Archive for the ‘Allison Krause’ Category

By Paula Schleis for the Akron Beacon Journal
May 3, 2020

Sunrise brought a fragile calm to the Kent State University campus, and the warm, breezy spring day lured students out of their dorms.

But it was not like any other campus on any other Sunday. There were 1,000 Ohio Army National Guard troops armed with M1 rifles, tanks and jeeps lining the roads, and the ashes of the ROTC building burned by rioters the previous night.

Allison Krause and her constant companion, boyfriend Barry Levine — both freshmen — ventured out to explore this alien setting. They strolled among other students, sometimes laughing and joking, sometimes pausing for serious discussion about the last few tumultuous days.

Then they started for the guard encampment near the front of the campus. Allison really wanted to talk to the guards.

For years, KSU had been her dream.

Allison Krause was one of four Kent State University students who was shot and killed by the Ohio National Guard on May 4, 1970.

She and her younger sister, Laurie, were born in Cleveland to Doris and Arthur Krause. When the family was in the mood for a day trip, they would drive 40 minutes to the college town to dine at Robin Hood. The restaurant overlooked the rolling green of the Kent campus from the corner of Lincoln and Main streets.

“You know, Mom, I’d like to come to school here when I’m old enough,” young Allison told her parents.

Allison grew into a tall, unconventional beauty who avoided makeup. Her high cheekbones, thick, dark hair and brown eyes had some describing her appearance as Mediterranean.

The family moved from Cleveland — first to Maryland, then to Pittsburgh — but her college plans never veered. When she turned 18, she made good on her promise to enroll at Kent State. Having graduated from high school in the top quarter of her class, she was accepted into the Honors College.

Now she was a freshly minted 19-year-old — her family came to the campus to celebrate her birthday the previous weekend — and her freshman year was coming to an end.

But Kent State had been a disappointment, and she was making plans to leave. The high school she’d attended in Maryland used an experimental teaching strategy. Kent State, by comparison, was stifling and regimented, she’d told her parents.

Barry was the one good thing to come from her time in Kent. He was a freshman, too, from Valley Stream, New York. He was slight of build, almost fragile. Kind, soft-spoken, and sported a beard and shoulder length hair. The two became inseparable.

Allison only had one or two other friends who were truly close.

Nearly six months before the National Guard shootings at Kent State University, Allison Krause, who died on May 4, 1970, helped hold a sign protesting the Vietnam War during a Moratorium Day march in downtown Kent on October 15, 1969. Krause is holding the banner above the word “ALL.”Bill Hunter | Akron Beacon Journal


She wasn’t a joiner. Under her name in the high school yearbook, not a single group activity was listed. Her interests were more solitary. Drawing, sculpting, painting, reading, cooking, listening to music.

That didn’t stop her from having — and sharing — her opinions with others. She was deeply interested in social issues, and strongly opposed to the Vietnam War. She attended the national Vietnam War Moratorium Day in Washington the previous November, waving a small American flag while she marched.

At Kent State, she’d attended a Students for a Democratic Society rally once, concluding their speeches made no sense.

She wasn’t remaining at Kent State, anyway. In the coming fall, Allison and Barry would begin their sophomore year in a new school in Buffalo, New York.

They never expected their last month at Kent State to be so eventful.

It started Thursday, when Allison and Barry joined other students in the television room at Moulton Hall to listen to President Richard Nixon explain America’s invasion of Cambodia. Friday morning, she went to the Western Union office to send Nixon a telegram calling his actions “an outright crime,” but the office was closed.

That evening, she and Barry joined friends in downtown Kent, but left long before the riot started. When the events of the evening made headline news on Saturday, she called her parents to reassure them she was safe in her dorm when it had happened.

Police arrest a protester as a National Guardsman looks on in Kent, May 3, 1970.Don Roese | Akron Beacon Journal


Saturday night, Allison and Barry were on their way to a movie when they spotted the demonstrators assembling on the Commons. They perched on a stretch of lawn known as Blanket Hill to watch the action below, but ended up playfully wrestling in the grass.

