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Old 05-04-2010, 01:56 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Four dead in Ohio

Today is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, where Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on protesters at the campus on May 4, 1970, killing four. As far as I can recall, it was the first time since the Civil War that US military troops fired on fellow Americans.

I learned recently that the famous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph by John Filo showing Mary Ann Vecchio screaming as she kneels over the body of Jeffrey Miller was actually retouched. The original photograph shows a fence post directly behind her that was removed in the published version.

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Old 05-04-2010, 06:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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And the saddest part is that the charges against the guardsmen were dismissed.


Did you know the girl in that photograph was only 14?
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Old 05-04-2010, 06:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by warrrreagl View Post
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, where Ohio National Guardsmen opened fire on protesters at the campus on May 4, 1970, killing four. As far as I can recall, it was the first time since the Civil War that US military troops fired on fellow Americans.

I learned recently that the famous Pulitzer Prize winning photograph by John Filo showing Mary Ann Vecchio screaming as she kneels over the body of Jeffrey Miller was actually retouched. The original photograph shows a fence post directly behind her that was removed in the published version.


When Neil Young saw that picture he sat down and wrote 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 gunning 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 gunning 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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Old 05-04-2010, 07:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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This shooting was a very sad memory but I hope we at least learned something from it. For example: when weapons are involved and there is confrontation, don't count on a peaceful outcome.

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Originally Posted by warrrreagl View Post
...As far as I can recall, it was the first time since the Civil War that US military troops fired on fellow Americans...
That just seems unlikely to me, especially in the arena of "labor" conflicts. A quick search turned up a few other possibilities of US military shootings (along with many other local/state militias and "official" guards shooting people):

July 14, 1877
A general strike halted the movement of U.S. railroads. In the following days, strike riots spread across the United States. The next week, federal troops were called out to force an end to the nationwide strike. At the "Battle of the Viaduct" in Chicago, federal troops (recently returned from an Indian massacre) killed 30 workers and wounded over 100.

1894
Federal troops killed 34 American Railway Union members in the Chicago area attempting to break a strike, led by Eugene Debs, against the Pullman Company. Debs and several others were imprisoned for violating injunctions, causing disintegration of the union.
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Old 05-04-2010, 07:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNick View Post
That just seems unlikely to me, especially in the arena of "labor" conflicts. A quick search turned up a few other possibilities of US military shootings (along with many other local/state militias and "official" guards shooting people):
I'm impressed with the research, nice job. I remember watching about it on the news when it happened and I remember Walter Cronkite saying it was the first time that US troops had EVER fired on civilians. He and I were both wrong.

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Originally Posted by Craven Morehead View Post
When Neil Young saw that picture he sat down and wrote Ohio.
And then he followed it up with that blockbuster smash hit single, "Midwestern Man." And then Rick Derringer came back and answered that song with "Sweet Home Cincinnati," and a big ol' ugly spat broke out.
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Old 05-04-2010, 09:21 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Ah, initially I thought the title was referring to something of recent doings, like four dead in Ohio this past Monday... accident.., but then I pondered on the title for a bit, and then the memory came back again.

Not that it adds much, but here's the original shot and caption as I read it; the feeling then, though, was as hard to describe as it is now: just bewilderment.


Four dead in Ohio - May 4, 1970
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Old 05-04-2010, 10:26 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Being born in 1985, and seeing as how all of the history classes I've ever taken dead end with a single paragraph or so about the Vietnam war, I had only a vague familiarity with the situation which I had learned of through the song.

I searched Google news for Kent State and came across this gem from Fox News/Washington Times:

New light shed on Kent State killings - Washington Times
Quote:
New light shed on Kent State killings

James Rosen SPECIAL TO THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Previously undisclosed FBI documents suggest that the Kent State antiwar protests were more meticulously planned than originally thought and that one or more gunshots may have been fired at embattled Ohio National Guardsmen before their killings of four students and woundings of at least nine others on that searing day in May 1970.

As the nation marks the 40th anniversary of the Kent State antiwar protests Tuesday, a review of hundreds of previously unpublished investigative reports sheds a new — and very different — light on the tragic episode.

