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May 6, 2011

Dear Mr. President & General Holder,

My sister Allison Krause was killed at Kent State on May 4, 1970. I co-founded the Kent State Truth Tribunal with Emily Kunstler and we opened our doors for the first of three tribunals last year right around this time.

On May 1-4, 2010 we recorded, preserved and honored the stories of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings on May 4, 1970. It was a blessing that my mother Doris Krause, 85, was able to be present for the beginning of the Kent State healing.

As I returned to my home in California, I received word from Mom that the Kent State Tape had been examined for the very first time and a story was breaking in the Plain Dealer tomorrow, article here http://bit.ly/aM7Ocm That she had given a quote applauding the news of this long-denied order to shoot. That it had been analyzed and verified by Mr. Stuart Allen, a top forensic scientist (also Stuyvestant colleague of General Holder).

In October 2010 at the Kent State Truth Tribunal, we invited Mr. Allen to participate as a meaningfully-involved participant, to examine the Kent State Tape before our cameras. At KSTT-NYC, I received word that there was more than the command on the Kent State Tape. That Mr. Allen, in preparing for his KSTT testimonial, discovered a violent altercation recorded just 70 seconds before the national guard command to fire and ensuing barrage, 67 shots for 13 seconds. Read http://bit.ly/als1xB

As we opened our doors in NYC for our KSTT on October 9-10, 2010, and as a result of Mr. Allen’s shocking new evidence, Representative Dennis Kucinich, chair of the Domestic Policy subcommittee responded by immediately opening an investigation into the Kent State shootings. http://bit.ly/cO69Yx

Then the other shoe dropped. The Democrats lost the election and Rep Kucinich lost his seat as chair in the Domestic Policy subcommittee. http://bit.ly/hmM2SH

Looking back on my Kent State path, I was 15 years old when Allison was murdered. For nine years after, my family life and world were also blown apart forever, especially as my folks pursued justice for Allison in the courts. Mr. President, no one from the government ever came to help us, except for Senator Ted Kennedy, and now recently with Rep Dennis Kucinich.

Recollecting those horrible years, I remember my Dad entering the Kent State Tape into evidence in his lawsuits. Lots of folks called Dad Krazy Krause, he would not let this go. 40 years later, it was heartening to realize Dad knew that the tape held the key to the truth at Kent State. It has taken us over 40 years to be able to decipher and once in for all, hear the recorded sounds via Mr. Stuart Allen’s expertise and kgb audio software.

Mr. Allen verified the long-denied ‘order to fire’ at the unarmed students, and surprisingly discovered new evidence in the violent altercation between Mr. Terry Norman and students. Mr. Allen heard Mr. Norman’s later surrendered pistol shoot off four pistol rounds, creating the sniper fire claimed by the national guard. Mr. Norman was a consensual informant for the F.B.I. and working that day. More on Mr. Norman http://bit.ly/gSN9pP and http://bit.ly/994afB

Mr. Norman is one of many present that day, cogs in the wheel delivering four homicides on May 4, 1970 and crossing the line at Kent State, yet Mr. Norman’s actions directly connect the FBI with the command to fire. Mr. Norman’s actions prove the intent to create, as in instigate sniper fire 70 seconds before the guard shot. Now we understand the odd ‘Alright’ in the ‘command to fire’ order.

It is for this reason that I formally request you Mr. President examine the new evidence in this cold case homicide of Kent State. Furthermore I ask you to create an impartial and unaffiliated team to investigate the F.B.I. This is the same instruction I gave Congressman Kucinich.

From Wikipedia: Impartiality is a principle of justice holding that decisions should be based on objective criteria, rather than on the basis of bias, prejudice, or preferring the benefit to one person over another for improper reasons.

Mr. President and General Holder, please examine the new evidence in the Kent State Tape.

Sincerely,

Laurel Krause

P.S.   Recent writing on learning the truth at Kent State in 2010, also published at the request of Rep Dennis Kucinich in the 2010 Congressional Record: Truth Emerging in the Kent State Cold Case Homicides http://bit.ly/fgI0h2

*******

Laurel Krause’s 6/9/2011 video on the new Kent State evidence and our call for a Kent State Inquiry in 2011:

Arthur Krause’s response to the slaughter of Allison Krause, his daughter, May, 1970:

She resented being called a bum because she disagreed with someone else’s opinion. She felt that our crossing into Cambodia was wrong. Is this dissent a crime? Is this a reason for killing her? Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because disagrees with the actions of her government?

