Thursday, May 04, 2006

List, IV: Remember Kent State, May 4, 1970

1. Three days after the Kent State killings, California Governor Ronald Reagan said: "If it takes a bloodbath, let's get it over with."

2. The demonstration was over when the National Guard fired. They shot into a crowd that was walking away.

3. Sergeant Lawrence Shafer, the National Guardsman who fired into Joseph Lewis's abdomen, testified in court that he shot at Lewis because he was giving him the finger. More than 15 feet of Lewis's intestines were removed in the surgery that saved his life.

4. The Guard fired on the dispersing crowd at lunchtime.

5. Only 2 of the students killed had been involved in the demonstration: Allison Krause (shot in the left side of her body as she was ducking behind a car in the parking lot) and Jeffrey Miller (shot in the mouth).

6. William Schroeder, an ROTC member who had been watching the demonstration, was killed by a bullet that struck him as he hit the ground. Sandra Scheuer was killed by a bullet that cut through her jugular vein. She was on her way to drop off a paper for a Speech class.

7. Immediately after the killings, a group of roughly 300 students gathered, shocked, on the Commons and staged an impromptu sit-in. The National Guard threatened to attack them. Geology professor Glenn Frank pleaded with the students to leave: "I am begging you right now, if you don't disperse right now, they're going to move in. It will only be a slaughter. Please, listen to me. Jesus Christ, I don't want to be part of this. Listen to me."

8. President Nixon's Scranton Commission concluded: "The indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable."

9. After the shooting, a National Guardsman attempted to plant a pistol on Jeffrey Miller's dead body.

10. In criminal court, students' attorney Joseph Kelner asked Ohio National Guard Sergeant Leon Smith to put on the helmet and gas mask he was wearing May 4. While Smith was still on the witness stand, Kellner then threw a rock that hit Smith on his helmeted head. (Students throwing rocks were cited by the Guard as reason they feared for their lives.) Smith's helmet was so effective that he did not flinch when the rock hit him. "What happened to the helmet when I struck you just now with the stone?" Kelner asked in court. Smith replied: "You just made a sound."

11. The FBI's investigation concluded: "we have some reason to believe that the claim by the National Guard that their lives were endangered by the students was fabricated subsequent to the event."

12. According to the FBI report, a Guardsman "admitted that his life was not in danger and that he fired indiscriminantly into the crowd. He further stated that the Guardsmen had gotten together after the shooting and decided to fabricate the story that they were in danger of serious bodily harm or death from the students."

13. One week before the Kent State killings, the Ohio National Guard was sent to Cleveland to quell a wildcat Teamsters strike. According to testimony in the Kent State criminal trial, the Ohio National Guard did not load its rifles during the Teamsters strike -- even though they actually were fired upon by the Teamsters. At Kent State, no one fired a gun on the Guard, yet the Guard shot live M1 rounds into the retreating crowd.

4 Comments:

Blogger Blue Gal said...

Thanks. I was a first grader in Kent Ohio in 1970. I remember that day very clearly, and blogged about it.

Sad thing is the university is cancelling classes from noon to two today in remembrance. The peace rally is at 2, so I guess if you've got a class you're outta luck.

12:39 PM  
Blogger A. said...

Thanks, Shimmy.

1:51 PM  
Blogger No Blood for Hubris said...

Good job.

2:51 PM  
Blogger Vemrion said...

Powerful stuff, Shimmy. Thanks for that write-up. I didn't know a lot of that stuff as I was born in '78. It's extremely disturbing, especially as we're right back in the middle of a pointless war.

12:44 PM  

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