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View Diary: "They Just Started Shooting Us Down" -- Kent State (305 comments)

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  •  most suspect (2+ / 0-)
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    Fred in Vermont, joynow

    that some sort of decision was made during the huddle on the practice field. And your observation about waiting until they reached the crest of the hill -- the military high ground -- is spot on.

    I don't think Terry Norman caused the shooting but I do think he might have also used the cover to do his own bit of revenge.

    And, the first claim of the ONG was that there was a sniper. But they dropped it within 24 hours and never pointed at Terry Norman, who could have gotten them all off the hook. ("Look there's a sniper. There he is.") That's what makes him even more curious. Clearly he was being protected because he knew/did something that was even worse than letting the ONG hang out there for the shootings.

    We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

    by kainah on Wed May 03, 2006 at 10:56:19 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Norman no Oswald (0+ / 0-)

      That's what makes him even more curious. Clearly he was being protected because he knew/did something that was even worse than letting the ONG hang out there for the shootings.

      Right.  But in order to make some sort of Oswald figure out of Norman they probably would have had to kill him first and that takes balls and resources.

    •  Does this work for you? (0+ / 0-)

      because he [Norman] knew/did something that was even worse than letting the ONG hang out there for the shootings.

      Well perhaps not so much what he did as that anything he did would reflect on the FBI and local police. Suppose that something that Norman did, together with a big-time snafu by the guard officers, was the true cause of the shooting.  That would  give the police, the guard, and the FBI all good reasons to cover up the real story.

      How does this work for you:  the officers had agreed that if necessary a squad would be ready to turn around almost all the way up the hill and defend the right flank in case the students started to rush after them.  They simply could not let there be pictures of the guard being chased by long haired students as they retreated.

      The officers also knew that there were some "good guys" in with the students taking pictures and that they might need help if they had problems.

      There was also someone with the guard, police or FBI in the area using a spy glass to continually scan the students in the parking lot area.

      Norman was in with the students in the lot taking as many incrimination pictures as he could of kids giving troops the finger, shouting, waiving black flags anything that looked visual as well as trying to get good pictures of their faces.  As the guard retreated he moved to try to get more pictures and someone either recognized him from other scrapes he had gotten into or just correctly guessed what he was up to and started to rush him to take his camera.  At this point Norman pulled his 38, and brandished it and perhaps fired a shot in the air or into the ground.

      The spotter saw the action and sent some pre-arranged signal by radio or otherwise that there were "firearms out" in the parking lot.

      Then, by very bad luck, this message got to the commander of the retreat, or the right flank guard squad, at exactly the moment that the "right-flank-guard-squad-deploy" order was given.  Somehow for at least some of the troops in that squad the messages became confabulated and they thought that they were being order to fire into the parking lot.

      If  this was the real story it makes sense that it would have been in the interests of everyone  responsible to cover up the Norman angle and claim that it all happened without any orders at all.

      •  well.... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Fred in Vermont

        that works pretty well but is, I think, a bit more complicated than necessary. I think an agreement to shoot had been reached on the practice field and certainly Norman was out in the crowd taking pix -- none of which, btw, has ever surfaced to my knowledge. I believe he fired his gun because there is so much evidence that he did so; not just the people who chased him over the hill but lots of accounts by kids on the hill who say they saw him shoot someone. Why he fired and who he fired at remain the mysteries. But it has crossed my mind that he may have had some sort of personal vendetta that he decided to act on under cover of the larger firings.

        I think they kept him protected because, to do otherwise, would have exposed the extent of their infiltration of the campus. Of course, part of that became known because he was widely seen and reported on. But I don't think they could afford to let any additional probing of his role happen because it would have opened up their whole bag of tricks. Of course, if he really did shoot someone, it would be really interesting to know who he shot (& whether this is a known victim) because that might give us a whole lot of other clues about what was going on.

