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— A quote from Stephanie D. Smith, career officer of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), named by KSU President Beverly Warren to chair the Kent Massacre 50th anniversary Commemoration Advisory Committee for May 4, 2020

By Mike Alewitz, May 21, 2019

Full disclosure:  I was a student antiwar and socialist activist who witnessed the bloodshed of May 4, 1970, when friends and fellow activists were gunned down by Ohio National Guardsmen at Kent State University.  

The appointment of a former CIA kingpin, Stephanie D. Smith, is an affront to the memory of the martyrs of the Kent and Jackson State Massacres and the millions of people that protested the war in Vietnam.

According to a KSU press release, Smith, now an associate professor in Kent’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, “will be a leader in creating, planning and executing all commemoration events, as well as overseeing plans and work with the May 4th Task Force, May 4 families and survivors and Kent State students, staff and faculty.”

Smith has been tasked to “work with the President’s Office and other groups to execute national and global May 4 projects for the commemoration.”

WHO IS CIA OPERATIVE STEPHANIE SMITH?

Stephanie D. Smith was a high-level supervisor of the CIA who retired in 2011, after 25 years of loyal service to the agency.

According to the university, “As a Senior Intelligence Service executive in the CIA, Smith led thousands of employees; designed and managed programs worth several billion dollars; interacted regularly with Congress; and traveled extensively, including throughout two war zones (Afghanistan and Iraq). She was selected as a member of CIA’s Senior Intelligence Service in 2000 and achieved its highest rank.”

Smith served as Executive Director for Administration at the National Security Council under National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice.

In 2003 she was a part of the leadership team when Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Attorney General John Ashcroft planned out and implemented the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation, forced nudity, sexual assault and other methods of torture used extensively against innocent civilians in Iraq and other locations.

After assisting Rice, Smith was suddenly elevated to Director of the CIA Directorate of Support, the largest section of the CIA, under Executive Director Kyle “Dusty” Foggo.

“I was promoted at a speed that astounded even me…in the process, I came to live by a standard, ‘Get there first and clean up your road kill later,’ Smith said. “If you had observed me during a typical work day, you would never have been able to tell I was a Christian woman,” she added.

In 2008, Dusty Foggo was indicted for illegally steering millions of dollars in CIA contracts to a friend. In the course the investigation, it turns out that he had his mistress (alleged to be Smith) hired to a $100,000 a year job, which explains Smith’s sudden good fortune. She avoided prison by turning state’s evidence against Foggo, after he dumped her for another mistress.

Smith seems remarkably lucky at landing plum jobs – including a professorship at Kent, without having the usually required PhD.

After Foggo was cleared out, Smith ended up at the Counterterrorism Communications Center where she reported to Undersecretary Karen Hughes who “was responsible for trying to polish the image of the US overseas in the wake of the Iraq war and the damaging Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal.”

And Amy Reynolds, dean of the College of Communication and Information, has the temerity to describe Smith as someone who “cares deeply about what May 4 means to Kent State, to history, to the First Amendment, to activism, to civil discourse, to our students and to the future.”

Smith’s job was cleaning up after the torturers. Out of all the faculty, staff and students that have shown themselves to value human life, this is the person that outgoing President Beverly Warren and incoming President Todd A. Diacon chose to head the commemoration honoring those that fell fighting for peace.

There is nothing accidental about the appointment – it is a message to all that Kent State University is going to spend a year sanitizing the events of May 4, 1970.

WHAT IS THE CIA?

If doing public relations for torturers doesn’t creep you out, it’s worth reviewing what the CIA really does – not the fictional TV version where the good guys capture evil terrorists, but the real story of billions of our tax dollars going to fund death squads, fundamentalist militias and militarist thugs. Stephanie Smith decided to spend her career glorifying them.

In all the world, few organizations are as feared and hated as the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).  Its sole purpose is to protect global profits for the US ruling class – it is unmatched as a ruthless, terrorist organization.

The CIA has not only been directly responsible for the torture and death of untold thousands of innocent people, it trains and installs the most sadistic henchmen of the world’s bloodiest dictators.

The CIA’s grisly history includes the overthrow of democratically elected governments in places like Iran, Guatemala, Indonesia and the Congo – and the installation and buttressing of the world’s most brutal torture states.

Today, as US warships steam towards Iran, it useful to consider Operation Ajax. This was a US organized coup that replaced the democratically-elected leader of Iran, Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, because of his plans to nationalize the oil industry. Mossadegh was replaced with the Shah, ushering in decades of mass torture.  Covert operations and inhuman sanctions continue to this day.

The CIA orchestrated direct military assaults in numerous countries, including the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. During the Vietnam War, the CIA initiated Operation Phoenix, a program that targeted thousands of Vietnamese civilians for assassination, rape, kidnapping and torture.

The CIA has targeted numerous popular leaders for extralegal assassination, including Fidel Castro, Rafael Trujillo and Patrice Lumumba.

In Central America, the CIA was involved in cocaine trafficking to benefit the right-wing terrorist Contras in Nicaragua and promoted fascist Death Squads in El Salvador and Honduras.

Congressional hearings in 1976, revealed that the CIA had been bribing journalists and editors for years.

As we can see by the numerous coups being orchestrated right now in Venezuela, the dirty tricks of the CIA have never stopped – they went on under Smith’s tenure and they are going on now.

WHAT HAPPENED AT KENT

On May 4, 1970, forty-nine years ago, at Kent State University, National Guardsmen fired a barrage of 67 bullets – killing four students and wounding nine more.

In some ways, the atmosphere leading up to the bloodshed is similar to today – with an isolated and increasingly unhinged President engaged in undermining the press and lying to the public.

On April 30th of that year, President Richard Nixon announced the invasion of Cambodia – a major escalation of the war in Southeast Asia.   His action sparked widespread outrage. At Kent State, a series of protests, rallies and events took place, including the torching of the ROTC building, a dilapidated wooden structure scheduled for demolition, under suspicious circumstances.

