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May 4, 1970 ~ a major turning point in US history

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CitizenKain

Diamond Member
Jul 6, 2000
4,480
14
76
Are you kidding me? Sacred sanctuary my ass. When students are taking over buildings and destroying university and private citizens property they have pretty much destroyed any notion of sacred sanctuary along with their right to "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". What happened at Kent State was unfortunate but inevitable when you place National Guardsmen untrained in domestic policing in a situation where people are throwing rocks and bottles at them.
Or they were a bunch of dipshit guardsmen who had parents that got them out of Vietnam and they wanted to shoot a hippy. Pretty typical coward soldiers.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
126
Are you kidding me? Sacred sanctuary my ass. When students are taking over buildings and destroying university and private citizens property they have pretty much destroyed any notion of sacred sanctuary along with their right to "peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances". What happened at Kent State was unfortunate but inevitable when you place National Guardsmen untrained in domestic policing in a situation where people are throwing rocks and bottles at them.
My position is always that people who throw rocks, bottles, and other hard and/or dangerous objects at men with guns have entered a gunfight without sufficient intelligence and preparation, and therefore typically deserve whatever they get. However - if I remember this correctly, the Guardsmen that fired were not under assault at the time. That makes things kind of different. My sympathies too lie with the Guardsmen rather than the protesters, but I think the Guardsmen were more in the wrong, to use deadly force when not being directly assaulted. Sometimes "my" side is the one in the wrong.
 
Jun 19, 2004
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The thoughts being expressed were close to what many were feeling then but, there was one big difference. We now have perspective and less emotion. At the time, here and abroad, it was literally 'the end of the world as we know it.'

Dear Lord, I've got to go kill something small and furry because I'm agreeing with several things MoonBeam has said.
 

Linflas

Lifer
Jan 30, 2001
15,388
75
91
Or they were a bunch of dipshit guardsmen who had parents that got them out of Vietnam and they wanted to shoot a hippy. Pretty typical coward soldiers.
As opposed to spoiled upper middle class kids avoiding Vietnam with their education deferments while their parents sent them to college?

My position is always that people who throw rocks, bottles, and other hard and/or dangerous objects at men with guns have entered a gunfight without sufficient intelligence and preparation, and therefore typically deserve whatever they get. However - if I remember this correctly, the Guardsmen that fired were not under assault at the time. That makes things kind of different. My sympathies too lie with the Guardsmen rather than the protesters, but I think the Guardsmen were more in the wrong, to use deadly force when not being directly assaulted. Sometimes "my" side is the one in the wrong.
There is a nice concise writeup of the events here which basically says they had advanced until they were dead-ended in a practice football field where they where subjected to yelling and rock throwing. They then retraced their steps back from the football field and at the top of a hill turned and fired. From my understanding the students were at least 100 yards from them at that point. As I said in my initial post it was unfortunate that soldiers untrained in civilian policing were put in that position in the first place since, as another poster pointed out, they were around the same age as the college kids they were facing and probably with about the same amount of experience and lack of common sense..
 
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werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
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As opposed to spoiled upper middle class kids avoiding Vietnam with their education deferments while their parents sent them to college?



There is a nice concise writeup of the events here which basically says they had advanced until they were dead-ended in a practice football field where they where subjected to yelling and rock throwing. They then retraced their steps back from the football field and at the top of a hill turned and fired. From my understanding the students were at least 100 yards from them at that point. As I said in my initial post it was unfortunate that soldiers untrained in civilian policing were put in that position in the first place since, as another poster pointed out, they were around the same age as the college kids they were facing and probably with about the same amount of experience and lack of common sense..
Agree totally. I have no problem with shooting people who are throwing rocks at you, but shooting those who threw rocks at you a few minutes ago is beyond the pale. A more disciplined and/or better trained military unit would have had the forbearance to hold fire.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
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Am I the only one who thinks that the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song about the event is probably the main reason it remembered today?

Without that song I bet Kent State would have been just another foot note at the end of the most confusing decade in modern American history.
 

ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
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Yes, and until May 4th, protesters were safe from harm. The sacred sanctuary of a college campus was violently violated forever on that day.
Really??

What about August 1, 1966 when a gun man killed 14 people at the University of Texas??
 

HappyPuppy

Lifer
Apr 5, 2001
16,997
1
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I have to hold back my guffaws and only chuckle at you little tit suckers who think you can read bits and bites of news from the past and pass judgment on those who were there.
 

preCRT

Platinum Member
Apr 12, 2000
2,340
123
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Really??