In today’s snail mail letter, I also enclosed my father’s words & image:

Yesterday on the Internet I discovered Arthur Krause’s words from 1979 and wish to share them with you. Here’s a picture of united Kent State, May 4th folks at a press conference, taken at the end of their nine year search for justice through the judicial system.

Arthur Krause is the tall man in the back, smoking a cigarette & my mom Doris Krause sits in front of him. My father shared, “The thing that I hope people remember … is that it could happen to their child. I was like everyone else and then it happened to us.”

Arthur and Doris Krause carry on their lives ten years after the incident, but the pain and the lessons of the last ten years are evident. “I think we are all responsible for the killings at Kent. You can’t get away from the hatred being spread by national leaders during that time. That political period was one which bred hate and with Nixon and Rhodes fanning the fires you can expect killings to result.”

Krause, the parent who initially began the quest for justice in the Kent State case continued, “I knew what was going to happen; that justice would not be served, but I wanted to make sure that there was pressure applied. In the beginning the other families were not as believing that nothing would be done; I think they thought I was some sort of radical. But I can tell you that if you don’t stand up for your rights they will be taken away from you just like they were from Allison and the others.”

Arthur and Doris Krause have mixed feelings about the 1979 settlement. “We don’t want the damn money ~ we want the truth. If we had wanted the money I would have accepted the one and a half million dollar bribe I was offered to drop the civil suit, offered to me in the presence of Peter Davies in 1971.

We want the facts out about how the four died. We aren’t afraid of the truth. We aren’t the ones who have been saying ‘no comment’ for the past ten years.”

Arthur and Doris Krause hope the movie would generate more of the same hate mail they have received for the past ten years. “They always point out that my daughter had gravel in her pockets . . . that this was the rationale for killing her . . . why didn’t they throw gravel at her?”

“The political climate is very similar to that in 1970,” Krause added, “Kent State, 1970 means we no longer have our daughter, but it also means something to all Americans. Our court battles establish without a doubt one thing. There is no constitution. There is no Bill of Rights.” ~ Arthur S. Krause

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MendoCoastCurrent, May 4, 2011

Jennifer Schwartz on her cousin Allison Krause at the 41st commemoration of the Kent State Shootings, May 4, 1970

My name is Jennifer Schwartz and I am Allison Krause’s cousin and also among the first generation of our family who never met Allison.

What can I tell you about my beloved cousin? I was less than a year old when she was shot dead on May 4, 1970. Had she not been killed, I would most certainly have known her.

I have spent my life trying to right this wrong in my own way, trying to get closer to her, to know her, endeavoring to honor her and make Allison proud. So I thank you for inviting me here today to tell you some of what I have learned about Allison from books and published articles, from her friends, from our family and from my efforts at the Kent State Truth Tribunal.

Allison Beth Krause was the cherished first of two daughters born to Arthur and Doris Krause, living in Cleveland Heights. Although roughly 10 years older than Allison, my father Marvin Schwartz remembers many summers playing with the Krause girls. My Dad talks about Allison as a sweet, fun, clever, pretty and vivacious girl. Many of Allison’s friends in Cleveland still remember her from those days back in grade school.

In the early sixties, Allison’s family went for Sunday drives out to the country often ending up at Kent, dining at the Robin Hood and enjoying the pastoral campus. Remarkably, at a very early age, Allison made her decision to attend college at Kent State University.

Her father’s job at Westinghouse moved the family to Pittsburgh in the mid-sixties and then on to Wheaton, Maryland where Allison attended John F Kennedy high school. Many of Allison’s classmates were children of government employees, and with them Allison developed an active awareness of global issues and a well-formed understanding of American history, politics and civil rights.

As she found her political voice in high school, Allison joined the young people of those times who were against the ever-expanding war in Vietnam, and the draft lottery. She lent her voice to the calls for peace at demonstrations in Washington DC.

Allison’s father Arthur was a veteran of WW11. Back in the late sixties he was pro-Vietnam, like many of his generation. Allison’s sister, Laurel remembers many heated dinner-table arguments where she and her big sister objected to the war and nuclear weapons. It was a scene like so many other dining room debates back then.  From those debates, Allison knew: As an American she had a right to freedom of speech and a right to engage in peaceful assembly, all guaranteed by the first amendment.

