Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Tin Soldiers and Nixon's Coming

Forty years ago today Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of unarmed college students at Kent State, killing four and wounding 13. In the aftermath of the shootings President Nixon remarked, "when dissent turns violent it invites tragedy." Of course, it was not the dissenters who turned violent that Monday morning. It was the empire's police, armed with weapons of war trained on unarmed college students in the middle of a campus that was stirred in protest against the empire's war in Vietnam.
I graduated from Kent 13 springs after the shootings, and participated in memorial vigils each of the five springs I was on campus. I've stood in the spots where the kids were mortally wounded, and I've stood on the spot where other kids turned and fired their weapons.
In other words, I've looked at the shootings from both sides now, and from both sides it has always been clear to me that had Nixon been capable of honesty he would have said, "when dissent begins to threaten the foundations of established order then the established order will bring to bear deadly force to quell the dissent." But no president can ever be that honest.
As a Kent alum I have a bagful of memories of May 4 memorials, but the most affecting May 4 connection for me happened more than 15 years after I'd graduated during the time when I lived in Pittsburgh.
I'll share the story in a subsequent post. My laptop is, once again, seriously misbehaving -- crashed twice since I began this post. Urrrrg.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

haha~ funny! thank you for your share~ ........................................

Anonymous said...

It's great!!..........................................