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May-10-2010 07:55printcomments

May Fourteenth and Fifteenth 1970 @ Jackson State

More than 450 bullets were fired by police at a group of black students.

Kent State and Jackson State were both scenes of police / national guard shootings in May, 1970.
Kent State and Jackson State were both scenes of police / national guard shootings in May, 1970.

(LOS ANGELES) - In looking back at the violence that has plagued America's college campuses over the years, we see a phenomenon that has never gone away, only changed faces.

We see a problem that was based in rebellion in the 1960's and 1970's, when the United States was engaged in a bitter, seemingly endless war. Students stood up and asked questions, then they demonstrated, and this is when the violence took place. At this point the danger for students was the government itself, absolutely murderous in its intent and actions.

Most know what happened May 4, 1970 at Kent State, there are songs about it, tributes, photos, many stories and even published recollections of that day, and there should be.

But ten days later, when black students rioted in Mississippi, under already explosive racial inequality, they came under fire as no students have, or ever should have.

More than 450 bullets were fired by police at a group of students. Police tried to pick up shell cases to hide the evidence, but the FBI became involved and learned that the number of rounds were outrageous in number.

It was the equivalent of a turkey shoot; there were no defenses, the students were unarmed, they were attacked and shot down in cold blood. Two died, over a dozen were shot.

I am honored to present Luke Easter's poem about these tragic historic events.

To read the reports:

Jackson State

Kent State

_____________________________________________

Jackson State May 14-15, 1970 & Kent State 10 Days Before

It’s Jackson, Mississippi in the middle of sunny May,
College students gathered for a rowdy protest cops say,
Aware of an incident in Kent State Ohio 10 days before,
The National Guard opened fire where they killed four.

They gathered, created fires, overturned cars 9:30 P.M.,
To protect the fire department local police were called in,
Fireman put out fires cops moved them to a dormitory,
Here is where we get to the confusing part of the story.

Seventy-five armed & trained personnel it’s 12:05 A.M.,
In front of Alexander Hall is where the melee begins,
Police open fire lasting 30 seconds the motive’s unclear,
Some claim there’s a sniper but gunfire they didn’t hear.

Believing the sniper to be in a window on an upper floor,
Firing 140 shots but at the height of a ground level door,
If that’s true why advance and not take cover to be safe?
In their cruisers, behind buildings, smart thing was to wait.

And if the responding units were in fear of sniper fire,
Shouldn’t the officers have been aiming much higher?
Because the culprit would have been nowhere around,
The innocent unarmed students fired at on the ground.

Only two city cops, one officer from the highway patrol,
Were injured from flying glass and not the sniper? Oh!
Aftermath investigation by our nations highest, The FBI,
Searched for evidence of their claim and? Well, they lied.

Some of the patrol guys used shotguns from 30-50 feet,
Needless to say there was mass chaos on Lynch Street,
The students swear that the officers they didn’t provoke,
75 well armed vs. 1 maybe assailant so the cops choked?

Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green are dead,
But, the latter was killed behind police lines it is said,
Cut down in an area opposite of the, “savage” crowd,
By the murderous blast of a shotgun deadly and loud.

Twelve others were wounded but there is a slight catch,
An incident forty years old, no one’s been indicted yet,
Do you think that’s bad, it gets more bizarre just wait,
There were hearings in LA, Washington & Kent State.

I’m sorry, why places other than the scene of the crime?
No wonder there are no charges with no one doing time,
The commission did conclude unreasonable, unjustified,
A broad barrage of gunfire in which two students died.

That’s it? There were many rumors about throwing rocks,
Earlier at passing cars with no injuries but not at the cops,
Supposedly, a rumor of Mr. & Mrs. Charles Evers killed,
So the 9:30 incident was the reason for the “riot” but still.

There were no reports of any injuries or students being armed,
In other words aside from a few vehicles no one was harmed,
As authorities opened fire there was a reason nothing shot back,
Those students were victims of an unprovoked vicious attack.

Memorial’s at Gibbs-Green Plaza, multi level brick & concrete,
A patio & mall east of the JSU campus blocking off Jackson St.,
There’s a large stone monument right in front of Alexander Hall,
Visible damage caused by police ammo, did I mention the mall?

Isn’t it amazing, today we can Google Jackson or Kent State,
Thirty years later through the photographs experience the fate,
Make that almost, because all of the pictures simply cannot,
No matter how clear we’ll never be able to relive being shot.

To witness death and destruction via the news in Nam was hard,
But turned on by our own police departments & National Guard?
Simply by exercising our own guaranteed 1st Amendment Rights,
So, a mall, a memorial and named streets, now makes it all right?

The Beach Boys, yeah those guys of the 60’s & 70’s Rock & Roll,
Wrote a song, “Student Demonstration Time” how did 2 lines go?
“Nothing much was said about it & really next to nothing done
The pen is mightier than the sword but no match for a gun."