Yet Allison was more than anti-war protester and advocate of civil rights. She was an active, caring person and was considering a career in a helping profession such as art therapy. My aunt Doris Krause recounts this story of Allison’s volunteer work at a hospital for the mentally disabled.  “She would go there at night and play basketball with them… and her biggest day that she had was when she came home and told us that one of the men had talked to her, and he hadn’t talked to anybody in a long period of years.  And she was so gratified by that.  So she had potential.  She was a smart girl and was just cut down.”

In the fall of 1969, Allison started college as a freshman here at Kent State. Her family had recently moved back to Pittsburgh, so Allison was still close to home. Allison lived in Metcalf Hall, and later Engleman, did well academically as an honors student, made friends quickly, and met another student, the love of her life, Barry Levine. Barry describes Allison as “a sweet, intelligent, loving, warm, intelligent, compassionate, creative, funny, intelligent girl.  As bright as they come.”

That fall, Allison traveled to Washington DC, like hundreds of thousands of other young people, taking part in a huge anti-war demonstration and peace rally.

In her last days, Allison reveled in the first Earth Day Celebration held on April 22, 1970. Buckminster Fuller erected a geodesic dome right here on the commons, just a few steps from Allison’s dorm. The following day, April 23rd, was Allison’s 19th birthday. Her family came in from Pittsburgh to celebrate, never imagining this would be the last time they would see her alive.

Allison assembled with others on Friday May 1st as she vehemently disagreed with the U.S. government’s decision to escalate the war and send more troops into Cambodia.  She spent the first weekend of May with friends, doing schoolwork, enjoying the first breath of Spring, but at night, running from the military and helicopters on campus, now occupied by the National Guard, the Highway Patrol, and campus and town police.

On Sunday afternoon May 3rd, Allison spent time outside, socializing with friends and started talking with some guardsmen among the blooming lilacs.  I have heard different accounts of this story, some say Allison placed a flower in the barrel of one Guardsman’s gun, others say the flower was already there. What is certain, is that those moments have been preserved in several photographs. That guardsman’s smiling face is absolutely beaming in the pictures, there with Allison, the flower, his rifle, and the irony and release of tension they all felt in that moment, as human beings who were on opposite sides of a conflict. And when Allison witnessed that guardsman’s superior come along and reprimand him there for having a silly flower in his gun barrel, Allison responded, “What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets.”

The next day Allison attended the peace rally at the Victory Bell at noon with her boyfriend Barry. She was unarmed. She was vocal. I do not believe that Allison thought her life might be in danger on her own college campus. Not in America. Surely there weren’t real bullets in those guns… But there were bullets and there was intention to kill protesting students.

My cousin Allison Krause was shot dead in the Prentice parking lot, roughly a football field away from the shooting guardsmen. A steel jacketed, armor piercing bullet fragmented on impact in her left chest, according to the autopsy. She died on the way to the hospital, in Barry’s arms.

Who was my cousin? I wish I could tell you, but as mentioned, I never met her. And still, I stand here to say we will never forget her!

We honor her memory by emulating her actions. Personally, in my professional life as an art therapist, in my volunteer work as a community organizer, as a mother of a little girl named Allison, as a peacemaker, as an earth-conscious consumer, as a citizen and active participant in government… in all of these actions every day of my life, I honor Allison, and all those murdered at Kent State on May 4th.

This time last year, I memorialized the 40th Anniversary in the way I think Allison would have appreciated. With Laurel Krause, Emily Kunstler and the Kent State Truth Tribunal crew, we recorded and preserved the personal narratives of original participants and witnesses of the Kent State Shootings. The emotional healing that we witnessed during our four days together was immense. I encourage you to take a look at our project online at http://www.TruthTribunal.org.

In closing, I must tell you briefly about one powerful piece of  healing that is not viewable in the Kent State Truth Tribunal video archives. On the second day as I was greeting and checking in KSTT participants, a man, whom I later recognized from the photos to be THAT guardsman, the one with the flower in his rifle, came through the tribunal doors to share his truth & find his own healing. He did not want to film his story with us. And yet, he was there. Though he didn’t identify himself by name, he bravely told me that he had been among the guardsmen that weekend in 1970. I remember looking into his eyes as he spoke his truth to me for several long minutes. He simply came, as so many others did last year, to unburden himself, to try to heal his own wounds from Kent State and to connect with the spirit of truth.

Since last May, at KSTT NYC, I greeted and checked in the forensic scientist Stuart Allen, who is Keynote here today. Before our cameras, he examined the Kent State tape.  He verified an order to shoot and exposed suspicious additional gunshots. Listening to that recording, cleaned up by Mr. Allen’s state-of-the-art technology was gut wrenching.

