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May 04, 2010 at 09:47 AM | Permalink
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I grew up in Ohio and was in college 40 years ago, a couple of hours from Kent State. I had friends at Kent who were in the crowd that morning. The killings there, and a few days later at Jackson State, were defining moments. Not so much, as commonly held, because the deaths crystallized a distrust of government, but because it crystallized an awareness that politicans were willing to stir up hatred of one group of citizens in order to curry favor with others. That should have been obvious in those waning days of Jim Crow. But, to see governors and presidents, with widespread agreement, and using particularly abusive language, blame people like me -- white college kids -- for the killings drove the point home. You felt like an unwelcome alien in your own home, and you watched for police behind you when you drove back to campus.
Listening to an NPR piece yesterday, I realized this still angers me.
May 04, 2010 at 10:18 AM
"...I realized this still angers me."
This angers me.
"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.'"
May 04, 2010 at 11:46 AM
“The actions of some students were violent and criminal and some others were dangerous, reckless, and irresponsible.” Nevertheless, the (Scranton) Commission concludes that the shootings were “unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
"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."
May 04, 2010 at 03:03 PM
It is to be expected that someone like Bubba would rejoice in the murder of unarmed American college students by armed troops, and then quote from a discredited right-wing publication to buttress his position.
Over the ensuing years, we have learned that many campus anti-war organizations were infiltrated by agents of the police and other agencies and those infiltrators sometimes urged otherwise nonviolent groups to engage in violence. The circumstances of the burning of the ROTC building at Kent state suggest it may not have been torched by students.
However, we do know that Bubba believes the burning of that ROTC building justifies murder.
May 04, 2010 at 04:00 PM
"It is to be expected that someone like Bubba would rejoice in the murder of unarmed American college students by armed troops....
....However, we do know that Bubba believes the burning of that ROTC building justifies murder."
It's expected that some assclown like corbs would respond with words like that.
Apparently, the words "reliable evidence swiftly uncovered by the FBI" holds no meaning in the absurd warped world our little buddy lives in.
May 04, 2010 at 04:19 PM
Yeah, that darn Hoover... always supressing evidence to protect demonstrators and protesters. What a Commie.
May 04, 2010 at 04:35 PM
The article that Bubba cites contains this little tidbit:
"[T]he 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."
This is the only specific evidence mentioned in the story of anyone being armed or firing shots other than the National Guard troops. Given the well-documented history of FBI abuse and disinformation, the words "reliable evidence swiftly uncovered by the FBI" are indeed meaningless. There is simply no reason to imagine that any legitimate student protesters did anything at all that might plausibly have justified cold-blooded murder by soldiers armed with M-1 rifles.
May 04, 2010 at 05:13 PM
Reliable evidence of what? That students at Kent State might have actually organized a potest? That anti-war protests did not spring spontaneously from the lawns and campuses of Ohio?
For engaging in the capital crime of planning, the troops were justified in murdering unarmed students?
What Bubba really means is that the murders were justified because the students weren't doing what their self-appointed betters told them to do. They weren't willing to volunteer for the cadaver pile just to acquiesce to Nixon's expansion of an unnecessary war that had already taken the lives of tens of thousands of their peers.
No rational excuse can be made for the murders at Kent State, or later at Jackson State. Those who fired -- without orders -- on the students should have been prosecuted.
Some will not understand that because, for them, allegiance to the will of the state is everything.
May 04, 2010 at 05:16 PM
"There is simply no reason to imagine that any legitimate student protesters did anything at all that might plausibly have justified cold-blooded murder by soldiers armed with M-1 rifles."
"No rational excuse can be made for the murders at Kent State, or later at Jackson State. Those who fired -- without orders -- on the students should have been prosecuted."
The Idiot Children of the Alternate Reality have passed judgment.
So they have written, so let it be recorded, without regard for anything that doesn't fit into their simplistic and narrow minded dogma.
May 04, 2010 at 08:00 PM
You might have thought that a Tea Party symp would be skeptical of unchecked government power. You'd be wrong. People like Bubba have no problem at all with massive shows of government force, as long as the targets are dirty fucking hippies or poor people (especially poor people of color).
Crawl back in your hole.
May 04, 2010 at 08:16 PM
"You might have thought that a Tea Party symp would be skeptical of unchecked government power. You'd be wrong. People like Bubba have no problem at all with massive shows of government force, as long as the targets are dirty fucking hippies or poor people (especially poor people of color)."
This is rich, coming from one who must have been all of, what, 8-9 years old at the time of the incident, and whose ill-formed opinion likely comes from the standard blather like that of I.F. Stone's incredibly obnoxious missive on the event.
In addition to being wrong about this, you're opinion is also irrelevant. But it does ring the bell in one way.It fits with the most appropriate description I've heard about the mythification of what happened at Kent State in early May 1970: "Illusions built upon legends built upon lies".
And the jerk tells me to "crawl back in my hole".
You apparently haven't left yours. Your proctologist can't figure a way to get you out.