Using that event as a pretext, Governor James Rhodes ordered the Ohio National Guard to occupy the campus. Over the next two days, students were chased, bayoneted and clubbed by guardsmen, tear gas inundated the campus and helicopters with searchlights hovered overhead at night.

Nixon branded the student protesters as “bums.” Rhodes called them “worse than the brown shirts…we will use whatever force necessary to drive them out of Kent!” These inflammatory remarks laid the groundwork for repression.

On May 4, we gathered to protest the war and the military occupation of our university. Guardsmen, armed with live ammunition and firing tear-gas canisters, advanced on the peaceful group. We ran away, but the Guard continued the barrage.

Our gathering was dispersed, and the soldiers began to march away. Suddenly, without provocation, a group of Guardsmen spun around and fired their weapons.

We looked about in disbelief – the victims were unarmed and nowhere near the troops. Allison Krause, who had proudly marched in previous demonstrations, was 330 feet away from the nearest Guardsman, when she was fatally gunned down. A friend, Sandy Scheuer, was 390 feet away, walking to class. She was shot through the neck and killed. Another friend, Robbie Stamps, was almost 500 feet away when wounded.

Four young people lay dead: Allison Krause, Bill Schroeder, Sandy Scheuer and Jeffrey Miller. Among the nine wounded, Dean Kahler was paralyzed for life.

The killings at Kent were followed ten days later with a police barrage of bullets into a dormitory at Jackson State in Mississippi. James Earl Green and Phillip Lafayette Gibbs were gunned down and an unknown number of others were wounded. The African-American victims at Jackson did not receive the same attention as Kent.

GOVERNMENT INVOLVEMENT

To this day, the extent of government involvement in the massacre has never been fully explored. Among the many photos of May 4 are those of a paid FBI informant, Terry Norman, holding a pistol – he is in the crowd. His presence has never been fully explained – the truth of the massacre at Kent remains hidden in the fog of war.

For 49 years the truth has been covered up by the KSU administration, the state and federal governments. This has been a bipartisan effort including both Democratic and Republican politicians at the highest levels of government.

The ROTC building was burned under mysterious circumstances. An armed FBI informant was present. As was later revealed, the FBI was conducting massive and widespread disruption of the anti-war movement through its COINTELPRO program. We know that Lyndon B. Johnson authorized the CIA to undertake its own program of spying on US citizens – Operation Chaos.

The failure to seriously investigate these circumstances constitutes a cover up. We can and should demand an impartial investigation into these events – it’s never too late. We may never know all, but the struggle to find the truth will serve to educate and act as a brake for similar repression.

The warmakers and their academic-administrative toadies fear the truth. They want to continue the coverup of the killings at Kent and Jackson. They want to rewrite the history of US atrocities in Vietnam and around the world – so they may continue to advance their own economic policies of global plunder.

They require the ongoing massacre of the truth.

THE DEBATE AT KENT

Although the press has not yet covered it, there are plenty of people outraged about the appointment of Stephanie Smith. This is not just about the individual – it is about what she represents.

Not only have the events of one day, May 4,  been covered up – the larger history of Kent has been re-written as well. The mass anti-war movement, which mobilized thousands of KSU students, along with millions more across the country, has been largely removed from the commemoration programs, exhibits, books and articles.

The demands of our movement:  Bring the troops home now!  War machine off campus! Free all political prisoners! Money for jobs and education, not war!  These and other slogans that expressed our aspirations have been disappeared.

The history of militant student anti-war protest has been airbrushed away.  The murders have become a “tragic event” devoid of political content. The commemoration is not about honoring the martyrs that fought against imperialist slaughter – instead it is about looking inward, learning to communicate and having prayers to prevent such unfortunate events in the future.

“Don’t Mourn – Organize”has become “Mourn – Don’t Organize.”

The attempts to suppress and coopt history are hardly unexpected. In capitalist America, colleges and universities are tied to the government through webs of personnel, research, funding, etc. The idea that the KSU administration is an agent of change is wishful thinking.

MAY 4 TASK FORCE

For many years, the May 4 Task Force (M4TF), a student group, organized the yearly commemorations – at times waging important struggles to preserve the memory of the massacre, such as opposing the building of a gymnasium over the shooting site. They did much to educate the student body and keep the memory of May 4 alive.

However, M4TF largely excluded representatives from the mass anti-war organizations – the Student Mobilization Committee Against the War (SMC) was the country’s largest antiwar group and constituted the left wing of the movement – demanding immediate and complete withdrawal of all US forces from Southeast Asia.

The Cleveland Area Peace Action Coalition (CAPAC), the National Peace Action Coalition (NPAC), the New Mobilization Coalition (MOBE) were the central organizations that organized the mass demonstrations and reached out to the working class in trade unions, in the oppressed nationalities and into the armed forces.

These coalitions, that organized millions of people into anti-imperialist actions, were marginalized and excluded from May 4 events and history.

Fantasy histories were invented to fit the needs of a corporate education.  One was that Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and a small group of radicals heroically led a rebellion against the war. It’s true that SDS was a group of radical-minded activists with many dedicated individuals. It called the first march on Washington against the war in 1964 – an important action that broke with the generally pacifist anti-war movement by naming a specific imperialist war.

But 1964 was the last time that SDS, as a national organization, supported a unified national demonstration – opting instead for small-group civil disobedience and individual acts of resistance.

Despite its national abstention, at Kent there were many SDSers that, as individuals, played an invaluable role in educating and mobilizing for mass demonstrations like the 1969 Moratoriums that resulted in thousands of KSU students participating in marches and rallies.

But by creating this mythological history, it removes the participation of thousands of Kent students from antiwar actions. It attempts to make us observers, instead of participants.

Before the shootings on May 4, thousands of KSU marched in anti-war and civil liberties demonstrations. They, and millions like them, changed the course of history.

THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY

The leading figure in the M4TF over the past decades is Alan Canfora, who was shot in the wrist on May 4. He was famously seen waving a black flag at the Guardsmen. Canfora deserves credit for his many years of work on behalf of the M4TF, the families and victims of the shooting.

