emotions. I now know I could - and no doubt will - some day return for a memorial. Each marks a step in healing the ugly, open gash May 4 left on my soul. Again, I thank all of you for your many contributions to that process.

Originally posted to kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 02:56 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A great experience (65+ / 0-)

    I admit I approached it with a bit of fear after you told me you'd sworn to never return, but I wanted to go so I could see it for myself.  Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that you needed to go and that I should be the one to go with you.

    The stanchions...bloody awful.  Six oversized tacky lawn ornaments.  Jeebus.  

    A fine ending to a wonderful series, sis.  I'm glad to have been a part of it, however small.      

    "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 Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 03:23:02 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for Posting This (38+ / 0-)

    Jeffrey Miller was my first cousin, a year older than I. I have no idea what it was like to have been at KSU that day; for Jeff's family (and for me personally) the whole thing was a completely surreal "how can this be happening in the United States, in my world?" nightmare, from the moment I heard something on the radio and just assumed it was some other Jeffrey Miller, to the memorial service surrounded by TV cameras, to the years my aunt Elaine spent traveling to Cleveland from NYC to be vilified by the local press. I'm sure that the families of the other victims, as well as the survivors, must feel the same way.
    Jeff's mother, my aunt Elaine, is alive and reasonably well (she is, after all, 84 years old and has a variety of little health complaints),  living with my uncle in the same Queens neighborhood where I spent most of my childhood. Only a couple of weeks ago, she sent me a CD with pictures of Jeff, including one taken May 3, 1970.

  •  kainah (32+ / 0-)
    I remember your original series well. One of the best ever on Daily Kos. This diary is too.

    Thank you for writing it. And for remembering.

    YouTube Four Dead In Ohio

    We can but try. Sherlock Holmes.

    by Carnacki on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 04:15:30 PM PDT

  •  I'll never forget the horror of that day (25+ / 0-)

    Thank you kainah, for your diligence and your tenacity. Your work is appreciated, so much.

    Let the great world spin for ever down the ringing grooves of change. - Tennyson

    by bumblebums on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 04:47:33 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for sharing this. (17+ / 0-)

    If I can be of some help (even if you only need solidarity) as you pursue the process of writing, publishing and promoting your novel, please let me know.  I wrote something about the process just yesterday. It would be great if this forum could be a vehicle for getting more new voices heard.

    thank you for rescuing this diary.

    Author, DOUBLETHINK: A Tale of Unintended Consequences

    by JESchwartz on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 04:48:42 PM PDT

    •  self-publishing, wow! (7+ / 0-)

      I don't know that's too much of a challenge for me. I got my first book published remarkably easily and that keeps me going. I didn't really know what I was doing when I wrote that one, but I took it one step at a time and now it's in paperback, still getting good reviews. So I'm not too scared off of the mean, bad, publishing world yet. Of course, that could all change quickly.

      (First book, Frontier Diplomats, 19th century western history, for anyone who cares.)

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:34:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That's good you have a track record... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        CSI Bentonville you know, it makes it much easier to get the next deal.  I'll check out your book.

        I only went the self-publishing route because the agent I was talking to explained that even if we got a deal the next day, the book wouldn't make it to market for 18 months.  That would have put it past the 2006 election.  I feel like my book can have a positive impact by getting through to moderate Republicans and Libertarians that if they vote their wallets, they may end up with an America they don't want either.

        In hindsight the one thing I would have done differently is that I would have printed in a mass paperback format.  I went with the TPO format because I was told that book reviewers would never review the mass format.  Well, it doesn't seem to matter anyway since the bias against self-published novels is amazing.  I know that if I get any significant coverage it will be because of the meta story of all the unusual ways I'm promoting it.

        Author, DOUBLETHINK: A Tale of Unintended Consequences

        by JESchwartz on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 09:55:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  bias against anything but mass market is amazing (0+ / 0-)

          My book has been published by two (essentially) academic publishers. So the book has been reviewed by the professional journals, etc., and a few newspapers in Montana but the prejudice to go with a few big-name writers is overwhelming. Chain stores have come close to destroy the publishing of new and independent thought. Luckily, a ton of little and local presses have sprung up but it's a tough world, that's for sure.

          I've never done fiction before so that's a little scary but I'm just taking it one step at a time. Lately, I've been thinking about looking for an agent, which is new, but would probably be a good move.

          I hope you are able to have the kind of impact you hope, at least with a few people. Every vote, in this day and age, helps & I surely wish you a lot of luck!!

          Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

          by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:22:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Thank YOU so much for these diaries... (16+ / 0-)

    I have read each one, and your voice is an important one.  Please keep at it.

    I am amazed at this community, and I am SO glad that you have found one of Jeff's relatives, and have received news of his mother.  Wow.  Just wow...

    Peace and strength to you and littlesky.  Thank you both.

  •  I'm not sure if the country has ever gotten over (14+ / 0-)

    killing four of its own, because a signficant portion of the country to this day thinks that those kids had it coming to them, and too bad that a whole lot more weren't planted in the ground.

    Give you one guess if they like George W. Bush or not.

    You can't heal if you don't acknowledge that you're wounded, and take care of the damage.

    Forget peak oil. Peak beer is coming!

    by cskendrick on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:24:06 PM PDT

  •  Thank you for the pain (11+ / 0-)

    When the daily bombardment of lies and insanity makes me feel like the only option is to shut down, it takes something like this to bring me back to reality.  I remember that day so well, so horridly, so unbelievably strongly - the knowledge that the war machine only wants to feed itself on the faceless ones, the young, the beautiful hope of the future.

    Thank you for keeping the memory alive - it keeps us human... and keeps us raging against the darkness that threatens more and more each day as the madmen keep running the asylum

  •  Excellent diary. (14+ / 0-)

    Your persistence and determination to make this event a true remembrance is inspiring and moving.  You are a authentic historian in that sense, giving valuable service to the rest of us.  It is so difficult to keep alive the truth of events that shape the world.  Kent State was one of those events.  Your hard work is much appreciated.

    Can't wait for the book!

    •  authentic historian (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina, suzq, wildcat6, Nightprowlkitty

      I like that phrase because, in fact, I am not a trained historian -- and, oh, but the world of trained historians does not much like us professional self-trained scholars. No matter how much they like and respect our work. Without letters after your name, you're suspect. (Friends have suggested I put M.S. after my name -- standing for multiple sclerosis, but let people read into it what they will. Not a great degree for a historian, tho. Grin.)

      But "authentic historian" goes along well with my mantra to myself about "coherent narratives." Since I believe history is only appreciated as the story of people, authentic historian is a great description. Thanks! Another kos community contribution!!

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:00:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  As a Kossack of a certain age (16+ / 0-)

    I, too, remember all too vividly May 4,1970.  Every year since then, on the anniversary, I make sure to take some time to put on CSN&Y's version of Ohio and take some time to remember when a government hated its students enough to kill them...and how wrong I was when I thought, finally, about 20 years later, that we'd never have that type of government again.

  •  wow (15+ / 0-)

    You guys have absolutely overwhelmed me again. And I expected this one to fade and not require much more. (Thanks again, Carnacki)

    I really, really, really, really hope you all are taking to heart what I have said about how important your contributions to this have been. For so many years, this obsession has been an isolating piece of my life -- something some people want to hear sometimes but never enough to come close to satisfying the level of my obsession. To have people really truly enthusiastically embracing my research, emotions, and knowledge of this topic is just an astounding experience for me.

    Littlesky and I are thinking a May 4, 2008 vigil & memorial sounds good. Anyone want to join us?

    Thank you all again.

    Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

    by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:29:46 PM PDT

  •  hey, WHAT ABOUT THE HAWK?? (5+ / 0-)

    No one has weighed in at all on our friend, the hawk. What do you think?? Supernatural? Playful, lazy hawks are common in Ohio?

    I'd really like to know, especially if you are one of those people like me who sees signs fairly regularly.

    Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

    by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:49:43 PM PDT

    •  I read this and came back (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kainah, ohiojack, Zoskie

      and was going to say the same thing you did-WHAT ABOUT THE HAWK?? if the hawk was not yet mentioned.

      I don't know the practical details about the hawk but I see others did.

      Animals are very good at cooperating with spirit, they don't have the resistance we do. The timing, the powerful emotions running through you...well I think it was...not supernatural...natural but in a way we are not use to. Come to think of it we'd call it supernatural.

      I wasn't made to believe in "odd" things. I had a psychic mother and a creepily psychic son until he was of school age, but I was a chemistry major damn it, I shrugged it all off. Until I couldn't.  
      Still let's pretend someone else is writing this under my user name. (How dare they?)

      I looked up symbolism of hawks...didn't look at the sites but this search page notes the hawk as a messenger a few times. You might like looking at them, they note much more than that.