May 04, 2010 at 09:04 PM
No doubt Kent State was a terrible tragedy. I remember that on our campus the powers that be allowed us to lanscape a small memorial park in a large traffic island. However, I don't recall any of my friends there or at any other college feeling like an "unwelcome alien in their own home". If anything, the events of that day galvanized the anti-war movement. I was a freshmen when the Selective Service changed to the "lottery" draft system. I would not have refused service, but I was not unhappy to be number 300 something.
Eric, your entitled to be skeptical of any FBI report, but to dismiss as untrue that there were agitators that were trying to create chaos is ridiculous. Characterizing the tragedy as unchecked government power is also a misnomer and ridiculous. The Mayor and Sheriff requested the National Guard after looting and vandalism broke out, so basically the situation was getting out of control already. When the guard arrived the campus ROTC building was burning and protesters were slashing the fire hoses. Unchecked government power? That's not what caused this tragedy. What happened was the result of a lack of properly established protocols. It had been a mob out of control at one point, and a law enforcement system unprepared to deal with it.
Jon A Firebaugh |
May 04, 2010 at 10:32 PM
They say when Neil heard the news he walked outside and came back with the lyrics written.
I used to rip a mean electric version of this tune.
Crosby's outro lyrics make the original track.
Account Deleted |
May 04, 2010 at 10:55 PM
[Bubba]'s reliance on links that don't say what he claims they say is, in his own overworked and characteristically pompous phrasing, "noted." No wonder he's everybody's leathery little bitch online.
[Name redacted; it's silly for Bubba to complain about the use of a name he's allowed to be public in many forums, but people are allowed to be silly here.]
Ian McDowell |
May 05, 2010 at 03:10 AM
"....in his own overworked and characteristically pompous phrasing....."
You, of all people, accusing someone else of "characteristically pompous phrasing"?
Yet another classic example of projection from one who harbors delusions of adequate creativity.
May 05, 2010 at 08:16 AM
Bubba seems to think that it's OK for American troops to fire on unarmed American citizens. It's rare that we get such an open look at the nature of the culture he represents.
It is important to remember that the protest at Kent State was mirrored by many protests across the company, all targeting Nixon's expansion of the war into Cambodia. (To be accurate, his expansion of what had been a secret war.). In Ohio, the governor (the very late and unlamented James Rhodes) and other Republican politicians had been trashing the students in their speeches.
Jon is correct that the immediate cause of the murders was the failure of the Guard to enforce proper protocol and discipline. That should have been the foundation for the prosecution of those involved.
I don't believe tire slashing or rock throwing are sufficent justification for U.S. troops to fire on unarmed civilians. Nor was the burning of the ROTC building, especially since significant doubt remains about who actually started that fire.
May 05, 2010 at 08:26 AM
I think the overall skanky-ness of the original recording of the original lick Young made up expresses perfectly the sense of anger felt during those days.
The chordal structure of I-III-VII of the main riff is fairly standard these days but was jazzy for rock at the time. The tonic shift to IV minor (gotta get down to it ...) for the chorus is another example of Neil's genius since it is now considered a blissful chord change, but at the time expressed the anger and gloom in a hopeful way.
It is a gem of a song, but also a deep piece of art when you get down to it.
Account Deleted |
May 05, 2010 at 08:30 AM
Young's solo seems more genuine to me than the CSN&Y version did at the time.
Not in the same league as "After the Gold Rush" and "The Needle and the Damage Done", but it's hard for any artist to be that scary good every time.
May 05, 2010 at 09:43 AM
Jeffrey missed his calling as a musicologist and rock critic. One of these days, we really must get together and play some music. It can be a kind of "Hands Across the Political Spectrum" jam.
May 05, 2010 at 09:44 AM
"it is now considered a blissful chord change"
So they say.
May 05, 2010 at 09:46 AM
Eric: Thanks. We have a nice coffee shop in the 'ville and lots of good things are happening there. I lost my bass player when I ran for city council in the fall. He got tired waiting. So I bought one of his Ibanez basses and an Ampeg. Come on up any time.
Or, if there is a blogger drummer we can start the all-blogger band.
Account Deleted |
May 05, 2010 at 10:07 AM
The ROTC building... a "temporary" quanset hut left over from WWII... burned Saturday evening, May 2nd. The troops arrived that night. Sunday the 3rd was a peaceful, flowers-in-the-gun-barrel day. But the troops were still on campus Monday May 4 when it was decided that they should disperse and prevent a planned 12 noon student rally. A few students hurled rocks, a few more hurled obscentites. Most just stood and watched or were on their way to classes when the Guard opened fire.
The closest student killed, Jeff Miller, was 265 feet away from the Guard at the time of the shootings. Like all of the students killed and wounded that day, he was unarmed.
“unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
May 05, 2010 at 12:05 PM
The ROTC building at the school I was attending at the time didn't burn. But, we did organize a giant flush-in, wherein all the toilets on campus were flushed at a set time, and all the water taps opened. Can't remember how long it took the water pressure to return to normal.By that time, however, almost all of us were uptown enjoying other beverages.
More seriously, a couple hundred people had been arrested two weeks earleir, a strike was called, the Guard was on campus, and, after 4 May, the school closed until the 17th.
May 05, 2010 at 12:53 PM
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