Canfora is a longtime Democratic Party official in Barberton, Ohio – a Clinton supporter in the center-right of the party. Regarding the development of a left wing in the party, he states his views forthrightly on his Facebook page:

“Putin and his bitches: Bernie Sanders, Donald Trump and Jill Stein. All hail Putin, mastermind of world politics, now it’s clear he owns Bernie, The Donald and Jill.” 

Through longevity and consistent self-promotion, Canfora established himself as the leading voice of M4TF, along with his sister Roseann “Chic” Canfora, an adjunct professor and colleague of Stephanie Smith in the School of Journalism, as well as a small coterie of liberal supporters of Democratic Party candidates.

More than anything, this grouping is insistent that any questioning about possible covert governmental involvement in the massacre be dismissed as conspiratorialist – because it raises the responsibility of the Democratic Party in the decades-long cover-up.

None of this has ever mattered much until now. I believe they are making a profound mistake by aligning themselves with the CIA and KSU administration.

The M4TF, which previously had a symbiotic relationship with KSU, has now relinquished complete control of the commemoration and handed it over to the administration. For their part, the administration is attempting to co-opt a handful of M4TF activists – rewarding them with invitations to dine with President Beverly Warren and the trustees, attend meetings, be part of a corporate speaker’s bureau and get some public attaboys.

It was after taking control of the commemoration, and with key M4TF leaders on board, Warren promptly named CIA agent Smith to head up the commemoration.

KSU is attempting to promote itself as a leading research institution – the appointment of Smith is a message to corporate, military and government officials that KSU is open for business and will not be bothered by pesky remembrances of the antiwar movement.

STONEWALLING AND EXCUSES

To date, KSU administrators have not responded to demands that Smith be dumped – leaving defense of the CIA to the Democratic Party clique. Despite very fundamental political disagreements, it saddens me to see some of these activists left holding the bag to defend the CIA, no small task. So far, the justifications of those that defend the CIA operative are these:

Justification: You don’t know her, I do, and she is a good person.

Not all CIA officials are right-wing ideologues. The CIA has often adopted a mantle of progressive politics, even expressing a wish to help groups – that is how they infiltrate unions, student groups and other left organizations. For example, this was how liberal feminist icon Gloria Steinem was recruited to spy on radical activists in Europe.

There are CIA snoops that are nice, personable and funny – just as there are generals, arms dealers and warmakers that seem nice, personable and funny. Henry Kissinger was considered a charmer in the 70s – he dated Hollywood starlets.

Justification: You are not from Kent or have not been involved in the May 4 Task Force, so your opinion doesn’t matter.

After the shootings in 1970, you could already see a cottage industry beginning to grow up around the massacre. There was the emergence of Kent “experts,” most of whom had been marginally involved in the antiwar movement, if at all.

Knowledge of the on-the-ground May 4 events is important, but the broader context of the war and the antiwar movement is critical. Pandering to “experts” and baiting movement activists that have moved on with their lives and do not relate directly to the campus is counter-productive.

To their credit, and as recently documented in Tom Grace’s book about the Kent Massacre, many activists of the time became active in the emerging social movements of the 70s until today – working in solidarity with struggles in Central America, in the Iraq anti-war movement, in the feminist movement and a myriad of other social justice issues.

May 4 does not belong to any one group. The children in Cuba that named their school The Martyrs of Kent School are part of our movement.  The people that participated in the Kent Truth Tribunal are part of it. The anti-war activists that sponsor Kent events around the country are part of it.  The millions of people that protested the massacre over all these years are part of it.

The young person that got involved just yesterday is part of it – perhaps most importantly of all. The history of the working class and its allies belongs to the class as a whole.

Justification: We’ve been part of the commemoration activities for a long time so you should trust us.

The history of the labor and other social movements has continually shown us that blind trust has no place in the movement or in the university. People change.  Groups change. Regardless of past accomplishments, you should be judged by what you say and do now.

Justification: I am a victim/survivor/family/witness, so I get to decide, and I like Stephanie Smith.

No, you are due consideration like everyone else.

In my travels as an agitprop muralist, I’ve seen the result of CIA initiated embargoes, sanctions, sabotage, dirty tricks and US military actions in places like Nicaragua, Cuba, Iraq and Palestine.

Hundreds of thousands of children and elderly have died for lack of medications because of economic sanctions. The mothers of Venezuela or Iran or a dozen other countries whose children suffer and die because of the CIA are also victims. The countless torture casualties in places like Nicaragua are victims. Would you tell them how nice the CIA lady is?

The martyrs of the anti-war and anti-racist movements deserve better than the grotesque mockery of a representative of the repressive apparatus officiating at the commemoration.

This will not go away. We would not be silenced in 1970 and we will not be silenced now.

While it is unfortunate that some individuals have decided to align themselves with the KSU administration and the CIA, keep in mind that they are not responsible for the CIA recruitment on campus or the appointment of Smith.

It is outgoing President Beverly Warren, incoming President Todd A. Diacon and the Board of Trustees that are responsible for this travesty and must be held to account.

THE 1970 NATIONAL STUDENT STRIKE

The KSU administration has purportedly earmarked $2m for an extensive, yearlong series of activities about May 4. It is unlikely that the festivities will honor the true legacy of the antiwar movement and how it transformed society.

The shootings at Kent sparked an unprecedented national student strike – hundreds of thousands of students stopped business as usual. At least 400 campuses were struck – many were occupied, and students began to form strike councils to take control of the universities.

Students began meeting, discussing, debating, creating and using their campuses as a base for organizing – reaching deep into the heart of the country with their anti-war message. We provided support to the thousands of active-duty anti-war GIs that became a key factor in ultimately compelling the US to withdraw from Southeast Asia.