When the crowd started getting more aggressive, the couple retreated to a dorm. They watched from a window as the ROTC building was burned to the ground.

Sunday morning, she told Barry she understood why the National Guard had been called. There had been too much useless destruction. Making small business owners downtown suffer and burning buildings was not going to stop the Vietnam War, she said.

Arthur Krause, father of Allison Krause, stands on the site in the parking lot of Prentice Hall where his daughter was shot by National Guardsmen in 1970 on the Kent State University campus, May 3, 1975. Krause was part of the candlelight vigil and march.Ron Kuner | Akron Beacon Journal


Then Ohio Gov. James Rhodes came to town. Kent State was a political opportunity for Rhodes, who was running for a U.S. Senate seat, the primary election just two days away.

He held a news conference, played up his “law and order” platform, and gave an inflammatory speech calling Kent State demonstrators “the worst type of people we harbor in America.” He promised the guard would “use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent.”

And so Allison and Barry set off to talk to some of these guards who had taken over their campus.

Allison spotted one standing alone, a lilac sprouting from his gun barrel, placed there by another student. She took Barry by the arm and pulled him with her as she approached the soldier.

The soldier had a pleasant face and smiled warmly. He was a student himself, at the University of Akron, he told them.

Allison asked him why he was guarding her campus. He didn’t want to be, he confessed. Then why didn’t he leave, Allison asked. He looked at the ground and softly muttered that he couldn’t.

A superior officer disturbed by the congenial conversation walked over and shouted for the young guardsman to identify himself and his division.

Where did he get that “silly flower” in his rifle muzzle, the officer demanded. The guardsman removed the flower and the officer took it, telling him to “straighten up, act like a soldier and forget all this peace stuff.”

As the officer turned to leave, Allison snatched the flower from his hand.

“What’s the matter with peace?” she called after him as he turned and walked away. “Flowers are better than bullets!”

Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes stands for a photo op near a pile of drill rifles that were destroyed in the fire that burned down the Kent State ROTC building on May 2, 1970. Rhodes came to the Kent State campus Sunday, May 3, 1970, with state, federal, and local officials to observe the results of protests the previous two days on campus and in the city of Kent. At right is Ohio National Guard Adjustant General Sylvester Del Corso.Paul Tople | Akron Beacon Journal


Allison had a compassionate, tender side.

She’d spent time as a volunteer at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, D.C., visiting with the mentally insane. She was going to be spending the summer working at a camp for children with disabilities. She often roamed campus carrying a stray cat named Yo-Yo, which she’d rescued and had been hiding in her dorm.

Allison was studying both special education and art, wanting to find a way to combine both interests.

But Allison was also stubborn, strong-willed, and had an overwhelming passion that could set off a quick temper. It flared as the departing officer turned to glare at her.

“Pig!” she yelled at him.

Just as Allison’s peaceful demeanor broke, the deceptive calm on the campus was crumbling. At 8 p.m., demonstrators gathered at the Commons, leading the Guard to announce the immediate enforcement of a new curfew.

A volunteer stands vigil in the early morning hours of May 4, 1990, within a cordoned-off area commemorating the spot where Allison Krause died on May 4, 1970.Susan Kirkman Zake | Akron Beacon Journal


When the crowd refused to disperse, the Ohio Riot Act was read and tear gas was fired from helicopters hovering overhead. There were injuries this time, with some students bayoneted for not retreating.

Allison and Barry were a short distance from the scene when some guardsmen turned in their direction. The couple fled in a haze of tear gas and were pursued all the way to the Tri-Towers dorm, but the door had been bolted. A resident assistant refused to let anyone in.

As the Guard continued to approach, the couple and other students banged frantically on the glass, begging to be let in. Finally, a student inside slipped past the resident assistant and opened the door.

Allison, eyes watering from the tear gas and crying from the frightening chase, took refuge in the room of a classmate.

In the early morning hours, she called her mother, rousing her from her sleep.

Kent State was making headlines again, and, not for the first time, she felt compelled to put her parents’ minds at ease.

Don’t worry, she told her mother. It’s over now, and she was safe.

Marching down the same street in downtown Kent where his late daughter protested the Vietnam War in 1969, Arthur Krause (with sunglasses at lead of group) joins a protest against building a Gym Annex at Kent State University on Aug. 20, 1977. Allison Krause was killed by the Ohio National Guard during student protests May 4, 1970. A 1969 Mortatorium Day march saw Allison also protest on Main Street.Tom Marvin | Akron Beacon Journal


In 15 hours, on the hill where Allison and Barry playfully rolled in the grass, the National Guard will turn and raise their guns.

In 15 hours, Barry Levine will cradle Allison in his arms as her life’s blood pours onto the surface of a parking lot.

In 15 hours, Allison’s passionate proclamation that “Flowers are better than bullets” will begin its ascent into a national anti-war mantra.

Sources: MAYDAY: Kent State (1981) by J. Gregory Payne; Akron Beacon Journal; The Kent Stater; The May 4 Shootings at Kent State University: The Search for Historical Accuracy (1998) by Jerry M. Lewis and Thomas R. Hensley; Thirteen Seconds: Confrontation at Kent State (1970) by Joe Eszterhas and Michael D. Roberts; Kent State: What Happened and why (1971) by James A. Michener.

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Milan Simonich, Santa Fe New Mexican, April 8, 2020

Artwork by Roger Ballas 2016

My friend Doris Krause would not have let the coronavirus pandemic trample history.

Krause’s name is unfamiliar to just about everyone these days. But almost 50 years ago, with her heart broken and her faith in the country’s leadership eroded, Krause became a central figure in a national controversy.

Her 19-year-old daughter, Allison, was one of four students shot to death by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University on May 4, 1970.

Twenty-eight soldiers fired at least 61 shots into a crowd during a campus demonstration against the Vietnam War.

They wounded nine other students. One was shot in the back and paralyzed for life.

The natural sympathies of townspeople in Kent, Ohio, and government executives favored the guardsmen. This tone was set days before the shootings, when President Richard Nixon called campus protesters “bums.”

Doris Krause and her husband, Art, responded to the president.

“My daughter was no bum,” Art said.

In his memoirs, Nixon said Art’s quote haunted him.

“I felt utterly dejected by it,” Nixon wrote.

Doris said facts about the shootings were being displaced by character assassination. Through various lawsuits, inquiries and investigations, she and Art spent years standing up for their late daughter.

Then, in 1977, administrators at Kent State authorized construction of a gymnasium over part of the campus where the shootings occurred. Doris considered this one of Ohio’s many attempts to cover up the killings of Allison and the others. She decided she would never again set foot on the campus.

I met Doris in 1999. She lived in suburban Pittsburgh, and I worked on the city’s largest daily.

Kent State’s president, under heavy pressure from a new generation of students, had decided the university would erect four illuminated monuments on the oil-spattered spaces of the Prentice Hall parking lot where Allison and three others were mortally wounded.

Relatives of the fallen students would be invited back to the campus for the dedication ceremony.

Newspapering is often a cold business, one stranger calling another for information.

I phoned Doris for the piece I was writing about the campus memorials. By then a widow for 11 years, she was reluctant to relive the shootings.

But we hit it off and she asked me to come to her home. She was encyclopedic about the shootings.

Allison, a freshman in Kent State’s honors college, was more than a football field away — 343 feet — from the guardsman who killed her.

And Allison had been friendly to soldiers who had descended on the campus with the assignment of keeping the peace. The day before she died, she had placed a yellow flower in the muzzle of a guardsman’s M-1 rifle.

“Flowers are better than bullets,” she said.

Another female student also died in the shooting, but she was no war protester.

Sandy Scheuer, 20, was walking to class when guardsmen lobbed tear gas containers to disperse demonstrators. With her eyes and lungs burning from the gas, she stopped in the Prentice Hall parking lot to catch her breath.

Scheuer was 390 feet from the soldier whose bullet sliced her jugular vein.

Doris told me Scheuer’s parents blamed demonstrators for the violence.

“If your daughter hadn’t been out there protesting, my daughter would be alive,” she quoted Scheuer’s mother as saying.

Two male students died in the shootings.

Bill Schroeder, a 19-year-old ROTC scholarship student, was on his way to class. He was 382 feet from the soldier who shot him.

Jeffrey Glenn Miller, a demonstrator, was the closest to the hilltop from which the shots came. Miller, 20, was 265 feet from the riflemen.

Nixon’s presidential Commission on Campus Unrest in October 1970 called the shootings “unnecessary, unwarranted and inexcusable.”

But Nixon also ordered his Justice Department not to investigate the Kent State killings, according to an “eyes-only” memo written by White House aide John Ehrlichman.

As years roll by after a tragedy, life can take unexpected turns. It happened to Doris.

She returned to Kent State when the memorials were unveiled, in part to thank the students who pushed for them. Most were not born when the shootings happened.

“I felt like I owed it to them and to my daughter,” she said.

Doris and I stayed in touch. She even spoke to a newswriting class I taught at Chatham University.

In return, she asked only that I keep writing about what happened at Kent State.

Novelist James A. Michener had tried his hand at nonfiction in a book about the shootings. Doris was incensed at its inaccuracies. She didn’t want him to have the last word.

Doris died in 2016 at age 90. Her funeral notice contained this passage: “Beloved wife of the late Arthur Selwyn Krause. Loving mother of Laurel Krause and the late Allison Beth Krause, a Kent State student protester killed May 4, 1970.”

The coronavirus pandemic means what happened 50 years ago at Kent State might not receive the attention it normally would.

Doris always said the killings of her daughter and the others were a turning point — the moment when many turned against the Vietnam War.

I hope we don’t forget her words or her family.

Ringside Seat is an opinion column about people, politics and news. Contact the author Milan Simonich at msimonich@sfnewmexican.com 

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Laurel Krause, the Mendocino coast, March 28, 2020

… An account from Barry Levine who accompanied Allison Krause at Kent State on May 3, 1970 just a day before her killing

Sunday was a peaceful day, the sun was warm and the breeze was gentle. Allison spent the day quietly strolling the campus, sometimes laughing and joking, sometimes seriously discussing the past two days of disturbances on the campus. It was late afternoon when we decided to walk to the front campus and fraternize with some guardsmen.

Upon arriving, one particular guardsman caught our eye. He stood quietly alone, a lilac in his gun barrel. Taking me by the arm, Allison walked over to him, his name was Meyers, and unlike many of the soldiers we had met that day, Meyers wore a pleasant smile, and when he spoke, he did so with a gentle compassion. He said he did not want to be guarding the campus, but when asked why he didn’t leave, he looked at the ground and shyly said he couldn’t.

Disturbed at the pleasant rapport one of his men was enjoying with us, an officer slowly strolled over and placed his arm around Meyers’ shoulder. As we watched inquisitively, Meyers’ face tightened up, his back straightened and his smile completely disappeared. The officer, yelling in Meyers’ ear, ordered him to identify himself and his division. Meyers did so, and as we watched the fear swell in the young guardsmen’s eyes, the officer began:



O:             Doesn’t your division have target practice next week, Meyers?
M:             Yes, sir.
O:             Are you going there with that silly flower?
M:             No, sir.
O:             What is it doing in your rifle barrel?
M:             It was a gift, sir.
O:             Do you always accept gifts Meyers?
M:             No, sir.
O:             Then why did you accept this one?
… No Answer
O:             (Holding out his hand) What are you going to do with it Meyers?
… Meyers feebly began to remove the lilac
O:             That’s better Meyers. Now straighten up and start acting like a soldier and forget all this peace stuff.

Realizing the officer would merely throw the lilac away, Allison grabbed it from his hand and gave him a look of disgust, but he only turned his back.

As the officer walked away, Allison called after him, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets!”







Flowers are better than bullets by Barry Levine

Just a few gentle words

coming from her heart, there

was no profundity intended –

just a natural reaction in defense

of a stranger she had taken a

liking to. Five simple words

that will never be forgotten.

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Laurel Krause, Mendocino Coast, December 2019

Over the summer of 2019 I wanted a new picture of me with my sister Allison. Since Allison was killed in the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre, it was near impossible for Allison to pose for a painting almost 50 years after her killing. So I asked my friend and artist Roger Ballas to consider creating a painting of Allison and me. Over the December holidays Roger “gifted” this wonderful painting of the two of us!

Over three days as Roger painted this painting, Allison spoke to Roger in his dreams and he wrote down her words. Allison’s messages are written on the stripes of the flag in the painting … and offered in this post below.

Artist Roger Ballas created this magnificent painting of Allison Krause, one of the four students killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970, with her sister Laurel.

“Soul Sisters” by Roger Ballas, 2019

Allison’s Message Hidden in the Painting

Flowers are better than bullets.
We are all fine.
I am with the mystery of the Infinite One.
I love you.
The loving energy beyond your realm is beautiful.
No pain here.
Use me as your access point to G-D.
Our relationship is the foundation of your understanding of the transcendent.

Flowers are better than bullets.
I have entered Gan Eden
My soul remains to comfort you.
My soul is at peace.
My soul is immortal.
I await my bodyless path before G-D.
Don’t cry for me.
I feel no pain.
I am with you everyday.
I see you.
Never let us be forgotten.

Flowers are better than bullets.
Peace fills my soul.
It’s okay.
All is peace.
Love one another.
We are all okay.
All at peace.
No pain.
Flowers are better than bullets.

Peace and love, A.

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by Laurel Krause, June 22, 2019

Last month on May 22, 2019 we witnessed a significant ‘turning of the tide’ for Kent State truth in the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre.

This year, just a few days after a peaceful, healing 49th anniversary of Kent State on May 8, 2019, I awakened to a riveting facebook message from colleague Mike Alewitz, an eyewitness of the massacre at Kent State saying, “Unbelievable. The f*cking CIA is organizing the 50th.”

Searching on facebook I discovered a leak that retired 25-year CIA operative Stephanie D. Smith, now a professor at Kent State University, had been quietly announced as KSU President Beverly Warren’s choice for Chair of the 50th commemoration coming up on May 4, 2020 and managing the $2million budget for the Kent State 50th.

Since none of us had ever heard of Ms. Smith, I searched for and found Smith’s Kent State University backgrounder with a CIA photo headshot http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR, describing her decades of PR experience in re-messaging torture at Abu Ghraib among other scandals. From what we’ve been able to piece together, Smith has worked at high levels with CIA leads and the State Dept. to assist the current director of the CIA, Gina Haspel and ex-Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, exiting the Agency around 2008. Smith completed her undergraduate work at Kent State University in 1979. Unfortunately Smith never attended or expressed any interest in the Kent State massacre commemorations when she was a student from 1975-79.

Even though leadership at Kent State University savored their choice for the 50th chair, CIA Smith’s appointment was more of a stunning slap in the face to every protester who stood for peace and against the Vietnam War. Alewitz said, “This appointment is a travesty and an insult to all those that seek peace and social justice.” http://bit.ly/2JyADEA It is widely known the CIA was the most rogue and vicious contributor to Vietnam war crimes, now wholly focused on re-writing their crimes, re-messaged their war, before, during and after, a key aim of the CIA in covering their tracks.

Digging into press accounts we found Smith had a checkered background involving sexual escapades with her CIA boss http://bit.ly/2E80orb during her “happy” 30-year marriage http://bit.ly/2YpN7ll to another CIA operative http://bit.ly/2JyADEA, and then later turning to Mormonism http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C.

Back to our story and little victory, while Alewitz actively protested Smith’s appointment, his facebook posts were picked up by Russell Mokhiber and reported at Common Dreams. READ: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

As uproar over Smith’s appointment made it to national news, Kent State University’s response was tone deaf … a response we have witnessed from the University since the 1970 massacre. At a Kent State insider’s page on facebook, the ‘Kent May 4 Movement Community Forum,’ we read complaints there wasn’t any ‘Organized Opposition’ to Ms. Smith’s appointment and it got us thinking.

Many folks were very upset by Smith’s appointment yet there was no way for us to respond. Kent State University was going to do whatever it wished whether we liked it or not … yet that wasn’t going to work for us any longer.

On May 14, just shy of one week after the leaked announcement to put the CIA in charge of the 50th, in protest we launched our Email Blast. The idea was to create an ‘organized opposition’ to Smith’s announcement by sending protest emails to KSU President Beverly Warren.

On facebook I asked folks against Smith’s appointment to send me their email address. In return I emailed them easy to follow instructions that encouraged quick turnaround by sending KSU President Warren a protest email.

Within hours of launching our campaign, we heard from inside sources that Warren’s email box was exploding from our Email Blast and that leadership at KSU was “annoyed.” We sent instructions to ~300 recipients against the appointment and most of them made their voices heard.

Kent State stood up for Smith by offering, “She’s such a nice person and her students love her. Have you met her?” and “How can you be against her when you don’t know her?” They didn’t understand that our concerns were not personal and we were not wishing to engage in ad hominem character assassinations.

Eight days after launching our Email Blast, on May 22, 2019 Stephanie D. Smith stepped down from chair. READ Mohkiber’s follow-up Common Dreams article http://bit.ly/2VWfWsZ. Kent State refuses to share how many emails President Warren received.


A month later, even though Smith has stepped down, she’s still there. Smith is rewriting the legacy of my sister Allison Krause, along with Dr. Mindy Farmer http://bit.ly/2VADpj5 who worked for five years at the Nixon library before her recruitment to run the May 4 Visitor Center at Kent State. READ about Farmer’s tribute to Allison http://bit.ly/2zKXPYW.

Perusing the roster of people at Kent State managing the 50th, we have uncovered that Eric Mansfield http://bit.ly/2Vx22gN was a 20-year careerist in the Ohio National Guard, before becoming Executive Director of Media at Kent State University. Mansfield will lead all Kent State 50th PR and announcements.

In 2019 representatives of those responsible for manufacturing the Kent State massacre are now running the 50th: the CIA, President Nixon and the Ohio National Guard.

Even though Smith no longer chairs the 50th, Smith is still there with Farmer and Mansfield, making sure the story of the Kent State massacre is exactly as the US government and Kent State University wish … and they’re blocking organizations like ours, the Kent State Truth Tribunal from any meaningful participation in the Kent State 50th commemoration.

Where are the representatives of those who stood for peace at Kent State? Will the peaceful protesters who were present on May 4, 1970 have a voice at the Kent State 50th? With Kent State University in charge, truth and peace will not be in their remembrance of the Kent State massacre.

Please add your name, sign the Kent State 50th “Letter of Dissent” http://bit.ly/2m8zHfL. Thank you.

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May 4, 2019 by Carlos Jones

“Tell me how on earth could it be justified

for heartless men to have taken those innocent lives

and how many more tears do we have to cry

before our hearts are all wrung dry

leaving only us to ask the question why?

oh why?”  from the song, Truth & Justice (Kent State) by Carlos Jones

Good afternoon everyone,

My name is Carlos Jones. I am a musician. I live in Cleveland, Ohio – Shaker Heights to be exact. I’m here today at the request of the family of Allison Beth Krause, to speak for her as we commemorate the 49th year since that particular tragedy.

At first, when asked to do this, I questioned my qualification to do so, as some might – after all, I did not know her… I was not there. I was 12 years old at the time, doing the things that a 12 year old kid, living a quiet and comfortable life in the suburbs might do. Of course, I had been growing up in a time when the news of many horrors and tragedies brushed up against my budding awareness. I knew that people who tried to do good could be assassinated, taken out: John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy’s deaths were all a part of my recent inventory of knowledge.

I knew about the ongoing legacy of slavery and the struggle for equality and civil rights, through which my parents and their ancestors had lived, and that so many were still living. And it was almost as if we were to accept those things as a matter of course. We were taught in school about the glorified wars of our mighty nation, and all of the heroes who helped to bring us to our status as a noble and benevolent overseer of the world. I knew about the war that was going on in Vietnam – well, what I was being told of it anyway.

There were those that were older than me, like Allison, that had questions…

From what I’ve learned of her; Allison Krause was a bright, warm, loving, caring, energetic, intelligent and free-thinking young woman who had the audacity to question the veracity of the things our government claimed to be the reason for sending thousands of our young men and women to a foreign country to never return, or to return broken in pieces, physically and mentally. She was a young woman, full of hope, full of life and promise, who had set out to further her education, to one day become a productive citizen and perhaps contribute to positive and peaceful change in our society – but she had questions…

She knew there was much unrest in the world and all around her…

She knew that there were things wrong with our country that she and her peers felt compelled to speak out against, and she also knew that there were some who took their protest to the extreme and perhaps in the wrong direction, or maybe even had a totally different agenda…

A young woman, who one day might have children of her own, that she would have to teach and guide and somehow shield from the tragic truth, until they grew old enough to discern that not all is what it seems or what you’ve been led to believe…

But that was not to be, we had men in positions of power determined to hold fast to the old way of doing things, and maintain the status quo, and saw those who wanted and demanded change as annoyances and rabble-rousers. We had a president who claimed that he was not a crook, and as it turned out, he was telling us the truth – he was worse. And because of heartless decisions made by men who saw these young people, your sons and daughters, as nothing more than bums, outlaws, and hooligans… well, no need to state the obvious – you know why we’re here.

It was beautiful day in May – unlike this one…

Allison Krause was exercising what she had always been told was her right, to protest what she felt (what she knew) was wrong, even while knowing that there could be consequences for doing such a thing – she could face arrest, retribution, brutality, perhaps even… death? No, they couldn’t possibly go THAT far, could they? She and her fellow students faced off against uniformed men with rifles, choking against clouds of tear gas.

That day – this day, in May, we were awakened to the cold hard fact that you CAN be murdered, in broad daylight, no matter WHO you are, by your own government for being disobedient, for being vocal, for being active, for being a protester. That day, a 12 year old kid felt the chill of that reality, and his childhood fell away as if shedding a skin, and he became aware that there was indeed, something terribly wrong, and there was no going back to any semblance of childlike innocence. I, like so many of you, was changed forever.

Her Father, Arthur, has long since passed, worn down in the remainder of his life by the obstinate and apathetic demeanor of a government with no pity and no remorse. Yet he fought all the way to the Supreme Court for the right to sue the State of Ohio, and had become a staunch advocate for the right to protest.

Her Mother, Doris, more recently passed on, lived out her final years carrying the weight of the heartbreak, sadness and loss, with no apology, no closure, no resolution whatsoever, except for a “statement of regret” and the mere token of a $15,000 legal settlement, which apparently is what a protester’s life is worth – well, according to those with the power to make those kinds of decisions. They were never able to experience any type of healing or relief from the devastation that haunted them for the rest of their lives.

We hear these words thrown about quite often; Truth, Freedom, Liberty, Justice “for ALL” (?) Pretty words, but what do they MEAN???

What is TRUTH? It would seem that we live in a time when truth is whatever the loudest voice says it is (or the ones with the most money). The concept of truth has lost its weight, its value. This is the age of alternative facts. We have to ask ourselves; has it always been this way?

And JUSTICE – now there’s a slippery one… as elusive as trying to grab smoke.

We’re led to believe that it is an absolute thing, but unfortunately we’ve seen and we have learned that it is NOT equal and it is NOT easily attainable.

