Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Kent State Killings Shock Nation

By Sue Schuurman

MAY 11, 1998: 

28 Years Ago This Week

On May 4, 1970, National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of Kent State University student protesters, killing four. Approximately 400 to 500 students, armed only with rocks and bricks, had been demonstrating against U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, coinciding with Nixon's order for additional bombing raids on Cambodia. Americans were stunned to see photographs showing the government shooting on it's own citizens, here in the world's oldest democracy where the right of political dissent is supposedly fundamental.

Four Killed, 11 Injured at Kent State.

KENT, Ohio (AP)--Four students were shot to death and 11 other persons wounded, four seriously in a confrontation Monday with Ohio National Guardsmen and police at Kent State University. A state official said the shooting started when a rooftop sniper opened fire on the guardsmen.

The university, with an enrollment of 19,000, was closed and the town sealed off by police and guardsmen. ...

The gunfire broke out as guardsmen dispersed an antiwar rally on the campus.

Adj. Gen. S. T. Del Corso said guardsmen were forced to open fire on their attackers.

'Regrettably but unavoidably several individuals were killed and a number of others were wounded,' he said in a statement.

In Washington, President Nixon issued a statement about the incident.

'This should remind us all once again that when dissent turns to violence it invites tragedy,' the President said. ...

The shooting came after guardsmen moved in with tear gas to disperse a rock-throwing crowd of 400 to 500 students. ...

' ... The military man always has the option to fire if he feels his life is in danger,' said Brig. Gen. Robert Canterbury, who was on the scene. 'He has the right to protect himself.' ...

'The guard extended its entire supply of tear gas and when it did, the mob started to move forward to encircle the guardsmen,' Del Corso said. ...

University President Robert I. White asked all students, faculty and staff members to go home 'as quickly as possible.'

Twelve persons, including two guardsmen, were hospitalized. ... One guardsmen was described as suffering from shock. ...

Mary Hagan, a student who witnessed the shooting, said that after the shooting she heard students calling to national guardsmen for help but that the guardsmen refused.

She said one student called a campus telephone operator to ask for ambulances but said the operator told the student she didn't 'want anything to do with it.' ... "

--compiled by Susan Schuurman

Source: Albuquerque Journal; May 5, 1970

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