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Friday, May 04, 2007

4 Dead In Ohio: May 4, 1970

kent state
"It's still hard to believe I had to write this song. It's ironic that I capitalized on the death of these American students. Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning. David Crosby cried after this take."

Liner notes of Neil Young's Decade album

Pulitzer Prize photo by John Filo

37 years ago, on the campus of Kent State University in Ohio, a series of events took place which still resonate to this day.

From the website of Alan Canfora, a Kent State eyewitness and victim, a summary of the events between May 1 through May 4, 1970.
MONDAY, MAY 4, 1970

At 11 a.m., about 200 students gathered on the Commons. Earlier that morning, state and local officials had met in Kent. Some officials had assumed that Gov. Rhodes had declared Martial Law to be in effect--but he had not. In fact, martial law was not officially declared until May 5. Nevertheless, the National Guard resolved to disperse any assembly.

As noon approached, the size of the crowd increased to 1,500. Some were merely spectators, while others had gathered specifically to protest the invasion of Cambodia and the continued presence of the National Guard on the campus. Upon orders of Ohio's Assistant Adjutant General Robert Canterbury, an army jeep was driven in front of the assembled students. The students were told by means of a bullhorn to disperse immediately. Students responded with jeers and chants.

When the students refused to disperse, Gen. Canterbury ordered the guardsmen to disperse them. Approximately 116 men, equipped with loaded M-1 rifles and tear gas, formed a skirmish line towards the students. Aware of bayonet injuries of the previous evening, students immediately ran away from the attacking National Guardsmen. Retreating up Blanket Hill, some students lobbed tear gas canisters back at the advancing troops, and one straggler was attacked with clubs.

The Guard, after clearing the Commons, marched over the crest of the hill, firing tear gas and scattering the students into a wider area. The Guard then continued marching down the hill and onto a practice football field. For approximately 10 minutes, the guard stayed in this position. During this time, tear gas canisters were thrown back and forth from the Guard's position to a small group of students in the Prentice Hall parking lot, about 100 yards away. Some students responded to the guardsmen's attack by throwing stones. Guardsmen also threw stones at the students. But because of the distance, most stones from both parties fell far short of their targets. The vast majority of students, however, were spectators on the veranda of Taylor Hall.

While on the practice field, several members of Troop G, which would within minutes fire the fatal volley, knelt and aimed their weapons at the students in the parking lot. Gen. Canterbury concluded that the crowd had been dispersed and ordered the Guard to march back to the commons area. Some members of Troop G then huddled briefly.

After reassembling on the field, the Guardsmen seemed to begin to retreat as they marched back up the hill, retracing their previous steps. Members of Troop G, while advancing up the hill, continued to glance back to the parking lot, where the most militant and vocal students were located. The students assumed the confrontation was over. Many students began to walk to their next classes.

As the guard reached the crest of the Blanket Hill, near the Pagoda of Taylor Hall, about a dozen members of Troop G simultaneously turned around 180 degrees, aimed and fired their weapons into the crowd in the Prentice Hall parking lot. The 1975 civil trials proved that there was a verbal command to fire.

A total of 67 shots were fired in 13 seconds. Four students: Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder were killed. Nine students were wounded: Joseph Lewis, John Cleary, Thomas Grace, Robbie Stamps, Donald Scott MacKenzie, Alan Canfora, Douglas Wrentmore, James Russell and Dean Kahler. Of the wounded, one was permanently paralyzed, and several were seriously maimed. All were full-time students.

allison krause william schroeder
jeffrey miller sandra scheuer

The Four Dead in Ohio

Allison Krause - Age: 19, 110 Yards
William Schroeder - Age: 19, 130 Yards
Jeffrey Miller - Age: 20, 90 Yards
Sandra Scheuer - Age: 20, 130 Yards

Also, see Neil Young's song "Ohio" Lyric Analysis.


At 5/03/2007 10:33:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am a 25 year old studying Japanese and Economics at Ohio State. My father was nearly killed by the National Guard walking to class during the anti-war riots at Ohio State in the 60's.I travel to Japan from time to time. When I am there—and in my heart always—the lyrics in 'Ohio' bring my stance on war to life. They bring a spirit to the fore that no amount of work in translation could ever communicate so succinctly—powerfully—to the people I meet there. Thank you, Neil.

