Saturday, May 4, 2013


May 4, 1970.  The battle lasted 13 seconds at Kent State, when Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on unarmed students, wounding nine and killing four.  The photographs shocked a nation.  A few days before, on April 30, with the help of Henry Kissinger, his national security adviser, Nixon had broken his campaign promise and widened the Vietnam war, concealing plans to invade Cambodia from Congress and from Secretary of State William Rogers and Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird—not to mention the American people.  When campuses erupted in anger, Nixon said four days after Kent State: ''I have not been surprised by the intensity of the protests.''  He went on to add that Kent State ''should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence, it invites tragedy.'' Blaming the victim was Nixon’s stock in trade.  He implied the students shot had been violent, throwing rocks at the Guardsmen, and that they were asking for it. Months later, the FBI report confirmed what we had suspected: that the students had posed no threat to the Guard: ''Jeff Miller's body was found 85-90 yards from the Guard. Allison Krause fell about 100 yards away. William Schroeder and Sandy Scheuer were approximately 130 yards away from the Guard when they were shot.... Sandy Scheuer, as best we can determine, was on her way to a speech therapy class. We do not know whether Schroeder participated in any way in the confrontations that day.'' Quotations courtesy of Martin F. Nolan. 

No comments: