Today marks the 45th anniversary of the Kent State shootings, wherein National Guardsmen opened fire into a crowd of unarmed college students peacefully protesting an illegal war, wounding nine and killing four. Despite chilling testimony from that day, the government has never accepted responsibility. Thus, the state-sanctioned killing of America's children lurches on - the Guard then, the cops now. Neil Young: "Soldiers are cutting us down."
Plus ça change, plus ça meme.
I grew up in NE Ohio, about an hour’s drive away from Kent, and was 15 going on 16 when this happened. I was already against the war, and to protest the killings I and a few friends went to school the next day wearing black armbands with white peace signs painted on them, a harmless enough gesture. Nevertheless school authorities asked us to remove them, and when we refused we were suspended for three days. When I went back to school I wanted to put the armband back on, but my parents forbade it, and I didn’t have much choice. But there certainly was a lot of discussion among my fellow 10th-graders thereafter, and many kids, at least temporarily, were swayed to the cause. Despite the repression, those were much more open times than now, though I still retain the hope that a massive shift in consciousness such as that witnessed in the 60s might still emerge to save the society on the world from what sometimes seems like certain disaster.
At the time, I was attending Southern Illinois University, in Edwardsville. The next day, we took over the Presidents office. I remember sitting at his desk, with my feet up. Wasn’t much when I look back, but it was something to show our disgust. Non-violent, they drug us out, but didn’t arrest us. One of many encounters with the law over the next five years. I don’t regret any of it. We were in the right, as history proved. As for the government, they never live up to the stupid things they do. “They” I guess, is actually “us.” Or so it’s said.