Home / General / May 4, 1970

May 4, 1970


Kent State

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  • herr doktor bimler

    Why does that woman have a stick coming out of her head?

  • Amanda in the South Bay

    I vaguely remember that a teacher at my elementary school when I was little had a (brother, I think???) who was killed at Kent State.

    I’ve come to appreciate the solemnity of the incident more over the years, rather than passing it off as annoying baby boomer nostalgia.

    • Bob

      I am trying to appreciate the solemnity of your post rather than passing it off as annoying baby boomer nostalgia backlash.

  • ptl

    A friend of mine was a student there then and on the Commons that day.

  • nitpicker

    “What if you knew her / And found her dead on the ground / How can you run when you know?”

  • Joel Patterson

    “A Gallup poll found 58% blamed the Kent students for their own deaths.”–Nixonland, p489

    • fluffytuna

      Yes, and there were a couple of friends at the school where I was, and who expressed exactly that. And I have never said a word to any of them ever again. Sick [email protected], some of whom were about to go to Nam and die.

  • zak822

    I remember that day very well. I remember just how many Americans thought it was just fine that the National Guard had opened fire on unarmed students; students who were too far away to pose a threat. They claimed “we were afraid for our lives”. These stalwart heros who were trained to stand up to the Viet Cong and the Soviets, terrorized by students.

    I remember how many Americans said all demonstraters should get similar treatment–shoot them dead.

    I am amazed at how deeply I still feel this. It hurts me in my heart, that so many could be happy over the murders of young people excercising their rights in what is allegedly a democracy.

    On that last great day, they will be judged.

  • Jay B.

    What’s always struck me as weird in that picture is the total lack of people in it. Protests generally have more. No one has a sign. The woman on the left is carrying a plastic bag. And the people who are in it seem entirely unaware/unconcerned about a heavy police/guard presence.

    • Seanly

      Read the wiki on the events. The Guard had largely dispersed the crowd and was marching uphill & away from the parking lot when they wheeled and fired.

    • Bob

      The shootings took place a litte after noon. Only two of the four students killed had participated in the anti-war protests. The other two were between classes and one, William Schroder, was a member of the ROTC.
      Initially, that part of the campus was filled with students. That combination of protesters and high noon class changes/students out and about creating a maximum sized crowd. The small arms fire very quickly dispersed the crowd. By the time the famous photograph was taken minutes had passed. How far can people run in 5 minutes when volleys of M-1 are filling the air?

  • DFH no.6

    I was a freshman in high school living in Cleveland at the time. The Kent State shootings radicalized me, and I went from being a child to a young man almost immediately.

    I began going to anti-war events, and I recall vividly two things about the large demonstration in downtown Cleveland right after the shootings — the Viet Nam Vets against the war leading the gathering, and the counter-protestors chanting “This time four, next time more!”.

    As bad as things can seem now, from my perspective they were significantly worse during the height of the Viet Nam war. IMHO.

    I suggest James Michener’s Kent State (researched and written the summer of ’70) as an excellent primer on the times and the circumstances around this tragic event.

  • Anonymous

    There were a number of shootings of students by police/guardsmen etc during that era. Orangeburg, Jackson State…I think there were some others but I can’t remember offhand. Plus of course things like the deaths at the Algiers Motel during the Detroit riots. And Attica. The country actually seems more sane now than it did then, despite the fallout from Bush and the Obama-hate.

    I guess really we’re just not all that stable, ya know?

    • Shell Goddamnit

      Crap, sorry, I do have a name.

  • Anonymous

    Ack, does this mean we can’t enjoy Star Wars day?

  • Witt

    Shell beat me to it, but I remember learning about the Jackson State shootings in college and wondering why I had never heard of them before (since I had long since known about Kent State). Then I found out that Jackson state was a HBCU and all-American racism seemed like the simplest explanation.

    Wikipedia doesn’t have as much on the shootings as you would think. Two students killed, 12 wounded. Ten days after Kent State.

  • thirteendollabill

    I knew Allison Krause. She lived in my dorm complex at Kent State. I knew her as “Alice.” A year after her death, I ran into a mutual friend who’d been standing by Alice when she was shot. That was the first I knew that Alice was Allison.

    The friend said there’d been no riot, no rock throwing, no violence. A group of young men with rifles marching on top of one of Kent State’s hills opened fire as one one a group of students standing hundred yards away below them.

    Two of the dead were merely passers-by, on their way to or from class. My friend said he and Alison and a few other friends were smoking a joint in the sunshine when the shooting started.

  • Jager

    A few weeks after the shootings I was at a Steppenwolf/Byrds Concert in Indianapolis, we had great seats and during 8 Miles HIgh by the Byrds the girl in the famous Kent State photo suddenly appeared and was dancing in the aisle right next to us. Everyone around us recognized her. Turns out she was a 14 year old runaway that happened to hanging out at KSU…weird.

  • In all the times I’ve seen this photo, I’ve never noticed what her t-shirt said.

    I can’t help but think of Kent State when I read the positive reaction to the tasing of the kid at the Phillies game. This and that are separated by magnitude, not by category.

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