      I could tell many stories about such roles animals have played. The hawk was there for you.

      I have to say something about your earlier experience. You said Especially at Kent, I felt a continuing rage and frustration in him so strong that it threatened to suck me down into some unknown space. What I didn't tell littlesky until we had safely arrived was that, on my last two trips to Kent, Jeff manifested himself in decidedly unfriendly ways.

      It was your experience and may well have been just what it seemed to be. But a place also holds energy and what came to mind was that the rage could have been the cumulative energy of the experience, manifested through your image or sense of Jeff, rather than Jeff's continuing rage.

      I think of my mother as I wrote that. As far back as my memory goes now and then she'd pick up some article or walk into some place and suddenly start telling a story...describing people, conversations and especially emotions. If it was something connected to me I'd deny it (though it was always correct, as though she had been there). She'd tell me there were things she could be wrong about but emotional impressions left were always true, false emotions might deceive in real time but didn't leave the impressions. She said it all differently than that, I don't have the lingo.
      But she said something about who the emotions came from might not be as clear, her own image could get in the way of that, but the emotions themselves were correct.

      It might be my own bias that the kids weren't left alone to rage and hurt. Even in such a sudden and needless violent death they were greeted and surrounded in love and they found peace much more quickly than we did.

      Remember, I didn't write this.

      •  thank you, joynow!! (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, ohiojack

        Great information and insight. And you are probably absolutely right about the rage and the energy. I was still very young when I left Kent State the last time (24) and hadn't had nearly as much experience with feeling and understanding the energies that surround me a lot of the time. And my own lens wouldn't have been a good filter either. One of the reasons I do attribute it somewhat to Jeff is because it didn't always happen at Kent. For many years, I had dreams that placed me directly in the spot where Jeff had been (after playing out some of the scene) and then I was forced to watch as his head exploded. I felt his confusion, his not understanding what had happened or why he couldn't be understood anymore when he tried to speak. And, of course, that would be true. Since he was the only one facing the Guard when he was shot, besides Joe Lewis (who we know was among the earliest shot since he got shot twice & time passed in between), Jeff almost certainly was killed with one of the very first shots. (I believe targeted.)

        And so it was good to not feel them so restless and, now, to believe he or they or one of them sent me the hawk to sit with us, to play, to help me regain my composure so that I could do the serious examination that I had come to do.  

        Thank you again. It's sometimes hard to even talk about this kind of stuff because, understandably, a lot of people are very skeptical. And a lot of others don't want to believe it, even though they've experienced some of it. And tons more, IMHO, experience it and don't recognize it. It will certainly help me turn littlesky, not to mention my husband, from their skepticism.  

        Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

        by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:59:16 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  something else I found about hawks (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Eagle and hawk symbolism is also associated with death, for the birds often act as the bearers of souls "heavenward." This is true of the hawk in California Indian religions as well as in the religious system of ancient Egypt, where the hawk was itself the emblem of the soul. In ancient Rome an eagle was released from an emperor's funeral pyre to signify the soul departing for the afterlife.

        Everything I've read in these symbolism pages is pretty powerful stuff.

        A couple of others:

        The hawk has keen eyesight, it is about opening our eyes and seeing that which is there to guide us.


        If a hawk has soared into your life, you require a higher perspective.  You need to see the details of what is going on and look at the bigger picture.  Take a look at your situation from above.

        very interesting, indeed....

        Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

        by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 10:56:53 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Kainah, the hawk (8+ / 0-)

    is a mature Red-tailed hawk, and no, they are not known for playing in front of people.  I've cared for one for 8 years, and rescued/rehabilitated hundreds over my 15 years of bird rehabilitation.

    Knowing that this is a reality/science-based community, but having encountered so many hawks personally, I would not dismiss your interpretation as wishful thinking, but perhaps something bigger we don't yet understand.

    "WE are the leaders we are waiting for" Hopi Elders

    by Gabriele Droz on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 05:52:57 PM PDT

  •  kainah and littlesky......... (13+ / 0-)

    I read your amazing diaries this Spring and it brought back such memories.  My husband and I were 24 and I had just had our third child the week before.  The day after Kent State we sat in the unseasonablely warm May sunshine in our back yard and watch the sky turn orange from a forest fire in the foothills of Denver.  My husband was in turmoil over what had happened, as was I.  He disappeared into the house and emerged with his typewriter and some paper.  He sat at a table while I rocked our newborn son and began to write:

    Medusa Goes to Kent State

    On a most peculiar day, in May,
    if you'll believe it
    the creeps in boot defended those in suits
    and frightened by Medusa root, did shoot,
    if you'll believe it.

