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Friday, May 04, 2007 

May 4th - KENT STATE MASSACRE - the day a republican president and his government killed their own young

On May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio, students protesting the escalation of the War in Vietnam into Cambodia by the Republican Nixon administration, were gunned down by members of the National Guard.

The shootings led to protests on college campuses throughout the nation, and a student strike - causing over 450 university campuses across the United States and Canada to close with both violent and non-violent demonstrations. A common sentiment was expressed by students at New York University with a banner hung out of a window which read "They Can't Kill Us All."

Just five days after the shootings, 100,000 people demonstrated in Washington, D.C. against the war and the murder of student protesters. Ray Price, Nixon's chief speechwriter from 1969-74 recalled the Washington demonstrations saying, "The city was an armed camp. The mobs were smashing windows, slashing tires, dragging parked cars into intersections, even throwing bed springs off overpasses into the traffic down below. President Richard Nixon was taken to Camp David for two days for his own protection and safety. Charles Colson (Counsel to President Nixon from 1969 to 1973) stated that the military had to be called up to protect the nations's administration from the angry students.

We Remember Kent State! The struggle against 'war culture' continues!

More Photos of Kent State on May 4th, 1970.


Progressive Bloggers

And what's happened to that resolve to stand against a government intent on destroying it's people?? Bush and his cadre are doing the same thing.. not on a college campus, but in a foreign country.


The one bright point in 2007 is this; like in the 60's & '70's, the insanity of 'war' motivated and politicised an entire generation.

I think history might just be about to repeat itself. Every 'Nixon' meets their 'Kent State' eventually and then begin to diminish.

Bush is worse then Nixon. It is merely a matter of time for this to be demonstrated fully.

E. thanks for this.

I was in my 3rd year of university in the US when Kent State happened. Like most other institutions, mine was shut down by protests and boycotts. Thousands of students lost their semester's credits. Not a big thing compared to death at the hands of the National Guard, but still a life-altering complication for many -- particularly, for young men subject to the draft if they weren't enrolled in a post-secondary institution and in good academic standing.

As an anti-war activist, I witnessed a big change following Kent State. Mainstream student protesters were divided into two camps - concerned students who were willing to challenge their government so long as it didn't mean possible death and radicals who went underground and joined the Weathermen, Black Panthers and other violent movements.

Kent State killed civilized protest. Thankfully, outrage at the incident made converts out of many middle Americans who began to voice opposition to Nixon and Vietnam. The tide turned on May 4, 1970. Unfortunately, it wasn't the protesters' appeals to reason that turned the tide but the draconian over-reaction by Nixon's henchmen.

Anyone who thinks this was an isolated incident that could not happen in 2007 America must have missed the news out of LA the past few days. The big difference was the use of rubber bullets now and deadly force then.

One big difference between the 1960's anti-war movement and today's efforts is that today's protesters are doing much of their agitating online and not in the streets. We are much more jaded in this post-Watergate era, too. Up until Kent State, most student protesters felt they could make a difference with peaceful demonstrations. The underhandedness and omnipresence of federal authority had not yet hit home. Today, we are far more cynical and far less hopeful.


JB .. thanks for the recollections. I think they are important because this episode has not been fully acknowledged or commemorated.

I tip my hand about my age a bit by telling you that I recall this event myself. I can't think of anything from that era that politicised me more then Kent State.

I have to digest what you said here. Thanks.

Excellent points by all. What is most disturbing to me is that NO ONE was ever really called to account for any of it. Hell, Nixon would up with honors and a library dedicated to his "legacy".

I had just moved from New York, where I had a leadership role in the peace movement, to Colorado. I was invited to attend and speak at the demonstration at Kent State by students there who favored nonviolence over the more confrontational style of the weather faction. Due to distance and a prior commitment, I did not. The issue of violent vs nonviolent demonstration tactics was still an issue before Kent State. Afterwords, nonviolence was gone and I stepped away. It was not the first time police/guardsmen have killed demonstrators here. I personally witnessed the guard killing a demonstrator in Washington, 1967 and the Police killing a demonstrator in Chicago, 1968. Because, Kent State was a small demonstration, the authorities could not cover it up.

I opted not to blog this today. I guess I'm still a bit haunted by how close I came to being there.

These recollections MUST be told so that those who are following understand what this struggle for sanity is all about. Tom - right on man ... survivors of the revolution!

When Johnson was voted out and when Nixon resigned, I thought we had won. Today I would trade LBJ or Nixon for Bush in a hot minute. We didn't really win. We ended up moving from the frying pan to the fire.

I am a current Kent State Student. Please remember the past, but do not live in it. I am tired of people associating me with the shootings. I am hardly old enough to be alive when it happened. To the anti-war people out there, please stop living in the past. Thanks


"Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it!"

America forgot about Vietnam and that is why you are in Iraq!

I will NOT agree with your sentiments. Your viewpoint is a formula for perpetual ignorance!

Maybe think about going to a different college if it bugs you so bloody much!

I better stop before I get angry!!!!!!!

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