Someone asked me recently; “why are we here?” And I answered without even really thinking about it; “I think we were put here to plant flowers”…

By that, I mean that it’s up to each person, who is inclined to do so, to try and add more Beauty to a world that is too often marred by ugliness, to shine more Light in times when the darkness threatens to surround and swallow us up, to Love more fearlessly and ferociously in a time when hatred rears its head and wants to divide us, to help each other Heal from our past hurts and hostilities, and try to become our better selves.

That is why I’m here…

I tried to think of what Allison might say if she were here today, had she been spared – I think she most certainly would be here, talking to you, instead of me.

Who am I to speak for her? The question is more; who am I NOT to? She is MY sister, and she is YOUR sister, maybe not by blood but by the common humanity we all share. It could have been anybody that day – your brother, your sister, the woman or man who would become your mother or father. The government-issued bullets that found their deadly mark that day were lethal, uncaring and indiscriminate, and brought only violence, pain and death.

So, I’d have to agree with Allison – FLOWERS ARE BETTER THAN BULLETS!!!

Carlos Jones – May 4th, 2019

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April 6, 2019 by Laurel Krause

On the May 4, 1970 Kent State massacre, written by my father Arthur S. Krause to Richard M. Nixon and published in the New York Times on May 7, 1978 🌺

A Memo to Mr. Nixon:

In the published extracts from your memoirs, you blame the news media for misinterpreting your categorization of student demonstrators as “bums.” Your remark was made just a few days before my daughter, Allison, was killed at Kent State University, on May 4, 1970, and you say you were “stunned” to learn of her death, and that of the other students shot by Ohio National Guardsmen.

You claim that the days after the killings “were among the darkest” of your Presidency, and that you were “utterly dejected” when you read that I had said, “My daughter was not a bum.”

By reducing what I actually said to this simplistic capsule sentence, you are once again avoiding the crucial question I had asked eight years ago: “Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because she disagrees deeply with the actions of her Government?”

Your sympathy was such that you had to write personal letters to the parents of the four dead students, even though you “knew that words could not help.” If this is true, then why did you make such a mockery of your private grief for our sons and daughters by publicly implying that they were responsible for their own deaths and their killers blameless?

“When dissent turns to violence,” you told the American people, “it invites tragedy,” but in your letter to my wife and me you expressed the hope that we could “take comfort from the sympathy the entire nation feels.” Words from fellow citizens, who really understood what had happened at Kent State, did help us, but from our President we expected much more than personal condolences and public political condemnation.

Presidential action would have immeasurably tempered our grief and anger at the deliberate shooting down of our children, and on May 16, 1970, John D. Ehrlichman personally assured me that there would be no “whitewash” of what had happened.

In other words, the Nixon Administration was committed to seeing that justice was done if Ohio exonerated all official and guardsmen from criminal responsibility, which a state grand jury did in October 1970.

The cruel duplicity in these claims to personal grief and desires for justice have just been exposed for what they truly are by NBC-TV news.

At a time (November 1970) when you well knew that I was almost begging for a Federal grand jury investigation of the killings, you instructed Attorney general John Mitchell not to convene a grand jury. How, I ask, does this square with your claims of personal sympathy?

You saw the photographs of the four young men and women shot to death at distances of 270 to almost 400 feet, and in your memoirs you say you “couldn’t get the photographs out of your mind.”

Watergate and the cover-up was your nemesis, but NBC-TV has not shown that your first obstruction of justice occurred six months after Kent State, when you “instructed” the Attorney General of the United States not to convene a Federal grand jury regardless of what the evidence might have warranted.

To learn of your personal veto of a Federal grand jury months before Justice Department officials were assuring me that killings were still under “intensive investigation” is to prove, in my opinion, all the charges leveled against in the Watergate scandal.

There is poetic justice in the fact that your self-serving account of deep sorry for the death of my daughter, Allison, and of Sand Scheuer, Jeff Miller and Bill Schroeder, should be published on the eve of NBC’s report on how you truly felt.

Is there to be no end to your deceptions, omissions and outright distortions of historical fact?

Kent State Truth Tribunal The Allison Center for Peace Peaceful Party

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