    Hair snakes burn a heritage
    death's face turns to verbiage
    most logical to kill the follicle

    Poor Medusa with your mirror
    tear your hair and watch it wither
    tear your hair and bleed a river.

    Your hair in turn will use a .......
    never mind my dear Medusa
    the others sword is not your last seducer.

    Oh no, that other creep in well-belled britches
    watching your last spastic twitches
    and ponders peoples picky ways
    as if he had something left to say.

    We lost something special that day, as we had the days that John, Martin and Bobby were killed.  
    I respect what you have done to investigate that awful day and those senseless deaths.  I hope going back and visiting the site and leaving tokens in homage to the fallen has given you some peace.
    Thank you, thank you so much for this and your other diaries.

  •  Icing on my cake tonight!!! (8+ / 0-)

    I just got polled by Rasmussen Reports!! Got to say that I think w is doing a very poor job, I trust the Dems more on everything, we're losing the war on terrorism, I think Trauner is great, Cubin is awful, Thomas is pretty bad, Groutage is pretty good, Freudenthal is good, Hunkins is pretty bad and that I always vote!!!

    We're very happy here tonight!

    Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

    by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 06:10:50 PM PDT

  •  Wow..... (5+ / 0-)

    Just wow. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us, as well as your other diaries on the subject.

    I'm too young to remember Kent State, wasn't even born in fact. However, I'm going to share these with my mother. I'm sure she'll appreciate your work as much as I did.

  •  On May 4 1970 I Was.... (10+ / 0-)

    A sixteen year old living in Yellow Springs, Ohio home of Antioch College about 200miles to the southwest of Kent..
    That afternnon I had skipped out of HS classes that day and was "hanging out" on campus. Around 2 or 3:00 that afternoon the bells located high up in the "Main Building" began ringing non-stop. Everyone wondered what was going on. Then word quickly spread that 4 were dead in Kent
    ..........I can still hear those bells ringing.

    •  For the under twenty crowd (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kainah, joynow, javelina, suzq, dsteffen

      it was as if all hell had broken loose.

      Shooting college kids??? And wondering who was next. and why? for what?

      It does pay to remember. Especially now. We might not have the draft, but the same fear of critics is palpable.

      •  and don't think it won't happen again (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, dsteffen

        I've lived in fear of it happening again for at least a couple years now. I'm sure they'd love to be given the excuse. And the more frightening thing is that I don't think there would be nearly the cries of outrage that we did hear in 1970. Surely not if they labeled the dead "terrorists," as you know they would.

        Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

        by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:22:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I remember the silence of the group of people (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, javelina, suzq

      I was with when I heard. It was shattering, and seemed to go on forever.

    •  the first thing I heard (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      was one of my good friends wailing in the dining hall. I can still hear that, too.

      And, frandor55, I have a very good friend in Laramie who is from Yellow Springs and about the same age. She's a good political lefty but she doesn't about blogs or what kos is.

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:25:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    • was a real tipping point in many lives (0+ / 0-)

      I was about 10 miles away in Akron at a high school track meet. We heard the news as we drove back from the meet. It was inconceivable.

      Like most high school students in the area we went to Kent to watch bands and look for records in the hip stores.  Kent was a fun place to go, but anyplace on the planet is a lot more fun and hip than Akron.

      There was a violent truckers' strike in Akron, which the National Guard had been called to quell in late April. In those days striking truckers shot at scabs, sometimes killing the drivers. The Guard was supposed to stand between the angry strikers and the scabs leaving the terminals.  I lived a little over a mile from the truck terminals, and Guard convoys drove down the main road near my house to reach the terminals, sometimes convoying scab trucks out.

      It was very tense.  

      The weather had finally turned nice after a very gray, depressing northeastern Ohio winter. It looked like the last snow would finally melt. People had spring fever.  Grass was turning green. The sky was blue, not gray. The school year was ending.  

      Then Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia.  Campuses were in an uproar, some called for student strikes. It even affected high schools close to colleges. We were nearing draft age, so we paid attention to the world news.  Most of us knew someone who'd been drafted and sent to 'Nam.  If you had an average IQ in 1970 you knew the war was a fraud.  Akron was a conservative, anti-intellectual, blue collar town, so few kids got deferments. But the kids enlisting in the Marines were the dim bulbs in my school.  The local papers were generally for the war and pro-Nixon.  Kent was different.

