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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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