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May-02-2010 02:51printcomments

We Kill Our Own: The 40th Anniversary of the Kent State Massacre

This week, we continue to seek the truth of exactly what happened at Kent State.

Kent State Massacre
Photos: Ohio State University and other sources.

(DA NANG, Vietnam) - On May 4, 1970, at Kent State University, in the city of Kent, Ohio, members of the Ohio National Guard fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.

These were unarmed college students who were exercising their constitutional rights to speak their mind, to demonstrate peacefully, and to protest openly against the then recent incursion by US combat forces into Cambodia.

Richard Nixon had been elected President in 1968. He promised to end the Vietnam War. Instead of doing so, he was part of the cover-up of the My Lai massacre and freed Lt. Calley, stating that Calley had “served enough time.” The premeditated murder of over 500 unarmed civilians, many of whom were elderly, women and children was hushed up by our government – the murderer himself freed after serving only 1 day at the Ft. Leavenworth prison and transferred to serve house arrest upon orders given by Nixon.

On December 1st, 1969, the Selective Service of the US held a lottery to determine the order of draft into the Army for the Vietnam War. This was the first draft lottery instituted since World War II.

On Thursday, April 30th, 1970, President Nixon announced the attack into Cambodia using the justification of “a necessary response to North Vietnamese aggression”.

A promise to end the Vietnam War?

A campaign promise that was yet another lie committed by this pathological lying and criminal US President. Just one of many that eventually forced Nixon to resign, the only United States President to do so, after impeachment hearings had commenced in 1974.

On Friday, May 1st, 1970, a peaceful demonstration with about 500 students was held at Kent State. The Cambodian Incursion, the draft lottery, the continued escalation of the Vietnam War – all issues being protested against. The crowd dispersed at 1:00 p.m. to attend classes, but not until another rally was planned for May 4th.

As peaceful, symbolic protests continued, one student burned a copy of the US Constitution. Another burned his draft card.

Rhodes will always be remembered for this

Ohio Governor in 1970 Jim Rhodes

During the evening of May 1st, 1970, trouble occurred around midnight as people left a bar and began throwing beer bottles at cars and broke downtown store fronts in Kent. This crowd was made up of several outsiders and a handful of students – all of whom were indeed angered by the escalation of the war. The police intervened and they restored order.

On Saturday, May 2nd, 1970, the Mayor of Kent declared a state of emergency and asked the Ohio Governor to send the National Guard to Kent to “help maintain order”. The National Guard arrived in town that evening to find a fire had been started by an arsonist at an unoccupied and scheduled to be demolished building.

The National Guard made numerous arrests and used tear gas as a large demonstration occurred at the Kent State campus and near to that same building.

On Sunday, May 3rd, 1970, Ohio Governor Rhodes called the protesters un-American and referred to them 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 can be heard in the recording of his speech yelling and pounding his fists on the desk. These were students exercising their right to protest and to be heard. Vigilantes? More of the paranoia exhibited by our government and its leaders.

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. Kent’s 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 Guardsmen 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 Kent State 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. A few students were bayoneted by Guardsmen.

On Monday, May 4, a protest was scheduled to be held at noon, as had been planned three days earlier. University officials attempted to ban the gathering, handing out 12,000 leaflets stating that the event was canceled. Despite this, an estimated 2,000 people gathered on the university's Commons, near Taylor Hall. The protest began with the ringing of the campus's iron Victory Bell (which had historically been used to signal victories in football games) to mark the beginning of the rally, and the first protester began to speak.

Fearing that the situation might escalate into another violent protest, Companies A and C, 1/145th Infantry and Troop G of the 2/107th Armored Cavalry, Ohio Army National Guard (ARNG), the units on the campus grounds, attempted to disperse the students.

Just before noon, the Guard returned and again ordered the crowd to disperse. When most of the crowd refused, the Guard used tear gas. Because of wind, the tear gas had little effect in dispersing the crowd, and some protestors launched a volley of rocks toward the Guard's line, too distant to have any effect, to chants of "Pigs off campus!" The students lobbed the tear gas canisters back at the National Guardsmen, who wore gas masks.

When it was obvious the crowd was not going to disperse, a group of 77 National Guard troops from A Company and Troop G, with bayonets fixed on their weapons, began to advance upon the hundreds of protesters. As the guardsmen advanced, the protesters retreated. The guardsmen pursued the protesters and the protestors showed signs of retreat, as they waited motionless for the end of the protest. Here they remained for about ten minutes. During this time, the bulk of the students congregated off to the left and front of the guardsmen. Others were scattered between Taylor Hall and the Prentice Hall parking lot, while still others – perhaps 35 or 40 – were standing in the parking lot, or dispersing through the lot as they had been previously ordered.

The guardsmen generally faced the parking lot which was about 100 yards away. At one point, some of the guardsmen knelt and aimed their weapons toward the parking lot, then stood up again. For a few moments, several guardsmen formed a loose huddle and appeared to be talking to one another. The guardsmen appeared to be unclear as to what to do next. They had cleared the protesters from the Commons area, and many students had left, but many stayed. At the end of about ten minutes, the guardsmen began to retrace their steps back up the hill toward the Commons area.

At this point, at 12:24 p.m., a number of guardsmen at the top of the hill abruptly turned and fired their M1 Garand rifles at the students. In all, 29 of the 77 guardsmen claimed to have fired their weapons, using a final total of 67 bullets. The shooting was determined to have lasted only 13 seconds, although a New York Times reporter stated that "it appeared to go on, as a solid volley, for perhaps a full minute or a little longer." The question of why the shots were fired remains widely debated.