What about August 1, 1966 when a gun man killed 14 people at the University of Texas??
I meant safe from 'official' terror.

There had been protests at other campuses, other schools taken over. No other governor was insane enough to order out the guard, they let campus police handle things.
 

AreaCode707

Lifer
Sep 21, 2001
18,425
45
91
How appropriate is the title of the subsequent article in that link:
Jackson State: A Tragedy Widely Forgotten


It hasn't even merited a mention in this thread, although it occurred only a few days after Kent State. I'm not usually one to call racism but I bet at the time it was underreported due to the college at which it took place, and it had less impact than Kent State for that reason... and so we give it less regard today.
 

Moonbeam

Elite Member
Nov 24, 1999
67,499
4,169
126
Am I the only one who thinks that the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song about the event is probably the main reason it remembered today?

Without that song I bet Kent State would have been just another foot note at the end of the most confusing decade in modern American history.
Everybody knows about Kent State; nobody remembers that song.
 

pcgeek11

Lifer
Jun 12, 2005
18,368
2,228
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Well the Students were not totally innocent babes either. They had Rioted a few days before the shooting and had burned the old ROTC Building to the ground, breaking downtown windows and all sorts of other destruction. There were numerous clashes through the weekend between the guard and students that involved physical violence on Both sides.

The National Guard was not called in by the Feds at any rate so any blame for the guard should fall on the Gov of Ohio who activated them to disrupt the Student Riots. The National Guard works for the Gov. of the state Not the Federal Gov unless they are called to service.

Good read about the real facts here: http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/index.php?title=Kent_State_Shooting
 
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theflyingpig

Banned
Mar 9, 2008
5,616
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lol. I love it when fools call Kent State a "tragedy". It wasn't. Here's what really happened: A bunch of fools decided to confront men with guns, and some of them got killed. It's just that simple. When you see a man with a gun, you keep your distance and mind yourself, unless you want to get shot. These fools at Kent State ignored that simple rule and died. It wasn't a tragedy, it was plain old stupidity. Everyone knows this.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
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As is usually the case, things may have been 'crazy' then but it didn't seem that way the same way it might be viewed now - just as things are crazy now and many don't know it.

What was going on in part was that one paradigm about democracy and authority was being tested - the idea of 'the people' ruling and being free ran into 'law and order'.

It's a little like when the country slid into McCarthyism - and then, watching innocent good people caught up in the paranoia, had a backlash against it.

Or a little like in the 80's when the threat of nuclear created a backlash against unlimited arsenals and the permanent danger of their use.

JFK being assassinated was a 'loss of innocence' in a way too - the first president assassinated since McKinley and in the modern age - but not only that, our youngest who seemed so much to represent the development of the US in the post-WWII era as the world's leader pursuing liberty and democracy and the economic benefit and social justice for the world's masses much less our own, it seemed - followed by the dark days of Vietnam and the exposure of things like US-backed dictatorships and terrorism.

The CIA less James Bond and more 'our KGB'. The era of J. Edgar Hoover, the symbol of law enforcement integrity for decades, compromised by the Mafia and going after the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cointelpro and the Pentagon Papers and the revelation of the President lying and criminal with Nixon.

Students cared and prootested and could become radical in the face of powerful government forces who seemed ot be doing all kinds of wrongs, and the had the spirit of democracy that what the government did was their responsibility and they would fight against wrongs - at its best, while some was more just a 'popular' or 'social' movement, a cause with great music.

It had bizarre moments, like Nixon secretly leaving the White House in the early morning hours to try to talk with hippie protestors at the park he just didn't understand.

Didn't they understand he was for the good of the country? Didn't he understand the immoral violence he was committing against innocent farmers in the name of big military?

Kent State was unimportant in that it was some nameless local national guardsmen who, young and tense, seem to have had a bad leader who made a bad call, and it had nothing directly to do with the larger national issues - and it was important in showing the country the craziness where it had its youg protesting people at odds with the national guard where they could be killed not by some USSR agents or 'lone nuts' but in the cultural conflicts going on.

It was a little like the race riots just before as well, that awoke the nation to the injustices further - didn't we just pass the civil rights bill for them, what's the problem?

IMO, our nation still has nt come to grips with things like what it did in Vietnam - oh, *we* killed millions in a war that cost our nation in honor and lives and wealth - let's ignore it.

It's little wonder the nation preferred the escapist entertainment of families of monsters and witches and genies.

But the period was a turning point of sorts - not entirely a good one - in which the people seemed to lose some blind trust, but instead of replacing it with improvements, somewhat turned to cynicism, to excusing the wrongs rather than preventing them - but a mix, so that some of what the US did seems to have become politically horrible for the time being.