There's no guilt for you in capitalizing on what happened at Kent State. Without your song, dozens of people in my life alone would not understand what it feels like to lose a life to a political agenda.

There must be uncounted thousands more who have needed to hear your song, too. You made money because the world needed to hear what you had to say. Your song is a service—and we thank you.

At 5/04/2007 01:47:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Both the music and lyric are powerful, great anti-war song forever. Thanks to Neil and CSNY for recording such great protest song.

At 5/04/2007 03:45:00 PM, Blogger Zhenya Fox said...

I live in Kent, and 37 years after it, it still rings heavy on us, even though it won't happen again. I'm only 18 years old, and my parents told me about it. The song "Ohio" makes me think, and makes me wonder if anything would have been different if this never happened.

At 5/04/2007 04:53:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was only 13 and in Jr. High School at this time. Every one had older brothers, or cousins, or others who had been sent to Vietnam, some returned, some didn't...I mean, EVERBODY knew SOMEONE..Most of my friends and I were worried about the draft, even though it was years away for us. But the Kent State shootings made shit more scary than before. Lines were being drawn, and weapons turned upon protesters..... I was in school learning about the Constitution and the worst possible violations of constitutional rights were being commited by the government in power.....I believe Neil hit the thing right on with his song.... Put the blame where the blame belonged, named Nixon by name. I still can't believe that he was re-elected...
We mustn't forget that those in power need to be watched and held accountable for their actions....
Thanks for a great song Neil.
peace, y'all

At 5/13/2007 12:42:00 PM, Blogger Todd said...

I was 16 at the time of the shootings and had not yet gotten into the antiwar movement. I first heard the song Ohio - July 1970 when the band played the old hockey arena on the south side of Minneapolis, Minnesota where the Mall of America is presently. The concert was a scene - thick MJ smoke visible in the stage spots with kids from 12 to 24 dancing half naked all night in the hot & sticky arena that seated less than 10,000. C,S,N,&Y were lined up center stage on tall barstools - all with guitars - Crosby in his trademark buckskin fringed shirt. The intro to Ohio was so hunting and unfamiliar - that most of the crowd quieted down and listened to the first verse, puzzeled as to what the words were and meant - what the song was about ... but the entire arena erupted in unison when they sang the '4 Dead in Ohio' reprieve. I still get goosebumps and become retrospective when I hear Ohio sung. It simply is sad - to think of what kids had and were trying to achieve in the 60's - and how a psychotic administration could fracture the masses with one act of domestic terrorism. During the late 50's and 60's, kids in America came out of their houses, looked around to find that "something is happening here". And for a very short time - a long time ago, the younger crowd in America attained a cohesiveness that won't be repeated. Just perhaps, the stuff that held us together was taken away on May 4 1970. It seems to me, the kids that lived through those times and learned from Kent State - decided it was best to get a house and raise their kids inside.

At 8/02/2007 06:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can you believe these same bastards are running the country again? The bodies are piling up every day, civil rights are a memory, and the coffers of the guilty are swolen with false money printed by our own presses.
God save America.

At 9/30/2007 12:10:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wasn't yet a year old when this event took place, but my Mother kept a copy of the Life Magazine and I recall reading the article years later. I am from Ohio, so it hit home to me when I was in my teens. Today as a parent of college age kids, it touches my heart to think that these kids Mothers and Fathers had to suffer this way.
The most incredible thing is, that until tonight, it had never dawned on me that the song Ohio was even about this tragedy. I have heard it many times, but until hearing it again tonight, it had never clicked. That is how I found this site. I wanted to read the lyrics, as to know exactly what they say.
I have heard that my Dad had been in the National Guard and had been out for a number of years at the time this happened and was so thankful that he was not associated with the barbarians who committed this horrible act.
To anyone who knew and loved any of the students that were killed or injured, or that witnessed this horror, may the Lord be with you and keep his hand of mercy and Grace upon you. I am sure the pain lingers on.