The upheaval that enveloped the northeastern Ohio campus actually began three days earlier, in downtown Kent. Stirred to action by President Nixon's expansion of U.S. military operations in Cambodia, a roving mob of earnest antiwar activists, hard-core radicals, curious students and others smashed 50 bank and store windows, looted a jewelry store and hurled bricks and bottles at police.

Four officers suffered injuries, and the mayor declared a civil emergency. Only tear gas dispersed the mob.

An exhaustive review later concluded that this unrest on the streets — the worst in Kent's history — was "not an organized riot or a planned protest."

But the FBI's investigation swiftly uncovered reliable evidence that suggested otherwise. Among the strongest was a pre-dawn conversation — never before reported — between two unnamed men overheard inside a campus lounge later that night. Their discussion was witnessed by the girlfriend of a Kent State student and conveyed up the FBI chain of command 15 days later.

"We did it," one man exulted, according to the inquiry. "We got the riot started."

The second man expressed disappointment at being excluded from the riot's planning. "Wait until tomorrow night," the leader replied excitedly. "We just got the word. We're going to burn the ROTC building."

This was 20 hours before the ROTC headquarters on the Kent State campus, an old wooden frame building, was, in fact, burned to the ground.

"What about the flare?" the second man asked before the leader spotted the coed listening to them and abruptly ended the conversation. Dozens of witnesses later told the FBI they saw a flare used to ignite the blaze.

Now largely forgotten, the torching of the ROTC building was the true precursor to the killings at Kent State because it triggered the deployment of the National Guard to the fevered campus.

That deployment climaxed in bloodshed on the afternoon of May 4, 1970, with the guardsmen, clad in gas masks and confronted by angry, rock-throwing students, firing their M-1 rifles 67 times in 13 seconds, killing Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder.

A report submitted to Attorney General John Mitchell in June 1970 stated "there was no sniper" who could have fired at the guardsmen before the killings.

Numerous witnesses corroborated this.

A female freshman provided the FBI with a sworn statement that "there was no shot before [the guardsmen's] volley, and there were no warning shots fired." The Justice Department's internal review cited statements by six guardsmen who "pointedly" told the FBI that their lives were not in danger and that "it was not a shooting situation."

Yet the declassified FBI files show the FBI already had developed credible evidence suggesting that there was indeed a sniper and that one or more shots may have been fired at the guardsmen first.

Rumors of a sniper had circulated for at least a day before the fatal confrontation, the documents show. And a memorandum sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover on May 19, 1970, referred to bullet holes found in a tree and a statue — evidence, the report stated, that "indicated that at least two shots had been fired at the National Guard."

Another interviewee told agents that a guardsman had spoken of "a confirmed report of a sniper."

It also turned out that the FBI had its own informant and agent-provocateur roaming the crowd, a part-time Kent State student named Terry Norman, who had a camera. Mr. Norman also was armed with a snub-nosed revolver that FBI ballistics tests, first declassified in 1977, concluded had indeed been discharged on that day.

Then there was the testimony of an ROTC cadet whose identity remains unknown, one of the pervasive redactions concealing the names of all the FBI agents who conducted the interviews and of all those whom they interrogated. Although presumably angry over the demonstrators' destruction of the campus ROTC building, the cadet's calm, precise firsthand account nonetheless carries a credibility not easily dismissed.

Before the fatal volley, the ROTC cadet told the FBI, he "heard one round, a pause, two rounds, and then the M-1s opened up."

The report continued that the cadet "stated that the first three rounds were definitely not M-1s. He said they could possibly have been a .45 caliber. … [He] further stated that he heard confirmed reports of sniper fire coming in over both the National Guard radio and the state police radio."

The cadet also told the FBI he observed demonstrators carrying baseball bats, golf clubs and improvised weapons, including pieces of steel wire cut into footlong sections, along with radios and other electronic devices "used to monitor the police and Guard wavelengths."

Separately, a female student told the FBI she "recalled hearing what she thought was [the sound of] firecrackers and then a few seconds later [she] heard noise that to her sounded like a machine gun going off, but then later thought it may have been a volley of shots from the Guard."

