Never Forget – ‘Four Dead in Ohio’ As Soldiers Open Fire On Protesters

by M. David, Counter Current News On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard gunned down Jeffrey Miller, Allison Krause, William Knox Schroeder, and Sandra Scheuer during an anti-war protest at Kent State University. Today – 45 years later – some are asking if much has changed. Kent State police war Some of the students who were shot had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign, which President Richard Nixon announced during a television address on April 30. Other students who were shot had been walking nearby or observing the protest from a distance. The events that transpired on the campus of Kent State were captured by photographer John Filo. One iconic image in particular burned into the national consciousness and eventually won him a Pulitzer Prize. For many throughout the United States, the image encapsulated the anguish, rage and desperation of protesters who were being brutalized, demonized, stifled and even murdered by the State for taking a stand that is now almost universally understood to have been on the right side of history. Today protesters are being beaten, shot with tear gas, and rubber bullets for protesting unarmed citizens being gunned down by police. Protesters in Ferguson have been threatened with murder by militarized police aiming assault weapons at them. In Baltimore police have thrown stones at protesters, while the mainstream media edits footage to only show a handful of protesters throwing them back. In cities like Seattle, Washington and Denver, Colorado, protesters at solidarity protests continue to be attacked even just for the messages on their t-shirts. Children as young as 12-years-old have been pepper sprayed by so-called “law enforcement” officers, who had no regard for their age, nor the fact that they were openly engaging in child abuse. This, they rationalized, was acceptable, moral and legal because they have the might to dictate what is right. In Ohio the protests still rage. At monthly protests outside of the Beavercreek Walmart where John Crawford was fatally shot by police within two seconds of being observed holding a BB-gun which he picked up off the shelves of the store, threats and racial targeting has continuously emanated from the police and the corporate interests which they are charged to “serve and protect.” African Americans have been banned from Walmart, detained by police and threatened with imprisonment for merely walking down the pet food aisle where John Crawford was murdered. A child – 14-years-old – of mixed African American heritage was brutally accosted by police who threatened to arrest him for nothing more than filming a protest. Has anything really changed? Many who were at these protests in 1970 at Kent State tell us “yes.” One protester who was there that fateful day, going by the name “Rick”, told us “Yeah, it’s changed alright. It’s worse today. What happened in Kent State was the boiling point, and you better believe something like that could happen at any point right now.” “The climate is the same, and the tensions are just as high,” Rick added. “The difference now is that the police and the military have fused. We don’t have soldiers on campuses and at protests, we have militarized police who think of themselves as soldiers, but have significantly less training.” “Something has to change, and it may take something just as shocking to shock the public into waking up.” When asked if anything would shock the general public any more, the Ohio native concluded, “You know, that’s a really good question. If kids were getting shot holding BB-guns in those days, I think there would have been more outrage just over incidences like that. In some ways, you’re right, people are even more desensitized… Which is scary, because it means the bar for outrage has been raised. In the meantime, the police are getting away with murder and the public is either defending or ignoring it.” There was a significant national response to the Kent State shootings. In the aftermath, hundreds of universities, colleges, and high schools closed throughout the United States due to a student strike that totalled four million students in all. The event further affected public opinion – at an already socially contentious time – over the role of the United States in the Vietnam War, as well as the police and military response to protests here in the United States. What do you think? Are things worse today? What will it take to shock the public into waking up and demanding police accountability? (Article by M. David) CSNY

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