Mid-Western Whites of Ohio and Southern Mississippi Blacks,
Under the guise of, “Law & Order” were senselessly attacked,
For having a voice against the war by the oppression of such,
Three decades of opportunity, what has changed? Not much.

Allison Krause, Jeffery Miller, William Schroeder, Sandra Scheuer, KSU,
Hey! I will bet you a college diploma you thought this poem was through,
Well, no degree or graduation date from these four will never materialize,
Meet the student casualties protesting at Kent State who lost their lives.

But wait, couldn’t of been a sniper taking place at 12:24 in the afternoon,
The sun was out, nothing to be hidden by the dark secrets of the moon,
1 rock 1 injured cop, many guardsmen claimed to be in fear of their lives,
Negligence and reckless abandon, some hit by gunfire were passing by.

One click from the camera of Kent State photojournalism student John Filo,
Captured kneeing over death was 14 year-old runaway Mary Ann Vechhio,
Shot in the mouth, lying face a down, a daily occurrence in Viet Cong heat,
On a quiet college campus oceans from the war in the middle of the street.

Three less suffered lead poisoning at Kent so, are all wounds heal by time?
Dean Kahler is unable to leave his wheelchair, how can it leave his mind?
AKA, “The May 4th Massacre” by who ever as it is more commonly known,
Believe it or not but no place in the world is always going to be a safe zone.

A Pulitzer Prize winning photograph now an enduring image of the conflict,
Uncle Sam never officially called it war but so many lives lost take your pick,
Like Iraq & Afghanistan today we were in a country we should not have been,
As presidents who have never tasted, “incoming” still keep sending them in.

By Luke Easter & Tim King

=============================================

Luke Easter is a poet who writes about things that are very close to the heart of Salem-News.com. Another former U.S. Marine, Luke heals the world with an approach that reaches people on a different level, one known for centuries, yet too often forgotten in the one we live in.

We live in a world of social & economic injustice. The main reason for founding America in the first place was to relieve the oppression of the King of England. Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death.” And yet, all too often death seems to be the only way out. Why is there such a high suicide rate especially among teens, in the land of the free & the home of the brave? What makes headlines? Good news? Ha! More depressing stories than anything else. I feel poetry takes an edge off the hurt of bad news while still delivering it but in a, “glitzy” sort of way. Giving a different perspective. Kind of like slap in the face as opposed to a knife in the back. At least with the slap you’ll live to see another day and you will know whom it’s from. I wasn’t here for the beginning of the world but at 59, I just might be here for the end.

Even though it’s still a knife, rhyme poetry helps to dull the blade. And that’s my job. You can write to Luke Easter at: lyricsfromlucas@aol.com




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Name removed May 10, 2010 5:50 pm (Pacific time)

this site is antisemitic drivel run by a f*^#ng anti-israel scum.

Editor:  Try to imagine being a Palestinian, and having this be the venomous attitude you face everywhere you go.  There are good people in Israel, but plenty like this who would just as soon shoot you as look at you.  And this one manages to drop two 'f' bombs in a single comment, which are clearly against the posted rules, (some people, entire countries even, see themselves as being above the rules, ask Judge Goldstone, I think he would concur) and leave a hateful comment on a poem about Americans being killed on a college campus.  Well now that really makes no sense.  Israel specifically targeted schools and hospitals during their winter siege in Gaza from Dec. '08 to Jan. '09.  The Israeli Defense Forces have the best military targeting equipment that money can buy, so don't believe their apologists who say the schools and hospitals in Gaza were "accidentally struck" because it is a lie, easily verified again, because the U.S. taxpayers furnish only the best weapons systems for Israel.  But even that wasn't enough in Gaza, the IDF use white phosporous to ignite homes, little children were melted to death in their homes.  But don't worry, most of the little ones were buried, most were still in one piece, though I have read western doctors' accounts of the nature of the burn injuries from the 'willy pete' as it is called.  The doctors said the injuries were literally, indescribably.  None had seen anything so bad.  Then, the ambulances went out to try to rescue people, and the Palestinian ambulance drivers were MURDERED in the street, shot dead by Israeli snipers.  So you might be getting the idea of why I am down on the military 'antics' of Israel.  How about the families massacred on the beach in Gaza by the Israeli Navy?  How about the snipers shooting innocent farmers?  They try to harvest land on ground they own, that Israel built a wall down the center of.  Israel specifically put the walls where they are to disrput agriculture.  We ran a report showing a farmer being shot in West Bank over the past weekend, in fact I think that is what has all of the Zionists pissed off today, writing to our advertisers and telling them we are anti-Christian and anti-Semitic; what a low life approach!  I can go on and on and on and on and on about the atrocities committed in this land of occupation.  This person writing the comment didn't even have the courage to use a name; I couldn't leave what they wrote, it was the other 'f' bomb, not allowed here.      


Mo Farrakhan May 10, 2010 9:00 am (Pacific time)

Luke, nice piece!  You are a talented addition to Salem-News.com

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