Saturday, May 04, 2013

I could never have been incited to the kind of violence that brought the National Guard to the Kent State campus in May 1970.  I have never been a revolutionary leftist, & I believed then as I do now that one-third to one-half of the loud, ideological leftists on campuses in 1970 were either FBI informants or actual agents placed there by agencies of the government to incite violence when & if the opportunity arose. It doesn't take much to get certain types of college students burning things. There was a near riot in New Brunswick a few weeks ago when police tried to break up a large block party after some drunken mooks had dragged a sofa into the street & set fire to it.  I was at folk concert in New Brunswick when the Cambodia invansion was announced  - attending a folk concert was itself a rarity for me, as I did not  like folk music.  A large impromptu march through downtown resulted, which began deteriorating  into something messier. I recognized what was happening,  "Agitators"  were stirring it past the limits of a peaceful antiwar demonstration. I went home. By then I believed only the war-weariness of the American people,  if they became sickened enough by the death  &  destruction, could end the war. Vietnam was a lost cause.  The President  knew it, the CIA knew it, the Pentagon knew it.  We were sacrificing thousands only to save face.,  because we had "never been defeated."  I was looking out for my own skin.

The young National Guardsmen at Kent State thought they were there to maintain order. They were poorly commanded, confused. They were not trained for the work. Two of the students killed were not participants in the demonstrations, & one of them was in ROTC. All but two of the students killed or wounded were over 200 feet away from the Guardsmen. Only one Guardsman required medical attention  & he had been wounded before the shootings.

Richard Nixon, whose concept of "good" students  consisted of  his own two daughters & David Eisenhower, established a Presidential Commission on Campus Unrest.  The Commission concluded:
Even if the guardsmen faced danger, it was not a danger that called for lethal force. The 61 shots by 28 guardsmen certainly cannot be justified. Apparently, no order to fire was given, and there was inadequate fire control discipline on Blanket Hill. The Kent State tragedy must mark the last time that, as a matter of course, loaded rifles are issued to guardsmen confronting student demonstrators.

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