On May 7, 1970, at a Washington, D. C. press conference, I gave a statement on behalf of the Kent Student Mobilization Committee (SMC), along with strike leaders from Berkeley, Wayne State, Case Western Reserve and Tufts. We called for it to be introduced and adopted in student strike councils across the nation. It read in part:

We call on the campus communities now in control of campus facilities to maintain that control and to preserve the broadest student-faculty unity in the face of all attempts to divide them.

We call on the campus communities that have not yet taken control of their campus facilities to do so and to join with their sisters and brothers across the country in utilizing the facilities to mobilize non-campus communities against the war.

We call on the united campus communities to reach out into all communities- into the neighborhoods, the labor unions, the Afro-American and other Third World organizations, the churches and synagogues, the women’s groups, the political associations, the military installations – and organize the new, united antiwar movement that will have the power to actually compel an end to the killing abroad as well as at home. 

That proposal for mass actions and occupations stood in stark contrast to calls for individual resistance or toothless electoral activity.  Instead, it advanced a national course of action to fundamentally challenge the power of the warmakers.

We were fighting for the empowerment of students and workers.  That history is unlikely to be included in the 2020 May 4 events.

THE STRUGGLE AHEAD

The decade-long struggle over Vietnam proved that only a massive movement could end the war.  Then, as now, peace did not come from a government that is without compassion or vision – wars and occupations cannot be ended by a timid and impotent legislature that continues to fund the war machine.

Today, the “resistance” of Democratic Party officials is a toothless sound bite. The “progressive” candidates talk peace while voting to fund US military adventures abroad. They cover up their support to the war on workers abroad by giving lip service to some tepid reforms here at home.

Over the next year, there will not only be numerous commemorative events about Kent. Millions of dollars were also allocated to the Pentagon by the Obama White House to commemorate the war in Vietnam. These millions will be utilized to obscure the truth about U.S. involvement in Southeast Asia and repression here at home.

The real history of the genocidal war will be suppressed. There will be little place for truth, or even facts. The unprecedented assault on Julian Assange should remind us how much the warmakers fear the truth.

Fifty years have passed, and the stakes facing working people are greater than at any time in human history. Today, along with rising nationalism and permanent war, we face nothing less than the extinction of our species in a carbon-based nightmare of climate change denial. 

As in 1970, our hope for a more peaceful future lies with our own empowerment. Protests continue against US wars and occupations, environmental destruction, racism and sexism. Millions of immigrants have shed their invisibility in a great new movement for civil and human rights.

Only international solidarity can put an end to the insanity of corporate greed. Only working people can halt the warmakers, by organizing a massive movement to demand an end to the lies and an end to the bloodshed.

The way to honor the martyrs of Kent and Jackson is to end the cover up of the massacres and to continue the struggle for peace and social justice. The true memorial must be in the streets!

END ALL U.S. WARS AND OCCUPATIONS!

HANDS OFF VENEZUELA AND IRAN!

BRING ALL THE TROOPS HOME NOW!

MONEY FOR EDUCATION, NOT WAR!

WAR MACHINE OFF CAMPUS!

– – – – – – – – – – – –

Mike Alewitz/ May 21, 2019

Mike Alewitz was the founder and Chairman of the Kent Student Mobilization Committee Against the War in Vietnam (SMC).  He was an eyewitness to the murders and a leader of the national student strike which followed.

Alewitz has remained a lifelong labor and social justice activist.  He is Professor Emeritus of Mural Painting at Central CT State University.

– – – – – – – – –

Appointment of Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2JrmSGU

Biography of Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2VmCPFR

Remembering the Kent State and Jackson State massacres: http://bit.ly/2PAXtMc

CIA Official to Chair Commemoration: http://bit.ly/2HfOb4y

Interview with Stephanie Smith: http://bit.ly/2QbZM8C

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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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March 8, 2019 by Laurel Krause

On International Women’s Day during Women’s History Month as I write this remembrance for my sister Allison Krause, I hope you’ll support and help us complete our work in the Kent State Truth Tribunal culminating at the 50th anniversary, May 4, 2020. We seek your backing now.

My big sister Allison was a beloved, kind, intelligent and compassionate 19-year-old honors student and protester killed on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University who stood for the cause of peace and against the Vietnam war. Like her friends, Allison questioned authority, was politically active against the war and was upset her generation was being forced to risk their lives on a wrongful war in Southeast Asia. It was President Nixon’s April 30, 1970 speech expanding the Vietnam war into Cambodia, and days later when he called students “bums,” that provoked Allison’s decision to protest on May 4th.

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

On May 3, 1970 in a heated exchange with Ohio National Guardsmen Allison said, “Flowers are better than bullets” and it is written on her memorial stone.

Allison’s last stand for peace at Kent State turned into a domestic military battle just after noon on the KSU Commons. As students changed classes, took lunch and protesters rallied against the war on May 4, 1970 at Kent State, the Ohio National Guardsmen opened fired with live ammunition at unarmed student protesters, many more than a football field away from the shooters, killing four and critically wounding nine. Our Allison was one of the “four dead in Ohio,” as Neil Young sang.

If you were young then, you remember where you were, the despair you felt and you probably experienced the malice hurled at so many of us. One of the sticking points for young people back then was voting rights. If you were under 21 years old in May 1970, you weren’t even legally permitted to vote either for or against the war. The killings at Kent State and 11 days later at Jackson State were seminal traumas in the personal lives of a generation and in our collective remembrance of May 1970.

If you weren’t alive back then, you probably haven’t been able to learn the truth at Kent State since the teaching of May 4, 1970 history has been censored from U.S. school curricula and existing teaching materials are still sanitized by those managing an Orwellian view of Kent State.

Since these assassinations were government-led, as they were at both Kent State and Jackson State, we saw how authorities refused accountability, denied truth and instead focused on managing the cover-ups. These killings of young American citizens and protesters, essentially at the hands of their own government, came on the heels of a decade of the tragic murders and cover-ups surrounding John F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. All of this was in the context of the struggles for civil rights, and the horrible violence of the Vietnam war, where over 58,000 Americans were killed, and the US was responsible for the deaths of 3 million Vietnamese. That war came home to kill even more innocents at Kent State. The untold history must be acknowledged with the official narratives of May 4 set right. May 4, 1970 was a day that changed America.