Many guardsmen later testified that they were in fear for their lives, which was questioned partly because of the distance between them and the students killed or wounded. Time magazine later concluded that "triggers were not pulled accidentally at Kent State". The President's Commission on Campus Unrest avoided probing the question regarding why the shootings happened. Instead, it harshly criticized both the protesters and the Guardsmen, but it concluded that "the indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable."

The shootings killed four students and wounded nine. Two of the four students killed, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, had participated in the protest, and the other two, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, had been walking from one class to the next at the time of their deaths. Schroeder was also a member of the campus ROTC chapter.

Very rare cut of the Beach Boys' Student
Demonstration Time
, recorded live in 1971

Of those wounded, none was closer than 71 feet to the guardsmen. Of those killed, the nearest (Miller) was 265 feet away, and their average distance from the guardsmen was 345 feet.

This week, we continue to seek the truth of exactly what happened at Kent State. Noted filmmaker and activist, Michael Moore will be broadcasting live, via his website, the Kent State Truth Tribunal which started yesterday in Kent, Ohio.

Another very sad chapter in American History. No matter what the tribunal uncovers, absolutely nothing will bring back the students who were killed. America and its National Guard murdered innocent students that day in 1970. American citizens who were merely exercising their constitutional rights to express their concerns regarding our involvement and escalation of the Vietnam War.


1. Wikipedia 2. 3. Michael Moore

Chuck Palazzo is a Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran, the Interim Editor for Agent Orange, and a longtime Vietnam Veterans Against the War Member. Chuck Palazzo has spent years since the war studying the impacts and effects of Agent Orange, a defoliant chemical sprayed by the U.S. govt. on the jungles of Vietnam. He says Dioxins have been re-discovered to cause all sorts of damage to humans. These include Heart Disease, Parkinsonism, Diabetes etcetera. Dioxins are already known to produce serious birth defects and a variety of cancers. The chemical is still sold in Third World Countries and causing the same problems.

We at welcome Chuck aboard and look forward to sharing more of his stories with our readers in the future.

Comments Leave a comment on this story.

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Zara June 11, 2013 5:04 am (Pacific time)

How dare the US utter democracy and civil rights after having such a history of brutal crackdown on students.

A Hall March 12, 2012 7:38 pm (Pacific time)

Why do humans do this to ourselves? We fight for peace. RIght, because that's going to end well.

CL January 6, 2012 11:55 am (Pacific time)

It is sad to see tragedies like this happen. However, Many people refuse to admit that if there wasn't any rioting days before, the guard would not been called. What is ironic today is that those who protested in that day are now in charge today and will do the same thing to us if we protest them.

Wayward Bill May 5, 2010 12:26 am (Pacific time)

40 years ago today @ Kent State University, Kent Ohio, the Ohio National Guard cut down my innocent friend as she was walking between classes: Sandra Lee Scheuer age 20 shot from 390 feet received a fatal neck wound died a few minutes later from loss of blood. Her Mother died Sunday almost 40 years to the date. 4 DEAD IN OHIO ~ Always Remembered, Never forgotten...!!! May 4, 1970 @12:24 p.m. Amerika would be forever changed....

Amanda Boldt May 4, 2010 4:26 pm (Pacific time)

The world has not changed, only the principal players have. From destruction of other people's homelands, ideologies, religions, or politics. There is no difference between the Stalin era and everyone inbetween to the present. From Tianaman Square to Kent State....No one is better than the other.

Anonymous May 2, 2010 5:54 pm (Pacific time)

gosh darn to heck grrr, and f words.. I spoke of this type of stuff long ago.. and now, the dept of homeland security..they are not after al ciada, who are CIA invented, they are after ME!!! A law abiding citizen, who wears his seatbelt, drives the speed limit, recycles, cares about ecology, drives a 4 cylinder truck, etc..But, I believe in the Constitution,I believe in Christ (not the catholic cult, not the hagee isreal cult, but His true words of love), and I am the target.. Research the MIAC report, from DHS, and research 80,000 troops ordered by obama to be ready for civil dissent by october 2010.. and for goodness sake, turn off your tv. Hug your wife and kids, take them out in the country, plant a garden of veggies in your backyard. Be free, not a slave to this tyranny!!!

gp May 2, 2010 5:34 pm (Pacific time)

It was my honor to meet the late Jim Russel who is the guy flipping off the cops in the video. Soon after, they shot him and he used a cane for the rest of his life. I told him that I felt that the point when the students at Kent Sate and Mississippi State were shot it was the turning point for the United States, that after that the public was so incensed by the government killing its own people that their only recourse was to end the war or the civil unrest would escalate. Jim said, "I certainly hope you are right". I feel the same way about the massacre of Palestinians last year. This was the turning point, the Israelis know they stepped over the line in ther maniacal, murderous progrom. The difference now is that the students at Berkely have lost power and were unable to cause the university to divest. I think that this is only a temporary set back, I believe that the world has awakened to the loss of democracy, the theft of resources, the continuous bloodshed for financial gain and the empty rhetoric about freedom that imperialist US spouts. I believe the sleeping giant of the the world is waking up. We have almost gotten to the hundredth monkey. Once we get there,it is all over for the oligarchy and their multinational cronies.

Kenneth May 2, 2010 1:03 pm (Pacific time)

Editor: Scumbag running under multiple names: your racist comment has been deleted.

Mark Mori May 2, 2010 7:46 am (Pacific time)

For the best eye witness accounts of the Kent State shootings by various Kent students and national guardsmen who shot students, check out the Emmy Award winning documentary, "Kent State, The Day the War Cam Home." It was just released on DVD for the upcoming 40th anniversary. In its review of the program, The Hollywood Reporter stated, "This extraordinary hour long doc is so good, so well constructed, that it can't help but leave viewers feeling as if they themselves were on the bloody scene of the Kent State carnage..." for more go to kentstatedvd dot com

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.


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