At 9/30/2007 05:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I live near Washington in the UK. I was 16 when the four were killed. I got wound up in some of the demonstrations in London at the time, but due to my age didn’t really have a great understanding of what was going on. When tracking down the lyrics to the song, like many others, I stumbled across this site and was reminded of their tragic loss. Their deaths do make some of us think, but our leaders continue to make the same mistakes around the world and we continue to kill our own: What we (the British) did in Ireland; How the world propped up apartheid for so many years and our current interference in the Far East. I visited Auschwitz earlier this year, there are times when no words can describe man’s inhumanity to man. God bless those four and help us to care more for our fellow man.

At 10/18/2007 04:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What if you knew her
Found her dead on the ground
How could you run when you know

Sandy Scheuer was a friend of mine and I was only a few yards away from her on the parking lot that fateful day, right behind Jeffrey Miller.

I was the committed protester and Sandy was just trying to make it to class, one of the many ironies of Kent State. You can imagine how I feel every time I hear that song and those haunting words. That day at Kent State changed my life forever, hoefully in a positive way but at a very big price.

At 11/22/2007 06:39:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was 14 at the time of the shootings; if you were not alive at this time, I think it's very hard to understand the feelings running rampant at the time. Our parents were WWII vets who thought the protesters were bad for the country; we, as students, and for males like myself, who saw upcoming draft status coming very quickly, understood the problems that were happening, and wanted our troops HOME. There was a lot of "game playing" going on from the military, and it was as if they really (at the top) had no intention of attempting to "win" the war. Obviously, we know now that "winning" would have been fruitless - we really should never have been there in the 1st place!

However it came down, it was horrible - and polarizing, especially for those of us in Ohio (I was in Columbus, and my sister was in the middle of the protests at Ohio State at the same time).

When CSNY released "Ohio", it was haunting, sad, and brilliant. I've never been a huge fan of Neil Young's individual works, but what a home run he hit with this one! Every time I hear it, my stomach turns, and I feel the same outrage and pain that I did on the day the shootings occurred.

About 7 years ago, my wife & I took our kids to Sea World on July 4th weekend. We arrived in Kent to stay in a motel and watched the fireworks on the evening of the 3rd from the motel swimming pool. The next morning, before going to Aurora, we took our kids to the memorial, which was also the 1st time I'd ever visited the site. We told our kids, "July 4th is not just about our country's Independence, and that we have freedom here. Freedom in our country also means you have the right to protest against your government WITHOUT FEAR FOR YOUR LIFE, as happens in so many other countries." We spent much of the day discussing the protests of that time, and tried our best to attempt to describe what it was like to our (then) 10 and 6 year old daughters. It moved our oldest daughter to go back to school that fall and write a report about the subject, which really moved me at the time.

As has been said many times, WE CAN NEVER FORGET. This was a horrible event in our nations' history, and I hope and pray that future generations will REMEMBER what happened here, so that it will never have the opportunity to happen again.

At 2/08/2008 03:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was Kent State that my father realized that this country was intent on killing its children. We never fought about the war again.

At 2/19/2008 02:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great song - it had to be made!

At 4/04/2008 12:47:00 AM, Blogger BDH911 said...

Peaceful protests??? If some of these "peaceful protesters" hadn't committed mayhem, which included setting a school building on fire, the Ohio National Guard would not have been called out. The rioting students led to this incident. If you don't post this reply, you're just as guilty of not allowing free speech as you claim the government was back in 1970.

At 4/06/2008 11:38:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and what about the two who weren't a part of the protest? The innocent standbys? Its too terrible of an accident to point fingers at the students.

At 4/30/2008 03:09:00 PM, Blogger Thin Places said...

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

Gotta get down to it.
Soldiers are cutting us down.
Should have been done long ago.

What if you knew her
and found her dead on the ground?
How can you run when you know?

... and to bdh911, what if she had been YOUR daughter, he had been YOUR son... would you still have the same self-righteous attitude, pig? Fuck you.

At 5/02/2008 12:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We're Finally on our own"" is not at all about the freedom of leaving home and going away to college. It proceeds "Tin Soldiers and Nixon's Coming".

It's all about we can't count on our country, our army, or our President to be our side. Ain't nobody but us to look out for us. We're finally on our own.

At 5/06/2008 10:14:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Huey Long once said that when fascism came to America it would come in the name of democracy. fasxcism showed its face that day at Kent State. Those students were murdered in cold blood.