The Krause family asks the federal government to open up an investigation into this new evidence, the Kent State tape. Because we understand, there can never be true healing without truth and justice.  We further encourage our government to issue a formal acknowledgment of the wrongs of Kent State on May 4, 1970… 41 years later, it’s time!

Finally, what I know in my soul is this… that none of the accounts that I have presented to you today can truly do Allison justice without justice being done. Allison believed in a just world.  She put her life on the line for it. Let us never give up in our pursuit of justice and healing at Kent State.

*****************

Watch Jennifer Schwartz’s 5/4/11 speech at the 41st anniversary of the Kent State Shootings ~

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Backs Rep Kucinich in Call to Open Inquiry

MendoCoastCurrent, October 12, 2010

The Kent State Truth Tribunal this weekend heard testimony from forensic audio scientist Stuart Allen that establishes clear orders to shoot live ammunition at unarmed protesting students by the Ohio National Guard. The tape also reveals startling evidence of an altercation with distinct gunshots from a separate weapon fired directly prior to the National Guard’s call to “Prepare to fire!”. This same new evidence has prompted Ohio Congressman Dennis Kucinich to call for a congressional inquiry into the Kent State shootings. “Certainly we owe it to the memory of the students who lost their lives and their families and we owe it to the American people to find out the truth,” Kucinich told Fox 8 News in Cleveland, Ohio.

The audio evidence of a separate .38 caliber gun firing 70 seconds prior to the guardsmen’s weapons suggests there may have been a provocation prior to the shooting of students. Photographs and testimonies point to the involvement of FBI informant, Terry Norman, who is believed to have fired the weapon. Several students place him on campus that day working in tandem with the Ohio National Guard, carrying a camera and a pistol.  “Now we have a tape that proves conclusively that four shots were fired before the National Guard volley,” Congressman Dennis Kucinich said. “That has implications that are tremendous. Who knows what would have happened if those shots hadn’t been fired.” Terry Norman has not commented about his activities at Kent State since the day of the shootings and his whereabouts are currently unknown. Kent State family members, as well as Representative Kucinich, have called for Mr. Norman to step forward to deliver information about his involvement at Kent State.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) was convened by family members of students killed at Kent State in response to forty years of impunity for the shootings. No one has been held accountable for the deaths and injuries that resulted when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students at a war protest on campus. According to Laurel Krause, KSTT founder and sister of Allison Krause, who was killed that day, “The audio tape not only introduces compelling evidence that there was an order to fire on students, but also establishes that an additional weapon was fired just prior to the shootings, suggesting that the full scope of what took place that day has not yet been established. We feel strongly that a government inquiry is long overdue and support wholeheartedly Rep. Kucinich’s call for a congressional inquiry. We also encourage Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice to respond to this new evidence by examining the audio tape and pursuing their own investigation.”

The 40 year-old audio tape was recorded from the window ledge of a Kent State student’s dormitory at the time of the shootings. The Kent State tape started recording minutes before the shooting and ran until after all of the shots were fired, verifying an audible order to fire. According to Stuart Allen, who has been examining forensic audio evidence for nearly four decades since the Watergate scandal: “The order to shoot clearly does warrant a reopening of the investigation and the outcome will have a profound effect on our understanding of what took place. This technology and information was not available at the time of the investigations and multiple hearings on the Kent State shootings. ” Stuart Allen’s KSTT testimony can be seen at bit.ly/dakhWw

Close to 100 personal narratives have already been recorded and preserved from people of all backgrounds who’s lives were impacted by the killings at Kent State in 1970, representing a comprehensive oral archive of this historic event. It is the first American truth-seeking initiative to be broadcast live on the Internet on MichaelMoore.com

For more information, visit: http://TruthTribunal.org

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MendoCoastCurrent, October 5, 2010

Since the beginning of 2010, the Kent State Truth Tribunal has been focused on collecting and understanding the truth about the circumstances that surrounded the killing of four students and the wounding of nine others at Kent State University in Ohio on May 4, 1970. As new evidence emerges that supports the belief that the Ohio National Guard was following orders to shoot when they fired into a crowd of peacefully assembled students, we are reminded that this tragic chapter in American history has left an indelible mark on the civic freedoms that define this country.

One of the students shot was my sister Allison Krause and at the moment she died, Allison was protesting the invasion of Cambodia and the escalation of the Vietnam war at a noon peace rally on her college campus. Some of those shot were fellow protestors while others were students simply walking to class.