      The days after the shootings were frightening if you were between 15 and 30.  I was a pretty straight arrow, "A" student, learning to fly planes, working at an airport to pay my flight time, trying to get into a service academy so I could make a career of flying and someone else would pay me, and suddenly the next day I'm one of the enemy.

      I'd compare it to being a Muslim in America.  On September 10, 2001 you're a clean-living, sober, obedient student focused on your studies.  On September 12 you're the enemy and everyone looks at you with suspicion.  It was like that in Ohio in 1970.  People felt they could do anything to you and get away with it, because you might be a threat.

      Let me wrap this up by saying that all my plans, and those of many of my friends, were shattered by the shootings, and I was still in high school in the area.  I was a member of the enemy, whether I liked it or not. It was polarizing. There was no middle ground, "for us or against us", was the view in Ohio and much of the country.

      Rather than head off to a service academy, where I was viewed as damaged food, or MIT, or UCLA, the schools I wanted to attend but was not allowed to apply for, I ended up at...Kent State, my parent's alma mater, where they hoped I would become a teacher.  For three years I walked past the statue with the bullet hole into Taylor Hall, studying broadcast journalism.  I met many of the wounded in those years. On the fourth anniversary in 1974 I shot a 16mm color sync film of the memorial service rally with many well known anti-war speakers.  By the fifth anniversary I had moved to San Francisco.  Good riddance Ohio.    What a waste.

  •  kainah... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, javelina, suzq, ohiojack

    i was so pleased to once again to see one of your diaries on my hotlist. i don't have time to read this right now, as i need to savor your kent state diaries, not merely read them. i am bookmarking this so i can truly concentrate on it tomorrow. i know that it will be as excellent as your previous diaries on the subject, so i can recommend it without guilt and with the greatest of pleasure.

    I didn't get Jack from Abramoff...I'm not a Republican!

    by nonnie9999 on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 06:53:35 PM PDT

    •  glad to see you here, nonnie9999 (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, wildcat6, nonnie9999, ohiojack

      ohiojack hasn't shown but I know he's got me hotlisted so he'll find it.

      I didn't really expect this one to have much appeal or shelf life so it was a very pleasant surprise when Carnacki pimped it with his own diary. It's been a good day. And I'm very thrilled by how much lighter the burden of Kent State has become for me since last May.

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:11:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  finally got online... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah, every once in a while, life intrudes on my kosying up with like minds.

        Thanks so much for the finale.  Detailed and informative as usual. But also beautiful, emotional prose, which by now would be disappointing not to see, since you have so raised the bar in your prior diaries.  

        You keep topping yourself, kainah.  If your novel is anything close to this level, it will tear people's hearts out, connect generations, and become the touchstone to understanding our history.  I trust the hawk will be a major character!

        As someone who was on campus that day, heard the shots, saw the blood on the pavement, and felt my world shattering around me, your words are the best I have ever read on this painful subject.  

        I too have been obsessed, and have read all the books, but you combine the insights of objectivity, not having been there, with the passion of subjectivity, as if you had been.    

        You have presented us a rare gift, and like so many others who have been touched by your reports, I applaud this community for recognizing the impact of this event, and for promoting the dissemination of the truths that surround it.

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

        by ohiojack on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 12:24:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I was 5 yrs old on May 4, 1970 (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, javelina, suzq, ohiojack

    ... growing up in Lakewood, Ohio, not far at all from Kent. At that young age I didn't know or understand much about what happened there, but I do remember that my parents were very upset, and I remember everyone in the community talking about it for many years afterward. The event helped form my views for a lifetime about war, peace and protest. I learned to identify with those who protest, and even offend, to support peace unless all alternatives are impossible, that it is always proper to question authority, but that authorities are capable of a cruel response.

    Thank you for keeping this important piece of history alive.

    Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    by Buckeye Hamburger on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 06:54:11 PM PDT

    •  good for Lakewood! (4+ / 0-)

      Sadly, I'll bet there are more than a few kids who were 5 years old in 1970, living in northeast Ohio, who grew up wanting to go hunt hippies ... who, of course, are now liberals ... and most especially, kossacks!

      Glad you were raised by people who gave you the compassionate and patriotic message.