Absent the declassification of the FBI's entire investigative file, many questions remain unanswered — including why the documents quoted here were overlooked, or discounted, in the Justice Department's official findings.

At a minimum, the FBI documents strongly challenge the received narrative that the rioting in downtown Kent was spontaneous and unplanned, that the burning of the ROTC headquarters was similarly impulsive and that the guardsmen's fatal shootings were explicable only as unprovoked acts.

The FBI files provide, in short, a hidden history of the killings at Kent State. They show that the "four dead in Ohio" more properly belong, in the grand sweep of history, to four days in May, an angry, chaotic and violent interlude when a controversial foreign war came home to American soil.

• James Rosen, a Fox News correspondent, examined previously undisclosed FBI files on the Kent State shootings while researching his biography "The Strong Man: John Mitchell and the Secrets of Watergate."
Now, I'm a bit skeptical of the source, and have found the files themselves here: Federal Bureau of Investigation - Freedom of Information Privacy Act

However there are close to 1200 pages of info there. Since that is an awful lot of reading I thought I would share it with you all before I slog through it myself to find the critical bits.
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Old 05-05-2010, 09:25 AM   #8 (permalink)
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We actually had two gentlemen who were there at Kent State come speak to my U.S. history class in high school. I'm thankful that my teachers went to the effort of having them come in and talk to us; it provided us with a better sense of what happened.
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Old 05-05-2010, 10:50 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Is it bad that this is the first I've heard of it?
I'm glad you started this thread, warrreagl. Crazy events.
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Old 05-05-2010, 02:22 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Why we can't use history
to find our way into the future?
'cuz we don't downplay our pasts.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:40 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by genuinegirly View Post
Is it bad that this is the first I've heard of it?
I'm glad you started this thread, warrreagl. Crazy events.
I can tell you lots of interesting facts about that time & the incidents at Kent State University. During the week prior to the Ohio 4 shootings, there were several, as in 100 folks from out of town, acting as visiting students there to discuss the Vietnam War in KSU symposiums, and why this (or any) war is wrong. It was totally a trumped up War as history has proven. ISSUES: Too many students knew friends their age were dying in Vietnam because they had been DRAFTED. Also, in downtown, there were active "Weathermen" imported from Berkely, CA. and east coast schools, who were heavy duty anti-war activists- with facts, mind you! .... and the Nixon Administration was told to be on "total alert" to watch them and all others, while on campus. That's all old news. It's well documented.

Meanwhile...

The worst part was that the kids killed were mostly innocent bystanders watching anti war rallies in the quad at lunch time. It was a pretty Spring day and lottsa stuff goes on in the quad, free music, art shows, sing ins all types of fun peaceful hippie activity. I know this because my husband was there during that week & that day visiting friends & hanging out on Water Street (great music then, i.e. James Gang with Joe Walsh and many other terrific bands....).

Sadly the confrontation happened (with a protester in town) and the guardsmen got scared. Not sure who the guardsmen first shot at.... but everyone there said it was debatable whether an order was "in truth given" to fire first, then ask questions. Most say Yes, that the guardsmen were having stones thrown at them and they were in fear of life treatning harm. Either way, it got ugly FAST and 4 young kids died, one being Susan Shrader (sp.) who had gone to high school in Boardman with my husband. She was a very passive brilliant young Jewish girl with tons of talent. She was just crossing the quad to go to her next class.

That's all I know...I'm 5 years younger than my friends who were there. They all hate to talk about it (it was totally wrong & our government was acting outta control) and everyone who saw this said that they were never able to understand the sickness and hate shown there on that green against college kids.

Again, kids, not foreign terrorists.


If I find out more, I'll edit this. At any rate it was a very Important Day. Our government was oppressing students from marching against a major War.

And now we all know why college campus' try to stop rallies of this kind ever since.

Be careful where you march for Freedom. You might get shot.
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Old 05-05-2010, 03:46 PM   #12 (permalink)
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been doin' this for a while...

http://www.tfproject.org/tfp/general...ml#post2631994
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:29 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by hunnychile View Post
And now we all know why college campus' try to stop rallies of this kind ever since.