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

In 2019 the U.S. government continues to censor and harass those who seek truth while crippling proper investigations and denying credible evidence. The Kent State massacre remains at the top of the heap in this regard. When a government refuses truth, it also negates the possibility of collective and personal healing. These 48 years since Allison was killed have taught me “the path to peace is paved in truth.”

In 2010 truth burst forth in the examination of credible audio evidence, uncovering Kent State commands-to-fire isolated in expert forensic examination commissioned by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Stuart Allen examined a tape recorded on a 1970 KSU dormitory window ledge. He digitally examined the audio and heard verified Kent State commands-to-fire that had been denied for 40 years. Further studies allege COINTELPRO involved. Despite this new, earth-shaking evidence, the US Department of Justice and Kent State University reacted by ignoring it. Read Project Censored on Kent State and the forensic audio evidence, written by Mickey Huff and Laurel Krause http://bit.ly/2vherUw.

In May 2010 just as forensic expert Stuart Allen examined the Kent State tape, Emily Aigner Kunstler and I launched the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Emily, daughter of the legendary radical attorney William Kunstler and a social justice documentary filmmaker, organized pop-up recording studios honoring and recording original participants and witnesses of the Kent State massacre. We filmed more than 80 testimonials of ‘those who were there’ at three truth tribunals (Kent, San Francisco, New York), organized in the 40th anniversary year of the Kent State massacre.

Through first-person narratives, or what we call Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) testimonials, Kunstler asked evocative, neutral questions, interviewing university professors, KSU students who survived Ohio National Guard gunfire, Kent townspeople who were in elementary school … now grown adults, wounded KSU students, family members from those who were killed and other voices from all walks of life.

  • Hear the voices of the Kent State massacre in this ‘Best of Flashpoints’ with Dennis J. Bernstein, Emily Aigner Kunstler and Laurel Krause on KPFA recorded August 2010, starts at ~25min. http://bit.ly/LdlALM.
  • Watch a people’s history of Kent State, heard before the Kent State Truth Tribunal and gathered from Facebook. http://bit.ly/PXeRpW

Seeking your tax-deductible DONATION to the Kent State Truth Tribunal through our fiscal sponsor the Institute for Media Analysis.

By the 50th Kent State on May 4, 2020 our aim is to launch an online archive where the Kent State Truth Tribunal archive of testimonials may be viewed individually, yet also integrated into a digital database for inquiry and search. Learning history in a whole new way from those who were there. Students, scholars and those who want to learn truth at Kent State may directly ‘search’ via an intuitive, elegant interface. Utilizing emerging digital search technologies, testimonial videos, transcripts, photographs and all sorts of media become accessible, available for study to all for free on the Internet 24/7.

To accomplish this goal we need your help! We will ready all KSTT content: final each testimonial, output into multiple formats and save/highlight the jewels for use in the creations of social media shorts. We will also process the testimonials through transcription, tagging and formatting for the digital database with a goal is to make the “people’s history” of Kent State available to all.

We’re seeking your DONATIONS to get Kent State Truth Tribunal work done. We’ve raised $6,000 towards our $35,000 goal so we’re looking at $29,000 needed to ready Kent State Truth Tribunal content and further our objectives for truth. Let’s establish and begin building the “people’s history of Kent State.”

As we approach the Kent State 50th anniversary on May 4, 2020 we have questions. Do you think it’s important to include truth in the story of Kent State? Do you want to learn truth from those who were there? Do you want Kent State truth taught to your kids, and to your kids’ kids?  We still want answers.

By contributing, you further truth and act against those who insist the Kent State massacre was merely a forgettable “unfortunate incident.”

Our commitment to Kent State truth is founded on human rights, truth, accountability and for the protection of protesters. In 2014 we took our cause before the United Nations to the US 4th periodic review where we learned that when the Ohio National Guard shot and killed protesters, their acts were an international concern in that a government is not permitted to kill protesters. International law states when protesters are killed by the state, the government must offer redress and amends to survivors.

The US government has failed to properly investigate Kent State and has offered insufficient redress or amends to any of the Kent State survivors despite admitting, “In 1970, four students were killed, were murdered.” In April 2019 the Kent State Truth Tribunal submission to participate in the United Nations 5th periodic review was accepted. We look forward to returning to the United Nations in the coming days.

Will you please join us in our quest for justice, and our demand for Kent State Truth?

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Early December 2018 by Gerald V. Casale, Devo co-founder, songwriter, director

Full text of the Noisey publication: ‘We Are Drowning in a Devolved World: An Open Letter from Devo’

In 2018, fifteen years after becoming eligible, Devo were nominated for the Rock’Roll Hall of Fame. I was immediately struck by the timing of our sudden recognition. For me, Devo has been a long journey littered with broken dreams but the nomination compelled me to put things in perspective. I know that many are called but few are chosen.

Forty-eight years ago on May 4, 1970, as a member of SDS (Students for a Democratic Society) I was front and center being fired on by my fellow Americans at Kent State University as we protested President Nixon’s expansion of the cancerously unpopular Vietnam War into Cambodia without an act of Congress. I was lucky and dodged the bullet, both literally and figuratively, but four students were killed and nine more were seriously wounded by the armed, mostly teen-aged, National Guard troops. Two of the four students killed, Alison Krause and Jeffery Miller, were close acquaintances of mine. Less then a year earlier as an Admissions / Curriculum counselor to incoming students, I had admitted them to the Honors College program

May 4th changed my life and I truly believe Devo would not exist without that horror. It made me realize that all the Quasar color TVs and Swanson TV dinners and Corvettes and Sofa Beds in the world didn’t mean we were actually making progress…the future not only could be as barbaric as the past, it would most likely be. The dystopian novels “1984”, “Animal Farm” and “Brave New World” suddenly seemed not so much cautionary tales about the encroaching fusion of technological advances with the centralized, authoritarian power of the state, but actually more like subversive road maps to condition the intelligentsia for what was to come.