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:13:52 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  My father says he knew one of the Guardsmen (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        joynow, suzq

        I just remembered an anecdote my father told me years later. He was working in some sort of supervisory position for UPS in the Cleveland area back then, and he said that some time after 1970, a guy came to work for them who was in the squad of Guardsmen that very day at Kent State. He told me his name too, damned if I can remember it. (That's gonna keep me up all night, I fear.) He said this guy was crazy, had an out-of-control temper, and my father became convinced that he now knew how the shootings began -- this nut who worked with him at UPS lost his head and opened fire. Oh well, that's probably not much better than any of the other theories you've heard, but there it is.

        Absolute power corrupts absolutely.

        by Buckeye Hamburger on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:30:08 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I could get a list of the shooters (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          joynow, Buckeye Hamburger

          I don't have it in front of me and not the energy tonight to put it together. But it wouldn't be hard to do. There were also quite a few guardsmen at Kent that day who were not on the hill at the time of the shootings.

          I actually suspect that a lot of the guardsmen probably grew much more violent and angry after 1970, because they'd been put in an impossible position and then forced to live with incredible outcomes of their superiors' recklessness and mendacity.

          Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

          by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:02:27 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm crying now (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, javelina

    as I remember hearing that this had happened.  I can't imagine how tough going back really was for you and I surely hope it helped.

    Don't attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.

    by jasfm on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 06:59:12 PM PDT

  •  I visited a nearby college in Ohio in late May (5+ / 0-)

    1970, so even though I did not attend Kent State, I knew that what had happened to the four murdered students could have so easily happened to me. Right now I'm crying as if it had happened today. I have nothing to say except that I wish it had never happened. Lame, I know, but it's all I can say. The sorrow doesn't die with the years.

    Thank you for sharing your experiences. The memorials to the students are really inappropriate. Kent State has disgraced itself completely.

  •  Kainah, welcome back... (8+ / 0-)

    I wondered when you would post another diary. Excellent as usual. This summer I went back to Kent as well. We parked in the lot by the old ROTC building and walked up the hill and across the killing field, as it is my wont to do every time I go home. It's my pilgrimage. Also, my family had a little get together so I could visit with everyone while I was there, and I had a chance to see the two sisters I brought back from Kent on May 4, 1970.
     I didn't mention Kent State. I was so happy they are doing well, I decided to let it pass until a better time.
     My homecomings are always bittersweet. My happiness to see friends and family is always laced with sadness and anger about Kent State, and feelings of utter desperation as I contemplate the same shit happening all over again. John Fogerty's new tune came to mind this year, Deja vu, all over again. (I think that's the title.)
     Great job, Good luck with the book.

    •  thanks, mitchvance! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Glad to see you weighing in, too.

      Above, I make reference to the fact that littlesky and I are talking about going back for the 2008 vigil and memorial. Whaddayathink? Bet we could get a nice contingent together.

      BTW, if you understand the Ast memorial, I'd sure like to hear from someone who does. I admit we may have been more limited than normal by my bad legs so we didn't go down to the Commons. But I sure didn't see anything inviting about the place.

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:19:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Vigil sounds like a good idea... (0+ / 0-)

        I have been interested in attending a vigil/memorial service on May 4 in Kent for years. Yes we could put together a real crew.
         Regarding the Ast Memorial, I don't have a clue. As a work of art, I'm sure there's some truth in there somewhere, but I haven't found it yet. Next time, I'll pay more attention. I remember telling a friend shortly after May 4 that America had become a dragon that devours its young. In my darker moments, I've thought that might be a fitting statue on the commons where the old ROTC building stood.

        •  too violent (0+ / 0-)

          If Abraham and Isaac was too violent for them, you know a dragon devouring its young wouldn't get far. But I'd sure contribute to a private fund to place the sculpture. Where ROTC was sounds like a great location to me.

          I'm pretty sure we could get OhioJack and his wife for a vigil. I might have to sign up several times to stand for Sandy so I can stand in the right place.

          Actually, if you find yourself there again in the near future, I would appreciate it if you'd check to see if the names are on those four "mute sentinels." I had no idea they were there. Unreal... Next time I go back maybe I'll take gardening shears. I can think of a lot of "improvements" I'd like to make. Smile!!!!!

          Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

          by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:10:42 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Count us in. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            kainah, mitchvance, RAZE

            And let's invite all the Ohio kossacks.  

            Make it an organizing meeting for taking back our country in the '08 election --- presuming we're allowed to have elections under martial law.