Like many college students at that time, the protesters at Kent State were fighting the draft and opposed the war in Vietnam. At this peace rally on May 4th at Kent State, they were also protesting the Ohio National Guard’s occupation of their campus that had begun days earlier.  When the shots were fired, the U.S. government robbed the Kent State students of their right to exercise the First Amendment. It also sent a chilling message to young people across the country: If you protest against the government, you could be killed in the process.

The First Amendment to the United States Constitution was profoundly devalued by this criminal act. This amendment prohibits our government from “interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a government redress of grievance.”

Until the truth about the Kent State shootings is known and laid bare before the public, the value and meaning of our First Amendment continues to be compromised. The words written and preserved in the Library of Congress have very little to do with citizen’s rights in America today.

Fast-forwarding 40 years to May 4, 2010 and with the help of heartfelt Kent State supporters like Michael Moore, as well as many present at the original peace rally at Kent, the Kent State Truth Tribunal began to record and preserve the truth, broadcasting our findings at MichaelMoore.com. The buried truth about Kent State and the continued cover-up that surrounds the Kent State killings has begun to unfold before us.

We now see how that the calculated acts of President Richard Nixon, Ohio Governor James Rhodes and the Ohio National Guard commanders seamlessly silenced and damaged the psyche of the sixties generation, robbing us of our civil rights. The consequences of their violent actions against students still reverberate today.

I was 15 years old on May 4th 1970. Through the eyes of a teenager I felt the deeper personal angst and pain of losing my only sibling Allison as my family and our home was torn apart. Allison’s death and the harassment that followed will never be forgotten. When I lost Allison I was outraged but realized quickly that there was little that a 15-year-old could do.

My parents, Arthur and Doris Krause, pursued redress through the courts, seeking justice the American way. In each and every litigation the shooting guardsmen, along with their commanding officers, claimed there wasn’t an order to shoot ~ that the guardsmen reacted with their shots because they felt their lives were in danger, despite the fact that many eye-witnessed remembered clearly hearing an order to fire.  By taking this position and stating this under oath, the government forced everyone pursuing truth and justice in the Kent State killings to look for proof that an ‘order to shoot’ existed.

Back to the present, just days after we closed the doors at the Kent State Truth Tribunal at the 40th anniversary of the killings in Kent, Ohio, important news was published by the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Read it here: bit.ly/aM7Ocm The Plain Dealer arranged an examination of an audio tape recorded by a Kent State student from his dorm window ledge. Two, expert forensic audio scientists, Stuart Allen and Tom Owen, independently confirmed an order was issued to the Ohio National Guard. Mr. Allen found that the order “Prepare to fire,” can be heard on the audio cassette ‘as clear as a bell’.

As we turn our attention to the approaching Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City on October 9 and 10 http://TruthTribunal.org/event , Mr. Allen will present this new evidence so that everyone watching at MichaelMoore.com can judge for themselves. We hope you will tune in to witness this important moment that will prove an order was issued, that the guards followed a command and that there was homicidal intent on the part of our government to kill unarmed, protesting students

We have invited the federal government to send an official to audit and witness our interview with Mr. Allen.

Additionally, we will be interviewing participants and witnesses of the Kent State shootings to hear and preserve their truth, as well as some notable guests with meaningful connection to the prelude and aftermath.

Daniel Ellsberg will participate in our first Skype interview at this KSTT in New York City.  You may remember that Mr. Ellsberg precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of US government decision-making about the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.  He will be giving us background into the political context and key elements of the Vietnam war at the time of the killings at Kent State.

Mr. Lawrence Dowler, founder of the Kent State collection in the Yale Library where he was chief archivist (now retired), will share his truth on the collection he personally assembled, a collection revered to be the most extensive and accurate archive of the Kent State shootings.

You are invited to share in this important moment in history by watching our live broadcast at www.MichaelMoore.com on Saturday and Sunday, October 9 and 10, from 10AM to 5PM est.

You hope you’ll join us as we continue to uncover the truth at Kent State.

To learn more about KSTT and support our efforts, visit http://TruthTribunal.org

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LAUREL KRAUSE, MendoCoastCurrent, July 13, 2010

My sister Allison Krause was one of four students killed in the 1970 Kent State shootings. You may have heard about that day in American history – May 4, 1970 – when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students protesting the invasion of Cambodia. Some of those killed or injured were just walking to class. After the guardsmen fired their weapons, four students lay dead, and nine others were wounded by gunfire. Forty years have passed and no one has ever been held accountable.