At 5/19/2008 03:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wept today for the 4 dead and all those that preceeded them and the thousands of soldiers that have died since then and are dying now in wars that Americans should not have been involved in.
I am not a hippie or a sissy, I believe in going to war for the right reasons,but I am sick and tired of being lied to by Bush and his people, they better watch out or they can end up like Mussolini,
one of these days we people will take back what belongs to ALL Americans.

At 6/30/2008 01:15:00 AM, Blogger Donna Barr said...

Hm. Invade a continent. Stock it with slaves to do the dirty work. Wipe out the original inhabitants and put the survivors in concentrated areas. Clear-cut the forests. Set the economy up to run a war against its own people for the people who are running the war to stay on the take. Set the rivers on fire. And anybody thinks any of this is a SURPRISE? When America starts building its own holocaust memorials to what it did itself, and Americans start admitting they live among the ghosts of their victims -- maybe we can start healing. But get a mirror, America. Get a fucking mirror.

At 8/12/2008 01:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was lying there on the front porch of my parents home and I decided to pick it up on the way in the house. I was living there with them and was coming home from work. It was May 4th, 1970. I was not quite 20 years old.

Some 8 months ago, sometime in October 1969, I had landed a seasonal job at the Hecht Company in the Bethesda Mall in Maryland. It was a department store, and sold everything from clothing to household goods. Including toys. I was to be the Christmas Department Manager, which was located in the toy department.

The company also hired a half dozen young ladies, some of whom were home from college for the season, and were just taking the job to hold them over while home. Then, it would be back to school after the holidays.

Allison was one of these young women, and immediately a friend. We had an instant connection. She was beautiful, happy, and so alive I could not believe it. She loved people, especially the children who came into our section of the huge department store.

The company had provided all the girls with costumes that were to accent the holiday spirit. Allison was dressed as an elf, and played her part with enthusiasm.

One day Goldie Hawn of TV fame ( Laugh In and of course later, movies and such ) came in to do her shopping for toys for her family. We had a wonderful time laughing and enjoying this star's kindness and good humor. A memory surely neither Allison nor I would ever forget.

Allison loved children. We talked about our futures over lunch and many times dinner, and the main thing I will always remember about her was her great anticipation and excitement about someday having children of her own. We both agreed we would never have the type of toys we were selling, but would much rather have toys that had character and substance. She was always saying how she wanted wooden toys for her children. She had dreams, and they were beautiful. I had never met anyone like her.

As the season ended, and it was time for her to go back to college, we realized we had had a wonderful friendship, and were quite attached to one another. I knew her parents, and we had become quite close. But she had to go back......and I ended up being transferred to a different department.

The months flew by, and we were both looking forward to the summer, having made plans to be together again, and enjoying each others company. The beach was included in many of those happy plans.

After a long day at work I was coming up the sidewalk, arriving at home and upon seeing the newspaper still lying on the front porch, I bent over to pick it up, thinking it was a bit odd that it was still sitting outside.

As I bent over, my eyes caught the headline, and I was shocked to see that the Ohio National Guard had shot and killed/wounded students on the campus of Kent State. That's odd I thought. That is where my Allison is..... And as my eyes frantically scanned the rest of the page, I saw her picture.

My life changed at that moment. Her life was finished. Extinguished for no reason. And that fact changed the way I thought about everything.

For me, it was the real beginning of the end of any hopes of a structured, educated effort to build a suburban life. All normal behavior went out the proverbial window. I was now a dissenter. I was a protester. I was anti-establishment. I felt sorry for the Vets who had been sent to Vietnam. Somehow, I escaped that fate, through the lottery. But I was not a hater of them. I lost friends and classmates over there. I knew some of what they went through.

I was close to this mindset even before they killed Allison Krause.
But when they did that.....They pushed me over the edge.
I am now 58, and still think of her often, and see her in my dreams sometimes.
The years have gone by......and I sit in my Lazyboy, watch the news, and I have to wonder..... why no one cares. Including myself. I will have some 'splainin' to do.

Sorry Allison. Sorry I have let you down.


At 8/12/2008 05:21:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Keep pushing. Keep fighting. We will not change the age-old system, but we will find other anarchists along the way, and also make the self-righteous pigs suffer for their idiocy as we go.