Working with my Kent State poet friend, Bob Lewis, a philosophy emerged fueled by the revelations that linear progress in a consumer society was a lie. Things were not getting better. There were no flying cars and domed cities as promised in Popular Science, rather there was a dumbing down of the population engineered by right-wing politicians, Televangelists, and Madison Avenue. I called what we saw “De-evolution” based upon the tendency toward entropy across all human endeavors. Borrowing the tactics of the Mad Men era of our childhood, we shortened the name of the idea to the marketing friendly, “Devo”. We were not left-wing politicos. We were more informed by Jungian principles of duality in human nature and realized human flaws spread out across the political spectrum. Hence: “We’re All Devo,” an idea from which we did not exempt ourselves.

We witnessed an America where the capacity for critical thought and reasoning were eroding fast; people mindlessly repeated slogans from political propaganda and ad campaigns – “America Love it or leave it”, “Don’t Ask Why, Drink Bud Dry,” “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby,” even risk-free feel-good slogans like “Give Peace a Chance.” There was an emerging Corporate Feudal State. You were either inside the draw bridge at night or outside with the gnashing of teeth. More and more it seemed like the only real threat to consumer society was meaning, turning sloganeering on it’s head for sarcastic or subversive means, making people notice that they were being moved and manipulated by marketing, not by well-meaning friends disguised as mom-and-pop. If the message wasn’t sex, drugs and rock n roll, there could be hell to pay. Rebellion appeared hopelessly obsolete. Creative subversion seemed the only viable course of action. We of course mixed our outrage with equal parts satire and dark humor. What else could a poor boy do?

Prior to the resignation of the nefarious Richard M Nixon I partnered with a new collaborator, Mark Mothersbaugh, and with his musical prowess we found the sonic alchemy for the Devo aesthetic. We formed a band of brothers around the philosophy of Devolution, never dreaming that two decades into the 21st century, everything we had theorized had not only been proved, but became worse than we had imagined.

In the late 1960’s early 1970’s, with an informed, educated electorate there were fervent, sustained and greatly publicized protests against the suppression of information and the crushing blows to liberty by the illegitimate authority of the state. That’s why more than one thousand of us were on the Commons that day at Kent State in 1970. We were outraged by Nixon’s threat to the separation of powers under the US constitution. There were facts. The illegal actions we were responding to, our legal protests, and the bullets fired against us were facts. There was meaning in those facts. Acknowledging those facts, and reacting against them, was a part of the process that kept Democracy alive.

Presently the fabric that holds a society together has shredded in the wind. Everyone has their own facts, their own private Idaho stored in their expensive cellular phones. The ear buds are in, the feedback loops are locked and the Frappuccino’s are flowing freely. Social media provides the highway straight back to Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. The restless natives react to digital shadows on the wall, reduced to fear, hate and superstition. There are climate change deniers and there are even more who think that the climate is being maliciously manipulated by corporate conglomerates owned by the Central Bank to achieve global control of resources and wealth. If only that James Bond-style fantasy were true, I would be much more excited about the future which I fear is more of a slow-death conspiracy of dunces like Mike Judge’s movie, “Idiocracy”, the movie Devo should have made.

We are drowning in a devolved, WWF smackdown-style world with warring, huckster TV pundits from “The Left” and “The Right” distracting the clueless TV viewership while our vile, venal Mobster in Chief (who makes Idiocracy’s Macho Camacho look fit for office) and his corrupt minions rob the nation’s coffers in a shamelessly cruel, Grab ‘Em By The Pussy, Kleptocracy. They reflect the prevailing mentality of the electorate. Its as if Christopher Nolan wrote the script for America where Trump is the Joker handing out Cabinet positions to The Suicide Squad: Hey, Betsy “you hate public education? How’d you like to run the Department of Education? Scott, you don’t give a shit about poisoning the environment for your kids and grandkids, right? Here’s your new office, Pal. Don’t forget that soundproof phone booth!” ETC. ETC.

The rise of authoritarian leadership around the globe fed by ill-informed populism is well documented at this point. And with it we see the ugly specter of increased racism and anti-Semitism. It’s open season on those who gladly vote against their own self-interests. The exponential increase in suffering for more and more of the population is heartbreaking to see. Especially because the victims take it bending over with no lube! “Freedom of Choice is what you got. Freedom from Choice is what you want. O, yeah, those Devo clowns said that in 1980.” In the 1957 film, “A Face in the Crowd”, Lonesome Rhodes is destroyed when his live TV microphone is left on while he insults the intelligence of his viewers as the show credits role. Not so today. The crowd laughs and cheers him on! “We don’t want the apples. The apples are bad for us!” a la “Animal Farm”.

So, let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late. Perhaps the reason Devo was even nominated after 15 years of eligibility is because western society seems locked in a death wish. Devo doesn’t skew so outside the box anymore. Maybe people are a bit nostalgic for our DIY originality and substance. We were the canaries in the coalmine warning our fans and foes of things to come in the guise of the Court Jester, examples of conformity in extremis in order to warn against conformity. We were certainly not the one-hit wonders like the dismissive rock press likes to say we were. We have always been the Rodney Dangerfields of Rock N Roll. We were polarizing because we did not “play ball” with the sex, drugs, rock n roll messaging dictum.

But today Devo are merely the house band on the Titanic. With three generations of fans, ten studio albums, five live albums, scores of singles, scores of music videos (a format which we pioneered) and eight world tours committed to history since our debut record, “Are We Not Men? We Are Devo” released in 1978 we stood the test of time. 2020 will be the 40th anniversary of our “Freedom of Choice” record. Don’t be surprised to see us on tour in our iconic, red “Energy Domes” that year as we careen toward the latest Presidential election/selection. Speaking truth to power is a never-ending battle. In the best-case scenario we avoid sinking into the abyss and, as a society, scratch ourselves back to square one.

Is there any question that De-evolution is real?

