Tuesday, May 11, 2010

"The score is four / And next time more”

This news broke yesterday, and it is big ...

I mean BIG!

Here's the background, in the event you were born after the 1970's;

The Kent State shootings – also known as the May 4 massacre or Kent State massacre – [2][3][4] occurred at Kent State University in the city of Kent, Ohio, and involved the shooting of unarmed college students by members of the Ohio National Guard on Monday, May 4, 1970. The guardsmen fired 67 rounds over a period of 13 seconds, killing four students and wounding nine others, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis.[5]

Some of the students who were shot had been protesting against the American invasion of Cambodia, which President Richard Nixon announced in a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance.[6][7]

Now, here's the blockbuster news;

New analysis of 40-year-old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire

The Ohio National Guardsmen who fired on students and antiwar protesters at Kent State University on May 4, 1970 were given an order to prepare to shoot, according to a new analysis of a 40-year-old audio tape of the event.

"Guard!" says a male voice on the recording, which two forensic audio experts enhanced and evaluated at the request of The Plain Dealer. Several seconds pass. Then, "All right, prepare to fire!"

"Get down!" someone shouts urgently, presumably in the crowd. Finally, "Guard! . . . " followed two seconds later by a long, booming volley of gunshots. The entire spoken sequence lasts 17 seconds.

Why is this a big deal?
The previously undetected command could begin to explain the central mystery of the Kent State tragedy - why 28 Guardsmen pivoted in unison atop Blanket Hill, raised their rifles and pistols and fired 67 times, killing four students and wounding nine others in an act that galvanized sentiment against the Vietnam War.

The order indicates that the gunshots were not spontaneous, or in response to sniper fire, as some have suggested over the years.

I was not-yet 15-years-old when this went down, the tipping point, after the blizzard of nightly news footage of the carnage in Viet Nam, and the handful of older guys from the neighborhood that came home in body bags.

Now, our government was shooting at us.

For, merely, expressing our 1st Amendment rights.

Digby, on her blog Hullabaloo, has a great post up, in which she quotes from the book 'Nixonland', showing, chillingly, the parallels between the red-faced, crew-cut conservatives, the ones who bought, at retail price, the tainted American Dream, the ones who in the aftermath of the Kent State shootings chanted "The score is four / And next time more”, and today's political climate;
The country eventually disengaged from Vietnam. But that was only one skirmish in our ongoing tribal struggle --- it still rages today. History can now record what really happened that day at Kent State. But I think we can assume from the Nixonland excerpt that whether or not the Guardsmen shot under orders was never really the issue anyway.

The funny thing is that the same Real Americans who believed the protesters deserved it would join the tea parties today and complain mightily about government overreach. In fact, many of them probably have.
(Susie Madrak, over on Crooks and Liars, has a post with video, and audio)

And, there is still pain;
In Pittsburgh, Doris Krause has been waiting 40 years to find out who killed her daughter Allison, and why. Now 84 and widowed, she said Friday the presence of the prepare-to-fire order doesn't surprise her.

"It had to be," she said. "There's no other way they could have turned in unison without a command. There's no other way they could fire at the same time."

She is frustrated, though, that the recording can't identify the person who gave the order. "I wish there was better proof," Krause said. "We have to find a man with enough courage to admit what happened.

"I'm an old lady," she said, "and before I leave this earth, I'd like to find out who said what is on that tape."

"Courage to admit what happened ..."

Hopefully, it won't take another 40-years to find that out.

Crosby Stills Nash Young Teach Your Children - Iraq

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

you do know that the protestors began to surround the national guardsmen, began setting small fires on campus, and threw rocks at the soldiers right? Because I don't think that soldier just go off shooting civilians, your so naive if you think this