At 8/23/2008 07:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the world will never forget Kent state and that vile little man called nixon."Ohio" is perhaps the most powerful song to come out of the rock era .this shameful period of our history should never be forgotten and "Ohio" should be played everyday to remind us of those who died only because they exercised their rights.

liberal hillbilly

At 8/26/2008 09:07:00 PM, Blogger Ganda01 said...

Yeah - Niel Young, and the words to that song. The murdered people need to hear the lyrics, and the killers need to sit and cry for the dead. The track has just begun for me now...

At 9/11/2008 03:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recall hearing about this as a teenager in 1970. My first thought was,"it's started. Now it's going to be a war between us and them. A new revolution." One could hardly avoid comparing the Kent State massacre with the Boston Massacre. It was a double tragedy that these National Guardsmen were, like the soldiers at the Boston Massacre, found generally not guilty. It still angers and saddens me to think about it.

At 9/15/2008 11:28:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

CSN+Y are real people not just rock stars,they stood up to a government that had control unimaginable to kids today.
They voiced the opinion of real people back then and they are doing the same today concerning Iraq.
God bless CSN+Y they stand for everything that is real and relevant.
I am from the UK and I want our British boys and girls out of Iraq the same as most of the US want their boys and girls out.
Fuck Bush,Fuck the war!!

Keep the faith brothers and sisters worldwide,there is a better way.

Steve Laker Cuckfield,West Sussex,United Kingdom.

At 9/16/2008 12:21:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep! Keep burning buildings and causing mayhem and the government will get the message. As for the comparisons between Kent State and the Boston Massacre, you're right. Both were results of mobs refusing to listen to law enforcement orders to disperse for the public safety.

At 9/16/2008 04:35:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the idiot who wrote this:

"Yep! Keep burning buildings and causing mayhem and the government will get the message. As for the comparisons between Kent State and the Boston Massacre, you're right. Both were results of mobs refusing to listen to law enforcement orders to disperse for the public safety."

Go to Hell with your worship of your government, pig.

At 9/16/2008 07:23:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever your religion,colour or creed,you have a choice and a point of view.If you are true to yourself you will always win and die with a clean slate.
Faith is about truth and not what place you choose to worship in.
Stay true to yourself and be a part of change and progression,don't just say so because your favourite band says so.
Wearing a t-shirt wont change the world,jumping on bandwagons is for losers.
If you mean it say so and spread the word,you don't have to be neil young in order to have an opinion.
Do what you can if you believe,spread the word,spread the love.

Steve Laker,Cuckfield,West Sussex,United Kingdom.

At 9/16/2008 11:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To the anarchist who wrote this:

"Go to Hell with your worship of your government, pig."

Go burn a building in the name of peace, you Charles Manson-like idiot. You guys obviously didn't learn anything from MLK or Gandhi.

At 9/17/2008 05:23:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At least now we know who YOU'RE afraid of. Hahahahaha! A little skinny man sweeping a church...

At 11/11/2008 07:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's truly a shame that some people posting here feel a need to incite others to still more anger and vitriol. It's true that there are two sides to every story, but it could also be said that there's a time to be non-provocative.

In any event, as profound a reach as the song has had, and as tragic an event as the shootings at Kent State were, musically I believe "Ohio" to be an average song. I admit I am unaware of any hidden intentions that may have been advanced by Young (the repetitive nature of the rhythm intended to mimic the advancing march of the soldiers?; the lugubrious and stark lyrics reflecting the helplessness of young people at the time?; etc.), but I think the function of the piece is more effective when considered in the realm of an anthem -- in other words, not necessarily the greatest song ever written, but nevertheless a heartfelt and "in the moment" statement of visceral feelings and antipathy given voice. When listened to in this context, and when considered with an honest understanding of that year in American history, the song achieves its gravitas as an antiestablishment anthemic protest.

My personal preference for a song honoring the incident at Kent State and those who died and were injured there -- as well as an overarching indictment of the generally bungled American policy in Viet Nam -- is the searing chart, "The Battle", written by Steve Katz. It was the "B" side of Blood, Sweat & Tears' single "Hi-De-Ho", and the lyrics, when viewed with all their historical references intact, are incisive and brutally condemning of imperialism gone awry -- both away and at home. It is definitely NOT typical BS&T material, but it does illustrate their musical range at the time and displays its subtlety in all manner of ways. For instance, as an honorific to the four students who died that day, the listener can hear a series of four reverberated drum strikes at the conclusion of the second verse, immediately after the line "But the day is never done".