We may have backed a coup against Chavez, but we did not send in the US military and invade and install the next Pinochet/Shah/Batista/Somoza/Marcos in power.

People who have grown up later would have a hard time appreciating the evolution for the public, and are on to their new errors (hello, tea party and libertarians, for one).

Kent State was a shock, violating the idea of the US as the world's utopia safe from the unstable problems the rest of the world had. Our forces killing our civilians.

The Vietnam war led to both the harm to the nation of it being split apart by passionately opposed sides - and to its benefit by the idea of democracy challenging militarism.

Unfortunately, democracy was not a clear winner in that battle. As usual for all nations, national amnesia was the choice, not improving the system. 'It's over' was the main thing.

Teddy Roosevelt once said what our nation needs is a war, good for building spirit. That's a problem that has not yet been solved.

Vietnam was a coolant to our use of our massive, massive military power until, like a recovering alchohollic who forgets the harm, the 'we should not be a prisoner to Vietnam preventing us from using our force' became stronger than the warning, in our desire to 'get back on track' with the war to invade Iraq, violating our long-held principles against aggressive wars, corrupting our institutions to do it (Colin Powell to his later shame laying out a false case for the war pushed by the hawks).

Some in this thread indicated, 'what's the big deal about a few people out of our millions'.

They don't realize it, but they are a warning. It's always the case when things go wrong.

That's why our nation has at its political core the notion of indiviual rights, that one person punished for political views, jailed or killed, is a problem for the nation, because if it's no big deal for a few, it'll be no big deal for many soon. We always have the battle between those who understand that and those who don't care as long as it's people they disagree with being harmed.

This is why you really see any such wrong have apologists - because the apologists need some excuse to say 'it's no big deal' rather than admit they have a national issue.

Unwittingly, their burying the issue helps more wrongs happen for them to again excuse.

Just as the Joe McCarthy type movement was brought under better control when Edward Murrow exposed his errors somewhat, perhaps Kent State helped slow the use of force for addressing the national unrest, the democracy - right or wrong - of people protesting and seeming a 'threat to the man'. Some went further - left-wing underground movements appeared, some of which were violent. The conflict could have gotten more and more violent.

As one side kills the other, 'revenge' is needed and more violence justified. A cop killing could happen as 'revenge' for Kent State, and a cop could take revenge for that.

Luckily today we don't see this sort of conflict - but our democracy doesn't seem all that strong either, as the people rarely seem to lead the policies. To that extent the tea party is 'healthy', but they are just misguided on the issues. Where are the movements for world social and economic justice? Not strong enough.

Democracy is dishonored by our not having the good of the human race leading it enough, filled instead with petty corruption as the nation declines, in ways.

But again, there was good to the change, things are much better in ways too.

Unfortunately, while democracy served to stop some wrongs, an unlearned lesson is that it's not strong enough, it seems, to stop many.

Our democracy has been chipped away, as the media who were its voice have been consolidated and compromised, corrupt interests entrenched with tens of thousands of lobbyists, many former politicians and staff who are seduced by the big money now for the first time in our history unleashed on the elections.

We should have a constitutional amendment to say corporations are not persons, but the people do not unite for passing it.

Kent State was the people doing a bit more. You don't need to shoot the people who are not taking action.
 

Craig234

Lifer
May 1, 2006
38,548
345
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Am I the only one who thinks that the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song about the event is probably the main reason it remembered today?

Without that song I bet Kent State would have been just another foot note at the end of the most confusing decade in modern American history.
The funny thing is, ProfJohn views this as something bad about the song, instead of the good thing it is, the power of the music to help democracy.

The people can be an aimless herd doing nothing, but give them a cause, a good speech, a good slogan, a good song, and the might unite for a cause.

That can be good or bad. But it is part of democracy. And since there are well-organized movements behind such things as banal and sometimes as evil as things like 'corporate interests', it can be useful for the people to get something like a song on 'the other side' on the issues. Kent State was not the only place there was unrest and conflict. It was an incident - like the John Brown violence - that was the tip of the iceberg over tensions. If it weren't, the people wouldn't have been much interested in the song.

The decade is 'confusing' to him, not the helpful evolution of the nation it was as ignorance was reduced, the people challenged some corruption and violence that help things today.

It's funny how unclear these changes are to people. Even as the US revolutionary war was starting, as many opposed it as favored it, despite the near universal support later for the ideals it empowered - even though that itself hadmore to do with economic interests than the principles of liberty. PJ doesn't understand the notion of the problems the 60's exposed; he seems to have more a 'Leave it toi Beaver' version leaving him hating the change.