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Kent State University, May 4, 2017 by Pat LaMarche

Good Afternoon. I’d like to thank May 4th Task Force for having me here with you today.

It is my great and solemn honor to speak to you today.

I was an unusually politically aware nine-year-old kid, trying to make sense of a country spinning out of control, when the federalized troops of the Ohio National Guard opened fire here, at Kent State.

See, when I was growing up, my dad had strict rules about television watching. On school nights the only tv we could watch, was the news. Hind sight being what it is, I probably should have been allowed to watch I Dream of Jeannie or The Munsters and thereby skipped the nightly diet of poverty, race riots and war.

I look back and remember sitting in front of a black and white tv, at truths too upsetting for living color. As the decades have gone by, the contrast has been turned up on the black and white reality that poured out at me each night. I look back now at moments that get more vivid as details emerge. As a journalist, I’m grateful that these stories continue to evolve.

Because of my parents’ news rules, I grew up watching the Vietnam War unfold. I grew up watching civil rights showdowns. I grew up knowing that all too often brute force was the solution to – well – to everything.

One of those school nights when I sat down to watch tv was May 4th 1970. I remember being horrified, confused, disbelieving. I remember being frightened. I better remember my mom, once again hunched over at our kitchen table, grieving – as she had when Martin Luther King Jr. and then Bobby Kennedy were shot.

There was no shortage of black and white tragedy shaping my world. The citizenry used brute force on each other. My government used brute force in foreign countries. Police forces and sheriff’s departments used billy clubs, fire hoses and dogs on protesters. And then, at Kent State, the federal government used brute force on privileged white college kids.

Kent State shocked violence weary white America like nothing before had.

Everyone paying attention to the news in 1970 knew two things. Before Kent State, you had to fit into a couple of categories in order to get killed. You had to be famous. You had to have put yourself out there. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., John and Bobby Kennedy, Malcolm X.

Or you had to be some nosey do-gooder looking for trouble in the deep south, like, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner.

But, if by some chance you were some innocent by stander, well then you had to be black.

Kent State changed all that. Kent State threatened privileged Americans. White draft deferred college kids could be killed just walking to class.

But there was another frightening distinction at Kent State.

Before Kent State, trigger happy police departments killed protestors – as was the case when the South Carolina highway patrol perpetrated the Orangeburg massacre. But at Kent State, in full violation of the United States Constitution, the U.S. military opened fire on the American people. Tanks rolled into town. Check points were set up. And U.S. Army forces terrorized the populace.

Yesterday, on our way into Kent, we detoured and stopped at the Robinson Memorial hospital now University Hospital. That’s where Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, William Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer along with other victims went after being shot. That’s where their parents went to identify their children’s bodies. I’ll be writing a piece for my page at the Huffington Post later this week, and you’ll be able to see the short video we made in the hallway where 15-year-old Laurel Krause stood waiting for her parents to identify her dead sister.

As we left, I thanked the woman volunteering at the front desk. Ruby’s her name and she’s 73. I asked her if she remembered the Kent State shootings. She did. Her oldest child went to a local grade school, until the national guard took it over as a military occupation outpost. She had twin two year olds. Late in the day on May 4th she realized she had no milk in the house. She got in her car and headed for the market only to be stopped at a military checkpoint. She told me that the guardsman trained his rifle at her and demanded to know where she was going. She had the kids in the car. She pointed to them and said, “I’m going to get my babies some milk.”

May 4, 1970 was a bad day. That’s how Ruby remembers it. That’s how we all should remember it.

I’d like to take a moment and congratulate Kent State University on their long – now completed march – toward their National Landmark designation. Last October, I had the distinct honor of escorting Mary Vecchio to the public hearing hosted by the National Park Landmark Commission. The photograph of Mary – a teenage runaway – her arms outstretched, kneeling over Jeffrey Miller’s body became the image of Kent State for a long time.

It was an image the school desperately wanted to shake.

Many of you know that. If you attended yesterday’s panel discussion about the National Landmark designation, you know that the university wanted to forget the shootings ever happened. By 1977 enrollment was down, and the school – perhaps rightfully – thought that people didn’t want to send their kids to a place where kids got killed.

Kent wanted a new image. What better way to say, Kent State focuses on a healthy living student body, then with a new gym?

But instead of dulling the memory of Kent State, the effort to build a gym invigorated it. Survivors returned to campus. Aggrieved parents returned to the scene where their precious children died. And while strong arm tactics such as tear gas were used again on the students, deadly force was not.

Nixon was gone. J Edgar Hoover was gone. Months earlier Jimmy Carter had pardoned the young men who protested the war by fleeing the country and the draft. The country wanted to heal.

This is the 40th anniversary of that gym protest and as such the discussion this year has taken a slight turn from the killing and injuring of 13 students to the wanton disregard for history and the conscious desire to obliterate if not blur the scene of the crime.

When I brought Mary Vecchio to those hearings it was because she too felt that the story wasn’t complete. Mary’s story, Ruby’s story, that are all a part of the Kent State story. Nixon’s scorched earth policy of killing students, terrifying young moms on an errand to get milk, illegally bombing foreign nations gave way to trees planted on a hillside, a new gymnasium, ugly attacks Allison Krause’s reputation, imprisoning Mary Vecchio in reform school.

This past October, the historians at the National Park Service public forum, agreed with Mary Vecchio. They discussed at great length and with great respect the value of eyewitness accounts. They urged Kent State to include as many of them as possible.

Sometimes human nature gets the better of us. We shy away from people who make a fuss. Who show their anger. Consequently, some historians and institutions want sanitized history. Just the bare bones that can be independently confirmed, not all that fleshy humanity that gives an historic event it’s depth, it’s color, it’s warmth. Historians can shy away from eyewitness accounts because humans sometimes have funny ways of remembering things. Memories are colored by emotions, past experiences, subsequent tragic consequences.

The landmark commission reminded Kent State that they can have both. They can have the historic skeleton of verifiable facts and they can have the raw emotion that rips through the heart of a murder victims’ father. With so many living eye witnesses, Kent State can compile a vibrant historiography to accompany their memorials in the parking lot.

