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> Tin Soldiers and Nixon Comin', Anniversary of Kent State shootings
DaffyGrl
post May 4 2006, 07:03 PM
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36 years ago today, the National Guard opened fire on an unarmed group of student protestors at Kent State University, killing 4 and wounding 9.
QUOTE
Could the same thing happen in our country today? Without a shadow of a doubt. Indeed, I would argue that only one thing keeps the same kind of event from happening many times over in George W. Bush's America -- the absence of a military draft. Source

QUOTE(Dean Kahler @ paralyzed at Kent State)
"We were invading another country. I thoroughly agreed with the history and political science department at Kent who, the next day, on May 1st, buried a copy of the Constitution because they felt that he had overstepped his powers as Commander-in-Chief by sending troops into another country. The mood kind of changed on campus at that point in time." (ibid.)

Sounds eerily familiar.

It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and it seems, sadly, we haven’t come all that far or learned very much. Dissent is still untolerated, so much so that careers and lives can and are being destroyed on a politician’s whim. As the article states, I think the only factor preventing a repeat of the Kent State horror is the lack of a military draft…and the way things are going, that factor may yet come to fruition. Of course, the National Guard won’t be the ones wielding the guns; they’re all overseas.

Could an incident like Kent State happen again?

If so, what factors would have to come together? Who would be the shooters?

If not, why not?


Note: Moved to Casual Conversation, as this is far too hypothetical for constructive debate.

This post has been edited by Jaime: May 4 2006, 07:10 PM
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Mrs. Pigpen
post May 4 2006, 08:43 PM
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QUOTE
It’s hard to believe that much time has passed, and it seems, sadly, we haven’t come all that far or learned very much. Dissent is still untolerated, so much so that careers and lives can and are being destroyed on a politician’s whim. As the article states, I think the only factor preventing a repeat of the Kent State horror is the lack of a military draft…and the way things are going, that factor may yet come to fruition. Of course, the National Guard won’t be the ones wielding the guns; they’re all overseas.


"Dissent is not tolerated"? That's a rather gentle euphemism for the type of violent rioting that went on that day. 50 soldiers ended up in the hospital, many with broken bones, and they were injured before shots were fired.

Could an incident like Kent State happen again?

Likely not. I'll clarify, though. If I was being pelted by rocks and glass bottles, and I had a weapon, as a civilian I might use it. But in a situation involving riot control police or guardsmen, like the one at Kent State, I think not. Riot control is a little more advanced these days than it was back then, and soldiers are better trained to deal with it...at least I hope so. There is better protection for the soldiers, and effective nondeadly means of force.

This post has been edited by Mrs. Pigpen: May 4 2006, 08:49 PM
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AuthorMusician
post May 5 2006, 10:35 AM
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Could an incident like Kent State happen again?

Not within conditions as they exist today. Campus violence is non-existent and public protests are, for the most part, peaceful. The one time that police acted involved only tear gas, and the action might not have been needed.

Plenty of analysis has been done on Kent State. What the incident involved was a bad combination of rowdy college kids facing an armed force that wasn't well trained in civilian crowd control. The force was armed for combat, not rocks and bottles. The government had a confrontational attitude toward the population. Things are different today.

For one thing, everyone has been cowed through economics. Nobody wants to rock the boat because unemployment doesn't have nearly the safety net it once had, keeping employment does not have much legal support, the cost of college is out the roof, and entry level positions for grads are hard to find. Joining the armed forces is a viable means to making a living.

Few people below the age of fifty were old enough to have a clue as to what was happening during that time. Those who were involved are heading toward retirement right quick. The white-hot anger that fueled Kent State and many other violent confrontations is gone. You know, there was serious concern about a violent revolution during the 1970s, not just the stupid things in That Seventies Show. Actually, it was from about 1966 to 1974. In 1975 the turn was made.

In all, violent confrontations with the military is now the provence of crazy right wing types who think that a few pop guns could possibly take on a sophisticated military force. Those types seem to be going away too. It could be that nobody wants violent confrontation.

As far as the current radicals go, they are pretty timid in comparison. There are no campus bombings, dramatic bank thefts, taking over campus buildings and the other messes that characterized the Kent State times.

The Internet has to be considered too. A lot of venting goes on in this medium, which serves to cool down hot heads. Communication goes on too, plus coordination, and it is now harder for truly twisted types to get a following.

Anyway, this subject is pretty big. A lot has happened over a couple of generations, and a lot more promises to happen. I don't think another Kent State will develop.