Be careful where you march for Freedom. You might get shot.
It might just be the hippie town I live in, but we've had several successful and peaceful antiwar rallies since the start of the war in Afghanistan on my college campus. There is also a weekly vigil put on by the Women in Black worldwide vigils | Women in Black - for justice against war. They stand on the steps of the student union for an hour or so.

Bear in mind, I live in a town where there is a nightly--yes, nightly--peaceful antiwar protest in front of the County Courthouse.
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Old 05-05-2010, 04:33 PM   #14 (permalink)
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snowy,
That's good news to hear.

The information I provided was based on the KSU incident from 40 years ago and it's true that things have improved alot since that time.

Guess this is one of those threads that gives us all a lot of hope for the future! I'd like to see more campuses marching against the War here in the midwest and eastern USA. Perhaps that may come to pass. At any rate, any discussion about anti-war activites is worth it.

thanks.....
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Old 05-06-2010, 06:42 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Thank you for sharing all of that, hunny. These events are difficult for me to wrap my mind around. Having never experienced a draft, I can't fathom what it must have been like.


It's frustrating to me that there are so few people willing to share these stories with my generation. My mother won't speak about it beyond the fact that most of her male friends and schoolmates died in Viet Nam, and that she feels incredibly lucky that the draft passed up my father because of a broken arm.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:14 AM   #16 (permalink)
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It's frustrating to me that there are so few people willing to share these stories with my generation.
You must be hanging out with the wrong old people, because most of my contemporaries won't ever seem to shut up about it. I'd be glad to share my memories and feelings of those times, but it would start smelling like mothballs around here pretty quickly.

The draft ended when I was 15, so I just missed it. But my brother still carries his draft card in his wallet.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:28 AM   #17 (permalink)
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My draft number was 224. I was in the last year for the draft, I think. A good friend was #1. He became an MP and went on to become a policeman, eventually a detective. A most unlikely job for him at the time. Living with the draft was a very surreal experience.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:51 AM   #18 (permalink)
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My dad managed to avoid being drafted because first he was in university, then after that deferment ended, a friend in the draft board office managed to "lose" his paperwork for a few months. Then, Nixon instituted the draft lottery. Thankfully, my dad's number was very high and so he wasn't drafted. He wouldn't have minded--he took the test to get into OCS and passed with flying colors, and since he already had a degree he probably would have been fine. However, during those months my grandfather, who worked for KLM, kept a standby ticket to the Netherlands in his nightstand just in case my dad did get drafted. Although my father contends he would have happily served his adopted country, I think he underestimates the will of my oma. Had it come to it, she would have bodily hauled him on to the plane back to the Netherlands herself.

Many of my friends' dads are Vietnam vets or just missed the draft. They have some very interesting stories, to be sure.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:55 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It's a little silly to suggest The Government (TM) was out of control because some nervous National Guard jokers squeezed a few triggers.

...

I'm glad it never came to instituting a draft for the GWoT. It would have been political suicide and the military would have suffered tremendously at the lack of quality raw materials. I figure they had a hard enough time dealing with the willing... we wouldn't have done well with soft-palmed hippies.
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Old 05-06-2010, 07:59 AM   #20 (permalink)
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I'm glad it never came to instituting a draft for the GWoT. It would have been political suicide and the military would have suffered tremendously at the lack of quality raw materials. I figure they had a hard enough time dealing with the willing... we wouldn't have done well with soft-palmed hippies.
Agreed. The public outcry would have been off the charts.
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Old 05-06-2010, 08:00 AM   #21 (permalink)
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Be careful where you march for Freedom. You might get shot.
It's all context.
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Old 05-06-2010, 04:33 PM   #22 (permalink)
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And the saddest part is that the charges against the guardsmen were dismissed.


Did you know the girl in that photograph was only 14?
She was a runaway too, right?

I think the Guardsmen just got a little nervous and trigger happy. It's too bad that innocent lives were lost. If only the history books focused more on incidents like this...
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