"The Battle" was written by Katz as a direct response to Kent State, much as was Young's "Ohio". BS&T also performed a benefit concert in November of that year with all proceeds going to Operation Challenge. I've no doubt other groups performed similar concerts for similar reasons during that period.

I mention "The Battle" in the interest of sharing another piece of music by a very popular group that was written in response to the Kent State shootings. Also, I -- and perhaps others -- would be interested in hearing of any other such compositions that were written about this subject. If any of you are aware of some, or if you were old enough to remember other musical contributions from the period about the shootings, please share.

In closing, whether or not one is a fan of the musical aspects of "Ohio" or Young's music in general is irrelevant. What matters is that, as Americans, we should endeavor to never allow something so tragic to happen again.


At 11/15/2008 04:40:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The time to be non-provocative is _not_ now, Todd G. Your letter is touching, and carries valid points. But there is a terror out there calling itself righteous which is actually intent on bring fascism to the entire world in the name of law and order, and if _true_ patriots do not stand up against that hellish mindset, who will? We cannot stand by and countenance such satanic ignorance.

Let me ask you, reader. What are you afraid of? Would you rather live a life of quiet desperation, or die defending freedom from cowardly oppressors who carry guns to enforce their worldviews? This is yet another call to anarchy--the only system ever inspired to us by spirits of holiness and freedom.

I was raised by people who lived by one law: -Do as you like, as long as you are hurting no one else-. And that includes hurting others with your words because, as we all know, especially with the advent of quantum physics, sticks and stones indeed break our bones, but words cause us to believe we are powerless and worthless when, in fact, we are nothing other than co-creators with God.

At 11/22/2008 09:48:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the true measure of a song is it's playability long after it was written... great job ... neil

At 11/24/2008 06:02:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This happened about the time when I as a 17 year old and just out of high school joined the US Marines. It was sad and still is. These martyr's should never be forgatten. I am curious, as to why my 10 year daughter wanted to know about this song? She is in the Library doing this research. I have been faced with a painful reality and It is sad that times have not changed much since then.

Let's get out of IRAQ!!!

At 3/17/2009 11:44:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My 16 year old daughter just interviewed me concerning my feelings about the Vietnam War, since I was in high school and college during those years. After about the 15th question, all I could think about was 'Ohio' The interview has been over for about two hours and I am haunted by my memories...Neil Young's lyrics, the confusion, frustration, profound sadness that rocked our times. I am struck with how much and how little our country has changed. I still love Neil Young, am still confused, frustrated and profoundly sad about the state of our world.

At 4/15/2009 02:54:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain the line "Should have been done long ago"?

At 5/30/2009 09:01:00 PM, Anonymous BackHome said...

I was only 12 at the time of the May 4th (Kent State) masacre. However the effect that day and many like it have had has haunted me for a lifetime. My brother and a man I didn't even know at that time (my husband now!). Were both headed to viet-nam. Neil Young and David Crosby said what we had no words to explain. Horror that we did not feel safe around our own government, and confusion as to why these people Allison, Jeffery, William, and Sandra were killed just for expressing their opinion. I still hear that song (Ohio) playing in my head alot and still cannot understand the ongoing and never answered question. WHY! WHY!

At 6/19/2009 03:58:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The four weren't "killed just for expressing their opinion". Jeffery was the only one that had attacked the national guard, the others were innocent bystanders and William was even an ROTC student. The crowd had assaulted the firemen trying to put out the fires and then assaulted the police, which brought in the national guard. And it was Kennedy & Johnson's war, not Nixon's. Despite his problems, Nixon had drawn out 100 thousand troops by then. It was all a sad accident brought on by high tensions over a stupid war. I was 14 and lived near Kent.

At 6/19/2009 04:10:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

To 'Anonymous' who began "The four weren't "killed just for expressing their opinion..."

Listen, man. We know the history. We were there too. For you to think you can re-write it, whether you were 14 or 40, means nothing. You obviously have no respect for the martyrs who were slain by American imperialism. I recommend you take your rehash to a blog where people actually care about your pro-government views.

