Four dead in Ohio -- 41 years ago today:
But could anything, in fact, justify the guardsmen, without warning, or apparent provocation, firing on unarmed students?
Even vice-president Spiro Agnew, a former prosecutor, and no friend of the protesters, stunned conservatives when he admitted that while not premeditated, the guardsmen's actions constituted "murder". Interestingly, though, no court ever found the guardsmen, or their superiors, legally culpable for their actions. Most civil lawsuits were also dismissed. Allison Krause's parents, who sued the state of Ohio, eventually received a token "apology", and $15,000 in cash compensation.
The Kent State administration officially commemorated the killings for five years, then withdrew its support, leaving it to grieving families and supporters to sponsor the annual event. But last year, on the 40th anniversary, the campus administration, responding to continued protest, finally agreed to spend the entire day educating the campus about the events and their implications. To some, Kent State may seem like a symbol from an era that has long passed. But thanks to such commemorative events – and the monuments erected in honour of the dead – it's also a testament to the bitter social and political divisions that continue to simmer in America, and a reminder of the dangers to civil liberties and social peace that can arise when the nation goes to war, and sends thousands of its own youth to die on foreign battlefields for seemingly no good purpose.
Tied up with a story for tomorrow's paper that may look familiar to Attytood readers. Back later.