Friday, May 04, 2007

1970, A Hard Spring To Forget. When Campus Shootings Were A New Thing.

You know, you see these bums, you know, blowin' up the campuses. Listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world, going to the greatest universities, and here they are, burnin' up the books, I mean, stormin' around about this issue, I mean, you name it - get rid of the war, there'll be another one.
Richard Nixon, New York Times, May 2, 1970.

It was a spring that was hard to forget:

First, it was my senior year in High School; I could not wait to leave that place. I fitted in not at all with my classmates and had all my hopes pegged on finding a more suitable crowd in college.

Second, have you seen Apollo 13? It happened that April.

And then there was May 4th.

Kent State.

I grew up in Northeastern Ohio, less than 40 miles from Kent State University. It was time when there were protests on every campus, but shootings were not a common thing. The first time it happened was May 4th, 1970. Many of my teachers that fall transferred to Cleveland State from Kent. It was a defining experience in my life, much like the other generational shootings: JFK, RFK, Malcolm X, or MLK.

I found an interesting first-hand account of the morning from one of the students who was shot and injured that day.

Spend a couple minutes today remembering the innocent time before this all happened.

Edited about noon: Ok, it's been pointed out to me that two episodes preceded Kent State. First was the The Orangeburg Massacre (thank you, Karoda) and the Jackson State shootings. This actually makes me feel better. When Kent happened, I had this distinct feeling that something similar had happened before, but everyone told me "NO".. this is the first time. Now I know I wasn't mistaken.

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