At 6/19/2009 05:15:00 PM, Anonymous Brad Harris said...

To Skadi:

You said the previous poster had "pro-government views." What are you? An anarchist? Do you not believe in law and order. You can say these people were expressing freedom of speech, but with freedoms comes responsibilty, such as following laws. How about YOU tell the complete story. Many of these "innocent" people protesting had been rioting and commiting mayhem the previous three days before the National Guard had been called out. Store-fronts had been destroyed. Cars had been tipped over and/or set on fire. The stinking ROTC building was set ablaze. You think that's freedom of speech!!! THEY were breaking the law. What about the rights of those people who had their property destroyed (including Kent State, which is owned by the tax payers). What you want is the right to destroy if the government doesn't do or make laws you agree with. That, my friend, is anarchy. Martial law was in place at the time. If these students had followed the law, they would NOT have ended up dead. -- Brad Harris

At 6/19/2009 05:29:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

To Brad Harris:

Wow, you right-wing lunatic fringe freaks keep coming! Can't you ever just shut up for one minute and listen to how you sound? It is so obvious that either you don't know your history, or don't care. Likely the latter.

At 6/19/2009 05:46:00 PM, Anonymous Brad Harris said...

You're right. I should shut up. Maybe you should just shoot me for expressing MY freedom of speech you hypocrite. As for knowing history, I teach AP United States History to high school juniors and teach both sides of things. I tell my students BOTH sides and let them make up their own minds. Right-wing? If that means protecting law and order, then mark me as right-wing as there is. You want right-wing, how 'bout looking at Iraq and seeing how right-wing they are. You're not only an anarchist, Skadi, you're an hypocritical idiot.

At 6/19/2009 06:02:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

To those reading Brad Harris' reply:

Case in point.

At 6/21/2009 10:28:00 AM, Blogger jaymills said...

Young band Zegota has been covering Ohio for quite some time ...

-- Jamie in Louisville

At 6/21/2009 11:18:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Excellent, Jamie.

No one has forgotten.

Thank you.

At 7/08/2009 11:56:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was a draft resister, living in England at the time of the shooting. Immediately after I read the news story, I wrote the lyrics to "The Kent State Massacre" to the tune of "The Death of Harry Sims," a 1930s song about a coal fields union organizer. Barbara Dane sings it on her 1973 album "I hate the Capitalist System." We still remember. Jack Warshaw

At 7/08/2009 12:20:00 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Thank you, Jack.

At 7/08/2009 12:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

At 7/11/2009 01:14:00 AM, Anonymous said...

Want to know the events leading up to the shootings? From

Friday, May 1
At Kent State University, a demonstration with about 500 students was held on May 1 on the Commons (a grassy knoll in the center of campus traditionally used as a gathering place for rallies or protests). As the crowd dispersed to attend classes by 1 p.m. another rally was planned for May 4 to continue the protest of President Nixon's expansion of the Vietnam war into Cambodia. There was widespread anger, and many protesters issued a call to "bring the war home." As a symbolic protest to Nixon's decision to send troops, a group of students watched a graduate student burying a copy of the U.S. Constitution while another student burned his draft card.

Trouble exploded in town around midnight when people left a bar and began throwing beer bottles at cars and breaking downtown store fronts. In the process they broke a bank window which set off an alarm. The news spread quickly and it resulted in several bars closing early to avoid trouble. Before long more people had joined the vandalism and looting.

By the time police arrived, a crowd of about 100 had already gathered. Some people from the crowd had already lit a small bonfire in the street. The crowd appeared to be a mix of bikers, students, and out-of town youths who regularly came to Kent's bars. A few members of the crowd began to throw beer bottles at the police, and then started yelling obscenities at them. The disturbance lasted for about an hour before the police restored order. By that time most of the bars were closed in the downtown area of Kent.

At 7/11/2009 01:34:00 AM, Blogger BDH911 said...

Want to know the events leading up to the shootings? (continued)

Saturday, May 2
Kent's Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a state of emergency on May 2 and, later that afternoon, asked Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes to send the National Guard to Kent to help maintain order.