Heh, just saw the news report of Rumsfeld being confronted -- with words. And words from a retired CIA guy, not just emotional hecklers. Times, they have been and are a-changing.

Here's the Wik link to the history. Seems to be pretty well researched:

Kent State Shootings History

This post has been edited by AuthorMusician: May 5 2006, 10:57 AM
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TedN5
post May 5 2006, 05:38 PM
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Could an incident like Kent State happen again?

I don't generally get involved in hypothetical discussions like this but I had a personal relationship to the role of the national guard in the country in this period. At the time, I was in the Colorado National Guard. We were undergoing an intensified training program 2 weekends each month that focussed on riot control. The emphasis was on non deadly force and controlling crowds. While making certain that our own forces were pushing the rioters where we wanted them, we were asked to be sure the crowd always had a free exit and that potentially hostile persons didn't get behind us.

When the news about Kent State broke, I was dismayed. By this time I was totally in support of the anti-war movement and the demonstrations but not of the revolutionary fringe elements. I deplored the invasion of Cambodia as much as the students did. I was also dismayed by the trigger happy behavior of the Ohio National Guard.

Soon after the tragedy of Kent State, sympathetic demonstrations took place on other campuses. In a comparatively minor one, at Denver University, students occupied the central open area of the campus and set up a tent city. I lived nearby and visited the encampment and conversed with the students enough to be certain they were almost universally non violent. Things went on for days and the chancellor of the university became increasing agitated. The police tried to remove the students but they merely moved out and then reestablished their encampment. The chancellor asked for national guard troops to "restore order."

My unit and others were mobilized. We assembled at the armory and the operation was explained by our commanding officer. We were going to unload our trucks in a parking lot and then march to form a single file line around the perimeter of the encampment. This was in total violation of our training because it would have placed us between the encampment and sympathizers in the general student population behind us (and who knows what kind of radical elements that could have been attracted by the publicity). To compound my dismay, the commander then stated, "On your way to the trucks go by the supply room and you will be issued one clip of ammunition." I burst out with a most unmilitary, "NO!" I could have understood issuing ammunition to a few highly reliable sergeants in case there was some violent act but issuing ammunition to all members of the guard was dangerous. Many of them were from working class backgrounds and resented the privileged students to begin with. After being put in my place, the ammunition was issued and we moved out.

Fortunately, the campers were notified of the guards approach by sympathizers within our ranks and deserted their encampment. We surrounded an empty area. However, I remain convinced that things could have gone much worse - if the campers hadn't been informed but rather surprised by being surrounded, if a radical had fired a weapon, or if someone had set off a fire cracker. Stupid command decisions had created a dangerous situation.

So, my answer to your question is, yes it could happen again because of the capacity of those in authority to make stupid decisions. It is unlikely to happen on a campus today because of the general apathy but things could change if Bush attacks Iran. Students in the 60s and 70s didn't start out radical, they were driven there by policy and events. The same thing could happen in the current period.
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nighttimer
post May 5 2006, 08:32 PM
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QUOTE(DaffyGrl @ May 4 2006, 03:03 PM)

Could an incident like Kent State happen again?

If so, what factors would have to come together? Who would be the shooters?

If not, why not?

*



Not only could it happen again, it DID happen again just ten days after Kent State.

The Jackson State killings occurred on Thursday/Friday May 14-15, 1970, at Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi. A group of student protesters were confronted by the police and National Guardsmen. The police opened fire killing two students and injuring twelve.

Advancing to within 50 to 100 feet (15 to 30 m) of the crowd, at roughly 12:05 AM, the police opened fire. The exact cause of the shooting and the moments leading up to it is unclear. The crowd scattered, a number of people were trampled or cut by falling glass, some wounded, and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs (21) and James Earl Green (17) were killed. Gibbs was killed near to Alexander Hall by buckshot, while Green was killed behind the police line in front of B. F. Roberts Hall, again with a shotgun. The police fired in excess of 460 rounds of ammunition (FBI estimate) in less than a minute, leaving over 160 holes in the walls of Alexander Hall, they then took some time to gather their spent shell casing before withdrawing, leaving the scene in the hands of the National Guardsmen.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jackson_State_killings
http://www.may41970.com/Jackson%20State/ja...te_may_1970.htm

Campuses are not the spawning ground for mass demonstrations and today's students don't seem as motivated to take their grievances to the streets. Still, it could be that the issue that would provoke demonstrations on the level of Kent and Jackson State haven't arisen yet.
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