When courts fail to bring justice to the injured and when governments prefer to neglect their role in such tragedies, families sometimes turn to alternative means of gathering the truth. So after years of exhausting efforts to find out what happened on the day of Allison’s death, and failure to receive any meaningful recognition for the injury suffered by our family, we decided to establish the Kent State Truth Tribunal on the 40th anniversary of the killings. We felt the imperative to do this for our family and also to come together with others to create an accurate historical account of what happened at Kent.

The Kent State Truth Tribunal (KSTT) teamed up with a remarkable filmmaker named Emily Kunstler, who has dedicated her work to the pursuit of criminal justice in this country. Her father Bill Kunstler was a larger-than-life civil rights attorney who had stood with the Kent State students in the difficult years that followed the shootings. Emily is carrying on his work by harnessing the power of storytelling to establish and memorialize the truth about Kent State.

The KSTT was held on the first four days of May in Kent, Ohio and we recorded and preserved over 70 personal stories of original participants and witnesses. A number of the wounded students shared their truth of what happened that horrific day in American history, along with faculty, student witnesses, Kent townspeople and friends and family of those killed. Some spoke publicly for the first time in four decades. The stories that emerged are powerful narratives about a day that changed America and helped us understand what happened on that historic day. As we filmed the interviews, they were broadcast live on MichaelMoore.com and were viewed throughout the country. This is the first time that a truth-telling initiative in America set out to use new media in this way and it was remarkable to broadcast these accounts live throughout the country.

Little did we know that as we wrapped our project in Kent, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and ace reporter John Mangels would break a key piece of news long sought after by those eager to learn the truth about Kent State. The journalist uncovered evidence of an ‘order to shoot’ given to the National Guardsmen on Blanket Hill that May 4th so long ago.

Over the ten years that the families pursued justice in Ohio state and federal courts, the testimonies from the Ohio National Guard and ranking decision-makers supported the ludicrous claim that no order to fire was given. An order would have implicated higher-ranking officers and would have led to court-martials for those involved. Since an admission of command responsibility for the shootings was not forthcoming, it became our job to prove them wrong. This was almost impossible…until now.

The Plain Dealer investigation produced a copy of an audio tape recorded by a student using a microphone on his dormitory room window ledge. This tape surfaced when Alan Canfora, a student protester wounded at Kent State, and researcher Bob Johnson dug through Yale Library’s collection on 1970 Kent State to find a CD with the tape recording on it from the day of the shootings. Paying $10 to have a duplicate made, Alan listened to it and immediately knew he probably held the only recording that might provide proof of an order to shoot. Three years after the tape was found, the Plain Dealer commendably hired two qualified forensic audio scientists to examine the tape. They verified an order for the guards to ‘prepare to fire’.

Shortly after the tape was publicized a remarkable event unfolded in another part of the world with direct parallels to Kent State. British Prime Minister David Cameron formally apologized before Parliament for the events and killings of Bloody Sunday.

As you may recall this event occurred on January 30, 1972, when British paratroopers opened fire on demonstrators in Northern Ireland and 14 civilians were shot and killed and others wounded. The bloodshed led to a major escalation of the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland, which have only recently largely subsided. Like Kent State, the military shot and killed its own unarmed citizens.

After 12 years of exhaustive study by an independent judicial commission set up by the British government, the findings spurred this apology from Prime Minister David Cameron. I am moved to think how these words could apply to Kent State in our country:

What happened should never, ever have happened.

The families of those who died should not have had to live with the pain and hurt of that day, and with a lifetime of loss.

Some members of our armed forces acted wrongly, the government is ultimately responsible for the conduct of the armed forces, and for that, on behalf of the government, indeed, on behalf of our country, I am deeply sorry.

While news of the Bloody Sunday apology begins to spread and settle, original participants are beginning to call for even greater steps to condemn the higher-ranking officers that made this deadly decision to shoot and kill.

As I watch from my perch in America, I ponder the complexities of apologies and our need for truth in the Kent State killings of 1970.

From conversations with others who were present at and witnessed the shootings at Kent State, I know that we all wish to have the truth revealed in 2010 and applaud Britain’s important first step to address the harm caused by Bloody Sunday. And I have to ask: what will it take for America to heal the wounds of Kent State?

To learn more about the Kent State Truth Tribunal, please visit our website at http://TruthTribunal.org

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