When the National Guard arrived in town that evening (at around 10 P.M.), a large demonstration was already under way on the campus, and the campus Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) building was burning. The arsonists were never apprehended and no one was injured in the fire. More than a thousand protesters surrounded the building and cheered the building's burning. While attempting to extinguish the fire, several Kent firemen and police officers were hit with rocks and other objects by those standing near the fire. More than one fire engine company had to be called in because protesters carried the fire hose into the Commons and slashed it. The National Guard made many arrests, tear gas was used, and at least one student was wounded with a bayonet.

Sunday, May 3
During a press conference, Governor Rhodes called the protesters un-American and referred to the protesters as revolutionaries set on destroying higher education in Ohio. "They're worse than the brown shirts and the communist element and also the night riders and the vigilantes," Rhodes said. "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."

Rhodes also claimed he would obtain a court order declaring a state of emergency, banning further demonstrations, and gave the impression that a situation akin to martial law had been declared; however he never attempted to obtain such an order.

During the day some students came into downtown Kent to help with cleanup efforts after the rioting, which met with mixed reactions from local businessmen. Mayor Satrom, under pressure from frightened citizens, ordered a curfew until further notice.

Around 8:00 p.m., another rally was held on the campus Commons. By 8:45 p.m. the Guard used tear gas to disperse the crowd, and the students reassembled at the intersection of Lincoln and Main Streets, holding a sit-in in the hopes of gaining a meeting with Mayor Satrom and President White. At 11:00 p.m., the Guard announced that a curfew had gone into effect and began forcing the students back to their dorms. Ten Guardsmen were injured and a few students were bayoneted by Guardsmen.

At 7/11/2009 11:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your point is what, Instructor Harris? You are among anarchists here who care about freedom, not control.

At 7/20/2009 12:22:00 PM, Blogger BDH911 said...

My point? That protesters had been rioting and committing mayhem (a felony) that led to the use of the National Guard. The students put themselves in harms way by ignoring the curfew that was in effect.

At 7/20/2009 01:19:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And _our_ point is this: The system that _harmed_ these children is at fault. They were protesting the slaughter of others in Vietnam and Cambodia. It may be true that the age-old system cannot be railed against with any lasting results, but the fact of the matter is that, in this instance, four sweet young lives were taken unnecessarily at the hands of criminal-minded men wielding guns... criminal-minded men like _you_ Harris. You should be so ashamed of yourself for continuing the dominant paradigm through your half truths and outright lies concerning what the _people_ want as opposed to what the monied lunatic fringe wants and takes because they _can_ take it--and use military force when they are opposed. There are indeed upstanding historians like Howard Zinn. Too bad you haven't yet learned to join their ranks and actually make a difference in the lives of your students instead of "giving them both sides." You know as well as we do that no instructor is unbiased. You can't be. It is impossible to be, and your students look up to you. You are disgusting. We'll see you in Hell, Harris.

At 7/31/2009 10:40:00 AM, Anonymous Juergen said...

To BDH911:
I assume you also support the Iranian regime, shooting, beating arresting and torturing the opposition?
[sarcasm] Go you good democrat! Always standing up for democracy![end sarcasm]

At 9/26/2009 06:50:00 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

May 4th 2010 will mark forty years of time since that day. I should be over it by now but it hurts every time I see the pictures. Since then I saw a young man in Beijing stand before and stop four tanks while their commanders frantically called for instructions on what to do next. These pictures sit side by side in my mind.

At 11/19/2009 07:57:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio.....I had to travel there recently. What was my first thought....not that Ohio is the land of farming, slot machines, and antiques. Or that Akron was once the rubber capital of the world.....noooooooo. I had this song stuck in my head. As I drove and crossed over the border from PA, it stuck in my mind. So peoplewill think of the song, even people not from this country. So that is Ohio's legacy, like it or not. R.

At 1/14/2010 02:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The right to protest should never be taken away. This was a tragic accident that should never be forgotten. Learn from mistakes.

At 3/08/2010 09:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

okay, one of my own family members was there at the time of the shootings and he said that the ROTC buildings were old and needed to be burned down anyway. they even knew Sandy and was friends with her. those kids didn't deserve to die, many of them being innocent bystanders. and really, who hasn't been taunted or had something thrown at them? they were denied the CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHT to free speech. the guard should not have fired into the crowd. the students did not hurt anyone, just some egos.the best source of information on this topic comes from the people that were there.


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