And yet our government is in ways far better from the change - just as it was when Adams' imprisonment of his critics was overthrown and prohibited.

But democracy is rarely better than the people, unfortunately and weak movements like the Libertarians and Republicans and entrenched corruption are dragging the country down.

They have especially since Reagan, and while the Democrats have power and have reduced the harms, they have not done nearly enough.

PJ would seem to like the unjustified killing of left-wing protestors to be forgotten. He's not a friend of the country's interests IMO, but an unwitting enemy of our values.
 

NesuD

Diamond Member
Oct 9, 1999
4,999
106
106
Unless you were living in those years and old enough to recognize the insanity of the times, you won't believe me when I tell you the entire country was crazy and, I don't mean in a good way.
This^

I was 10 yrs old when that happened. The whole country was nuts. Young people totally out of control, Government incapable of either letting our military win in Vietnam or pulling out of Vietnam. No one capable of finding a common ground. Older generation totally intolerant of the younger generation, Younger generation to immature to compromise on anything. For both sides it was their way or no way. It's a wonder there weren't more Kent State's. It was a time of total selfishness on both sides. Just a matter of time before some scared to death weekend soldier jumped the gun. As a kid I didn't really understand any of it. As an adult I understand to well that we were a country of selfish fools back then. People think that it was some great time of enlightenment but it wasn't. It was punks throwing temper tantrums over not getting their way on everything and older people refusing to listen to anything that didn't agree with their view.
 

nobodyknows

Diamond Member
Sep 28, 2008
5,474
0
0
Really??

What about August 1, 1966 when a gun man killed 14 people at the University of Texas??
I remember that too. It was so hard to try to empathize with someone who would shoot innocent random strangers. That was such a..... foreign?? concept to me at the time. But now I realize that everyone is the enemy. Every lie is like an arrow flying through the dark until it hurts someone. That poor bastard just got hit by so many of those arrows he flipped out.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/04/16/national/main2689785.shtml
 
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ProfJohn

Lifer
Jul 28, 2006
18,251
5
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The funny thing is, ProfJohn views this as something bad about the song, instead of the good thing it is, the power of the music to help democracy.
Where did I say anything bad about the song??

It is a brilliant song, even if it is in accurate in trying to place blame on Nixon.

My main point is that it is the song that keeps this moment alive in the American sub conscious. There were a TON of objectionable things occurring in the 1960s but few of them are remembered like the Kent State shooting.
 

werepossum

Elite Member
Jul 10, 2006
29,873
462
126
Well the Students were not totally innocent babes either. They had Rioted a few days before the shooting and had burned the old ROTC Building to the ground, breaking downtown windows and all sorts of other destruction. There were numerous clashes through the weekend between the guard and students that involved physical violence on Both sides.

The National Guard was not called in by the Feds at any rate so any blame for the guard should fall on the Gov of Ohio who activated them to disrupt the Student Riots. The National Guard works for the Gov. of the state Not the Federal Gov unless they are called to service.

Good read about the real facts here: http://www.famouspictures.org/mag/index.php?title=Kent_State_Shooting
I had forgotten that too. I do remember thinking that the protesters had gotten what they deserved - not because of their opposition to the war, but because of their violent behavior, looting and burning and throwing rocks and other things at cops and Guardsmen. But I had forgotten (assuming I once knew) that they specifically torched the ROTC building.

ProfJohn, I remember Kent State and I can't recall ANY CSN&Y song. I was into the Dead and the Stones and the Ramones and Charlie Daniels (and some stuff like Devo and David Bowie) and avoided CSN&Y like the plague they still are, but it's difficult to forget Kent State simply because for me that period was my first encounter with the violent left - albeit through my television screen, not many war protesters in rural Tennessee!
 

Red Dawn

Elite Member
Jun 4, 2001
57,530
3
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I had forgotten that too. I do remember thinking that the protesters had gotten what they deserved - not because of their opposition to the war, but because of their violent behavior, looting and burning and throwing rocks and other things at cops and Guardsmen. But I had forgotten (assuming I once knew) that they specifically torched the ROTC building.

ProfJohn, I remember Kent State and I can't recall ANY CSN&Y song. I was into the Dead and the Stones and the Ramones and Charlie Daniels (and some stuff like Devo and David Bowie) and avoided CSN&Y like the plague they still are, but it's difficult to forget Kent State simply because for me that period was my first encounter with the violent left - albeit through my television screen, not many war protesters in rural Tennessee!
No just a bunch of incestuous Rednecks.
 

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