4 Reasons Why We Need To Remember Kent State

Kent-State

The incident at Kent State in 1970 is something we need to remember so that it never happens again.

Their names are Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer. They died at the hands of the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970. These are the reasons we need to remember this, but there are more.



As Kent State University notes on their website,

“On May 4, 1970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent State University demonstrators, killing four and wounding nine Kent State students. The impact of the shootings was dramatic. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close. H. R. Haldeman, a top aide to President Richard Nixon, suggests the shootings had a direct impact on national politics. In The Ends of Power, Haldeman (1978) states that the shootings at Kent State began the slide into Watergate, eventually destroying the Nixon administration. Beyond the direct effects of the May 4th, the shootings have certainly come to symbolize the deep political and social divisions that so sharply divided the country during the Vietnam War era.”

The incident went on to become known as the Kent State shootings and also known as the May 4 massacre or the Kent State massacre.

The History Channel elaborates on the lead-up to the incident, reporting that:

“On April 30, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon appeared on national television to announce the invasion of Cambodia by the United States and the need to draft 150,000 more soldiers for an expansion of the Vietnam War effort. This provoked massive protests on campuses throughout the country. At Kent State University in Ohio, protesters launched a demonstration that included setting fire to the ROTC building, prompting the governor of Ohio to dispatch 900 National Guardsmen to the campus.

“Following the killings, the unrest across the country escalated even further. Almost five hundred colleges were shut down or disrupted by protests. Despite the public outcry, the Justice Department initially declined to conduct a grand jury investigation. A report by the President’s Commission on Campus Unrest did acknowledge, however, that the action of the guardsmen had been “unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.” Eventually, a grand jury indicted eight of the guardsmen, but the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence.”

New evidence (actually, old evidence digitally clarified) points to the fact that the National Guard was given the order, “Prepare to fire” immediately before the shootings began, and that an FBI informant fired the first shot from his pistol, which then caused the cascade of bullets that followed. 9 of the 13 students were shot in the side or back.



Everything Explained Today reports the casualties as follows:

Killed (and approximate distance from the National Guard):

  • Jeffrey Glenn Miller; age 20; 265 feet, shot through the mouth; killed instantly
  • Allison B. Krause; age 19; 343 feet, fatal left chest wound; died later that day
  • William Knox Schroeder; age 19; 382 feet, shot in the back; fatal chest wound; died almost an hour later in a hospital while undergoing surgery
  • Sandra Lee Scheuer; age 20; 390 feet, fatal neck wound; died a few minutes later from loss of blood

Wounded (and approximate distance from the National Guard):

  • Joseph Lewis Jr.; 71 feet; hit twice in the right abdomen and left lower leg
  • John R. Cleary; 110 feet; upper left chest wound
  • Thomas Mark Grace; 225 feet; struck in left ankle
  • Alan Michael Canfora; 225 feet; hit in his right wrist
  • Dean R. Kahler; 300 feet; back wound fracturing the vertebrae, permanently paralyzed from the chest down
  • Douglas Alan Wrentmore; 329 feet; hit in his right knee
  • James Dennis Russell; 375 feet; hit in his right thigh from a bullet and in the right forehead by birdshot, both wounds minor
  • Robert Follis Stamps; 495 feet; hit in his right buttock
  • Donald Scott MacKenzie; 750 feet; neck wound

The Kent State massacre is remembered here in the famous Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young song, “Ohio.” Watch:

Lyrics, by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young

“Ohio”

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?Gotta get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should have been done long ago.
What if you knew her
And found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know?Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We’re finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.

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