What Mary remembered so vividly, the shattered glass from car windows, Allison Krause’s foaming last attempts to speak, Jeffrey Millers blood running like a stream away from his body, they are vivid and they are real and they are every bit as sacred to the story of Kent State as the pagoda where the soldiers turned and fired.

You want to know the history of human rights in the United States? Then you need to know about the FBI manhunt for Mary Vecchio. You need to know that the governor of Florida blamed her for the deaths of her friends. You need to know everything you can possibly know about everyone shot at that day and the community in which they lived. And when their stories are included, then Kent State, your historic landmark will have preserved history and not just in black and white, but in real living color.

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April 9, 2017

Last week I received a package from the daughter of a woman who helped my sister Allison Krause as she was dying in the Kent State University parking lot. The package contained a greeting card, an image of Dr. Marion Stroud (Allison’s helper), a Letter to the Editor at the Akron Beacon Journal that she wrote shortly after May 4, 1970 and a handkerchief with Allison’s blood … a relic from that day.

Here is the Letter to the Editor written and sent by Dr. Marion Stroud –

To The Editor:

I was with two of the students who were shot and killed by National Guardsmen at Kent Monday and for their sake I want to tell it like it was.

The Guardsmen had marched up the hill after leaving the football practice field. Kids were following them up, some shouting and probably some throwing small stones — there were no “baseball size” rocks available. Without warning the Guards stopped at the top of the hill and fired a long volley of rifle shots into the crowd below.

Many of the kids dropped to the ground and others ran behind the building. There was discussion as to whether the shots were blanks but in seconds we knew they were not. There were kids gathering around the wounded.

THE BOY who died first was shot in the back of the neck. He lay in a vast puddle of his young blood. His friends tried to stop the flow, but he had no pulse nor breath and we all realized he was dead.

There was a cry from a group trying to help a big, beautiful young girl who was lying in the parking lot, shot in the armpit. We tried to put enough scarves and handkerchiefs into the hole to stop the bleeding. She was breathing a little but as we waited for the ambulance I saw her lips go white and her eyes glaze over, and I realized she wouldn’t make it, either.

Five or six victims were picked up on stretchers and those of us who had been fired on stood in small groups trying to figure out why the soldiers had turned and fired without warning. Most of us in that area had been walking away when the shooting started.

THOSE WHO died weren’t wild, SDS bearded hippies. They were kids like my sons and daughters. They came to the Commons for a peace rally. They wanted to know how to get the word to our government that the Vietnam war is immoral and its extension into Cambodia intolerable.

After the shooting one young man said, “You think this bloody mess is awful, just imagine what the kids have to do every day in Vietnam — kill, kill, kill. Plenty of blood in the streets there.”

Listen to them. You know in your hearts, they’re right.

I’m no kid. I’m over 40 and the mother of seven children.

MARION STROUD, Graduate Student, Kent State University

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On October 19, 2016 before the US Dept of the Interior and the National Park Service, the Kent State Massacre nomination for National Historic Landmark status was heard. Please read Mary Ann Vecchio’s comment before the nomination advisory board in Washington, D.C. offered on October 19, 2016:

©1970 John Filo. All Rights reserved.

©1970 John Filo. All Rights reserved.

My name is Mary Ann Vecchio. I am the 14-year-old in the iconic, Pulitzer-prize-winning photo taken at Kent State. I am pictured kneeling above the body of 20-year old Jeff Miller as he lay dying. I am here because I am deeply concerned about this application to designate Kent State as a National Historic Landmark. I am also a member of the National Parks Service, an institution that I love from the core of my being.

Like so many of us present at the Kent State shootings, I have carried profound life-long consequences for my presence at the massacre site. My exclusion from this process is an indication of how poorly it has been executed.

Kent State University does not own the narrative of what took place on May 4, 1970. It belongs to each of us there that day, those injured, whose lives were forever altered, and above all to the families of those killed. That fateful day harmed all of us and this exclusionary process which seeks to rewrite the truth is newly re-victimizing.

I have had a chance to review the 144-page landmark nomination report and have come before you to say that the facts included in the report are inaccurate and incomplete. A credible account of the Kent State shootings is not being presented to the Department of Interior in this landmark nomination.

Kent State University has only allowed one side of the truth to be told over these last 46 years, yet it has not been challenged for this revisionism. At what point can the victims and witnesses present at Kent State be heard and stop being subjected to these untruths and distortions? The government injured us once and we are before a government commission again. We cannot bring back those lost at Kent State so all we have at this point is the truth.

There are many elements and recent developments completely censored from the nomination report, I will list just a few that have meaning for me:

New forensic evidence emerged in 2010 which established a command to fire, debunking the idea that the national guard acted spontaneously. This evidence, produced by forensic scientist Stuart Allen, was not even mentioned in the landmark report. Stuart Allen’s analysis points to government complicity at Kent State – a central feature of the accountability the victims have been seeking for decades.

On a more symbolic note but one dear to me, Neil Young’s anthem to the Kent State massacre, the popular song Ohio, is also not mentioned in the KSU nomination report.

Finally, the photo which exposed me to public scrutiny for decades is not explored in this report. I am happy to honor those harmed at Kent State with the circulation of that iconic photograph, an indication of how well-known and well-documented the massacre has been, but it grieves me deeply to know that the vast exposure of this historic event can result in a report so weighted with untruths. I deserve the truth, those killed at Kent State deserve the truth, and the American people as a whole certainly do too.

I have other objections to the content of the landmark application which I am happy to share if my further participation is invited by the Landmark Commission.

I am asking the National Parks Service to please pause, and listen to all concerned about this project, certainly not just Kent State University’s purported experts.

 



From Pat LaMarche in the Huffington Post on the Kent State massacre landmark nomination hearing, October 19, 2016 http://huff.to/2dwIqmU

The Kent State University landmark nomination report on the Kent State massacre that occurred May 4, 1970 http://bit.ly/2cIV1lO

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