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

            by ohiojack on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 12:35:02 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Doh! (0+ / 0-)

              I didn't understand the 2008 timeframe when Kainah originally suggested it - still had my May 4 goggles on. "37 years... ?" But as a rallying point for the 2008 elections, yeah, now I get it.

              I'll be there.

              Mark Keating, KSU '87

              "It's all complicated; it's all connected. That's why we have to pay attention." - Jon Carroll,

              by Turbonerd on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 08:38:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  I was part of the M4TF when Ast was awarded the (0+ / 0-)

          commission. My take-away from that was that Ast was a decent guy, trying to do a very difficult job. The University FINALLY agreed to allow a memorial to the students and events of May 4, 1970 (and not the monstrosity that is the "Memorial Gym Annex." What a slap in the face.) BUT they made it crystal-clear that there was NOT going to be any obvious "meaning" in the winning design. Their emphasis was more on "blending in."  So it doesn't surprise me that what got built is so abstract that it requires a freaking program to decipher.

          "It's all complicated; it's all connected. That's why we have to pay attention." - Jon Carroll,

          by Turbonerd on Mon Aug 21, 2006 at 08:51:28 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  kainah (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, javelina, mitchvance

    To put it simply and succinctly:

    thank you so much for yet another moving and powerful diary.

    A foolish consistency (staying the course in Iraq) is the hobgoblin of George W. Bush.

    by wildcat6 on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:19:39 PM PDT

  •  kainah (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joynow, dsteffen, RAZE, ohiojack

    I am in awe of your diaries, and of the courage it must have taken to visit Kent again.  

    I was a little kid growing up near Youngstown back then, and I remember that day well, although I don't think I was old enough to really understand its significance at that time.  I remember the confusion, the grasping for an explanation--there HAD to be an explanation, right?--our government just wouldn't shoot kids, would they?  But my brother was in high school at the time, and I remember my mother's terror--she had been terrified that he might have to go fight in Vietnam, and now she was terrified to send him off to college.  That's what I remember of that day--terror, confusion, and no way to keep the children safe.

    •  Sandy Scheuer was from Boardman (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, Zoskie

      She's buried in a pretty little cemetery along a rural roadway around there. It's pretty and (at least used to be) quiet.

      Poor Sandy. If she hadn't chosen her red shirt that morning.....

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:14:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  You know what's funny? (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah, RAZE

        At the time, I actually thought Kent State was a purely local tragedy (I told you I was young). I was totally stunned to realize a few years later that Kent had meaning for the entire nation, that it was a point of no return, so to speak.

    •  oh, and... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RAZE, Zoskie

      you better watch out

      the grasping for an explanation--there HAD to be an explanation, right?--our government just wouldn't shoot kids, would they?

      That's exactly the kind of questioning that got me into this three decade obsession.... grin

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 08:16:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Uh oh (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        kainah, RAZE, ohiojack

        Oh well, I do like history, and I like research, and I really like trying to find the meaning in things...yes, I may be doomed...more seriously, as a little kid in those days, I was affected by the emotions of the time without always really grasping completely what was going on--and yet I feel as if my identity is rooted in those days.  So I do feel somewhat obsessed with trying to understand!   And kainah, your Kent State diaries have clarified a lot of things for me, and helped me to understand, so thank you!

    •  Your mother knew this: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kainah, Zoskie

      It's a mean old nasty world out there for children. Since my experience at Kent State that day, I've tried to impart this simple lesson to my children and anyone else I talk to about the subject: People who are pointing guns at you are not your friends; the guns are loaded; and they will kill you. When those guardsmen pointed their guns at me in my office, I instinctively knew they meant business. I hope I've imparted that to all the children (and adults)I've spoken to.

  •  Thanks so much... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, joynow, RAZE, ohiojack

    ...for your earlier series and for this diary.  I remember that day so well, and the aftermath.  Riots, the student strike, National Guard on campuses everywhere.  It was like America was about to explode.  

    I pray we don't have to go through that again to tke back our country.  

    We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both - Louis Brandeis

    by dsteffen on Thu Aug 17, 2006 at 07:38:06 PM PDT

  •  Kos is filled with a lot of us (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kainah, joynow, mitchvance, RAZE, ohiojack, Zoskie

    who grew up in NE Ohio during that horrible time.  I was eight years old.  I wrote some of my recollections in one of your other diaries.

