Tuesday, May 4, 2010

40th Anniversary of National Guard Killing Four at Kent State Anti-War Protest

Democracy Now! covers the 40th anniversary of the Kent State Shooting. There, the National Guard killed four students at a non-violent protest of the Vietnam War. This did not help morale for the war. Having learned its lesson, the government's attacks on anti-war protesters have been less deadly. But that is not to say the physical attacks have not been brutal. . . .Update! (5-10-10)

Update! Excellent Al Jazeera Story on Kent State Shootings

And yes, there was an order to fire on the students.

The government really does not like anti-war protesters. Citizens dissenting from the offered rational for war are not given real venues to voice their opposition. Political candidates supporting war dominate the political spectrum and makes voting a futile effort. A plurality voting system preventing honest voting only discourages matters further by marginalizing the few "fringe" anti-war candidates. Protest remains the only option--whether it's labeled legal or illegal.

But when a blackout of media coverage isn't enough, the government sends its disapproval loud and clear through a police force. Horses, dogs, tasers, teargas, concussion grenades, and pepper spray are the popular choices for police against protesters. Though, more forceful options have recently been utilized.

Wooden bullets (shown above) are a more recent tool against protesters.

Clearly, a message (shown above) is intended to be sent. These pictures depict the results of police attack against a nonviolent anti-war protest in Oakland, 2003.

Similar attacks by police occurred at the 2008 Republican National Convention.

Naturally, the Democratic National Convention welcomed dissenting voices. See their "free speech zones" (above) located far enough away so that politicians wouldn't have to see them.

At the G-20 summit in Pittsburgh, police added a new weapon: the "long range acoustic device." The LRAD 500XTM (shown above) is capable of delivering near 150db. This is similar to a nearby gunshot and can cause immediate hearing damage.

So, while the government may no longer directly kill protesters, it has not given up in using brute physical force to squelch dissent.


  1. Great stuff, Aaron. And scary!

  2. just today I was talking with some parents who were in their 30s and mentioned the Kent State killings. They had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Had never heard of it before. So I put it into perspective for them. I said "Imagine if you sent your child off to a University and then one day Got the news that your child was shot dead by our National Guard all because our own government had primed them into Believing that these anti-war protesting students were a serious risk to national security"

    Their eyes went wide as it sank in. Then I said "This really did happen 40 years ago in this country" One of the students killed was simply walking to her next class. Several of the wounded were bystanders. The young parents I spoke with learned something today. I cannot believe this could be forgotten. Convinces me that this needs to be told again and again. Thanks for your post. Here's what I put together, hope you get a chance to see it.

    In remembrance of the four students who died on May 4th, 1970 at Kent State University. Shot down by the National Guard.
    A very dark day in American history and a tragedy that did not have to happen and let's hope will never happen again.
    9 more students were wounded that day.


  3. Very nice compilation you put together in the video. You nailed both the music and the visual.

    And yes, it is an absolute shame this is forgotten or simply not learned by so many. So we must keep repeating it.


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