Tuesday, May 04, 2010
40 (Or, A Reprint)
This is from four years ago...I updated the dates, but the rest, despite a new President, is still accurate.
On this day forty years ago, 4 students were murdered by National Guardsmen during a student demonstration at Kent State University protesting the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. Another 9 students were wounded. A total of 67 rounds of ammunition were fired off into a crowd of students.
Of the four students killed, only one was part of the protest, which was mostly non-violent.
Nixon thought of the government santioned violence at Kent State as a potential example - he was looking to quiet the youth resistance movement led partly by the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS). Members of the SDS, disheartened by both the murder of Black Panther leader Fred Hampton and the perceived inefficacy of non-violent protest, later formed the leftist terrorist group Weatherman (later known as the Weather Underground Organization).
I grew up in Kent, Ohio. My parents were both students at Kent State at the time of the killings. My mother was a classmate of Sandra Scheuer, who was killed by a stray bullet on May 4, 1970 when walking on her way to class.
This day every year, I take time to reflect on this event. It was odd to grow up in such a small town that had the ghosts of such symbolic violence. On this day forty years ago, our government was desperate (in the form of the sweaty, paranoid Nixon) to control its youth and to quiet all dissent.
Today, we live in times of great violence, but dissent is on the back burner. Our economy, our media, our hyper referenced and meta lifestyles keep us sated.
On that note, required viewing today: Network and The Weather Underground.