    Both me and my parents were horrified.  Of course, Governor Rhodes was a hated name in our household as it was.

    My father, a union man, did not like his overt union busting ways.  

    Later, in college, one of my mass media professors thought to bring in a Guardsman who was there that day.  He talked about how they had been on duty for 24 hours straight monitoring a Teamsters' strike on I-71.  They were tired and gunshy to begin with.  So with no break, they were deployed straight to the campus.

    What he had to say didn't convince me of anything.  I got up and asked the teacher why he was brought in.  "So that you could hear the other point of view," she replied.

    "Wrong person" I replied.  We need to hear from Governor Rhodes why the thought the troops were necessary in the first place.  THAT'S the other side."

    You see, back in 1970, we were all being used: soldiers in 'Nam; guardsman, some of whom were trying to escape 'Nam; students, protesting and trying to escape.  And the people using us, the politicians, were the other side.  

    Wanna hear the other side?  Here it is.

    "[The student protesters] are worse than the brownshirts and the communist element and also the nightriders and the vigilantes. They're the worst type of people that we harbor in America. I think that we're up against the strongest, well-trained, militant, revolutionary group that has ever assembled in America."

    James A. Rhodes, May 1970

    The rhetoric sounds familiar, doesn't it?

    Anyway, the shootings cost him a senate seat.  However, he went on to be reelected Governor in '74 and again in '78.

    Want some irony?  They named a tower after him on the campus of Cleveland State University.  James Rhodes, friend of university campuses everywhere.

  •  Flowers are better than bullets. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    How right that your gift to Allison was a flower.  

    Her simple plea for peace, made to a Guardsman on May 3rd, was a cry in the wilderness, a personal prophecy that she would prove the next day.

    Allison was the flower of our youth, ripped to shreds by a country in love with violence.  Still.

    The red-tail hawk kills to survive.  I saw one once sweep down from the heights to snatch a sparrow in mid-flight.  It flew back to a branch of a tree only yards away and I watched in horror and respect as it devoured its prey.

    Man kills over petty politics.  We are so primitive.

    Your hawk was indeed a rare vision.  If such a force of nature could show you play on a killing field, maybe there is a God after all.

    Thank you so much for your brave soul.  


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

    by ohiojack on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 01:02:50 AM PDT

    •  'flowers are better than bullets' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Someone had written that on the Drumm sculpture but it had faded out and when I tried to photograph it, you couldn't see it.

      I love calla lilies and thought it was perfect when I found them in a nice little bundle and asked how many there were -- 5. Absolutely perfect. I wanted 5, one for each of the kids and one for the B'nai B'rith marker.

      Yeah, the hawk is seeming more and more mystical to me now, especially after researching the symbolism of them and discovering that so many of the qualities said to be embodied by them were precisely the qualities I needed to tap that day.

      See ya at Kent in 2008, ohiojack!

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 01:27:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Read this last night but can't post from (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    home under the revised format.  I just wanted to thank you again for these diaries, and to wish you the best now that you have returned and felt the daylight fade into healing night.  Adrift in time and space we sometimes search the physical locations to try to find echoes of our losses.  Your evocation of the spirit of the folk does not depend on the spot-you have brought me back to there and then though I'm here in California and it is now.

    I just keep hearing "Tin soldiers and Nixon's coming" over and over when I think of this.


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

    by NearlyNormal on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 12:51:46 PM PDT

  •  Kainah, I had a similar bird experience... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    when I visited Little Big Horn battlefield in Montana. After touring the battlefield, I stopped to go through the visitor's center. As I crossed the veranda, a bunch of noisy birds caught my attention. Perched among the trees, about a blackbirds were having a hell of a good time. For a moment, I had a feeling they were the spirits of those old warriors who fought Custer that day so long ago, and they were laughing. I know it sounds nutty, but it helps me understand the power of the red tail hawk.

    •  Little Bighorn (0+ / 0-)

      Oh, that's another of my favorite places. And it is extremely haunted! I've been there on some days when I really felt as though there was scarcely room for living beings because there were so many spirits roaming around. It is, indeed, a place where the land continues to carry an enormous imprint of terror, confusion, panic, pain, and, yes, triumph.

      If you ever get, remember that I'm only abt 8 hours south. "Only abt 8 hours," I know sounds weird but, out here, that's relatively close!

      Gary Trauner, WY's progressive candidate. Kick out Barbara Cubin!

      by kainah on Fri Aug 18, 2006 at 01:44:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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