        We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

        by kainah on Thu May 04, 2006 at 10:19:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Your senerio is more complicated than mine (0+ / 0-)

          I think an agreement to shoot had been reached on the practice field

          You really believe that all the officers in that group got together and planned exactly how they would open fire on a group of students?   I am afraid I just can't quite get there. I have a lot of faith in the ability of the military to get its signals crossed the worst way, but not in their ability to form on the fly a conspiracy to murder a lot of Americans in cold blood.  And if it somehow did  happen, and that many people were in on it,  they would never be able to keep it from coming out.

          Why he fired and who he fired at remain the mysteries. But it has crossed my mind that he may have had some sort of personal vendetta that he decided to act on under cover of the larger firings.

          Well he may have been a monster looking to kill someone and he just happened to seem them at just the right time. But I find it much less of a reach to think that he just showed his gun, and  perhaps fired a warning shot,  to make some people who came after him back off.

          I think they kept him protected because, to do otherwise, would have exposed the extent of their infiltration of the campus.

          Well yes and more important that their agent played a significant role in triggering the killings.

          Of course, if he really did shoot someone, it would be really interesting to know who he shot (& whether this is a known victim) because that might give us a whole lot of other clues about what was going on.

          I suppose, but we really only have to assume that he brandished his pistol or fired a warning shot in self defense to explain what might have triggered the shooting from the troops.   I still like my idea that a garbled report that a weapon was visible in the parking lot, received at just the wrong moment, was the cause of this.

          •  not quite so complicated (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Fred in Vermont

            You really believe that all the officers in that group got together and planned exactly how they would open fire on a group of students?

            I do think some of them agreed, during the huddle on the practice field, that when they got to the high ground by the Pagoda, they would fire into the crowd in the parking lot. I don't think all of them were in on it, by any means. I think the plotters knew that, once they began to fire, others would join in because they'd figure there was an order to fire or that someone was threatening them. The fact that several of the guardsmen kept looking back towards the parking, apparently keeping an eye on their intended targets, suggests they knew they were going to shoot and where. They claimed they were just watching to make sure their retreat was unimpeded. But they paid virtually no attention to the much larger crowd on the veranda of Taylor Hall.

            Well he may have been a monster looking to kill someone and he just happened to seem them at just the right time. But I find it much less of a reach to think that he just showed his gun, and  perhaps fired a warning shot,  to make some people who came after him back off.

            Yes, that's quite reasonable and I can accept that as a possibility. But there are a number of eyewitnesses who say they saw him shoot someone. I've spent enough time studying these witness statements to know that there's plenty of confusion in them and so these people could all be wrong. But there's also a lot of striking similarities in the story they tell and that gives me pause. At the very least, I believe he would have shot into the ground rather than in the air.

            And, as for him finding his target at that magic moment, if that's what happened, I don't find it too big a stretch to think that he might have known that there was likely to be gunfire and, therefore, if he'd decided to take his own pound of flesh, he would have been fairly closely shadowing his target, waiting for the right moment.

            What I find harder to buy about your theory is the idea that there were spotters somewhere relaying "orders" of some sort. That just seems unnecessarily complicated to me. However, I will also say that there are some interesting men, in suits, visible on the roof of one of the buildings surrounding the shooting site who have always intrigued me. So, maybe you're right.

            I still like my idea that a garbled report that a weapon was visible in the parking lot, received at just the wrong moment, was the cause of this.  

            What continues to plague me about this is why the National Guard and state officials so quickly abandoned the defense of a sniper. They said it immediately after the shootings and then it just poof vanished. And Terry Norman was available, the absolutely perfect scapegoat. Since a large percentage of the population was willing to excuse the shootings because "the kids must have deserved it," one can only guess how much larger that percentage would have been if they had actually hung Norman out to dry. I think had they done that, they would have ended all controversy (except for a few of us who would have forever been labeled conspiracy theorists.)

            Instead, they stopped claiming sniper, leaving them in a no-justification position, while Terry Norman left the state and lived in quiet solitude. Something about that just doesn't add up.

            But I appreciate your efforts to puzzle out a solution with me, Fred!!

            We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

            by kainah on Thu May 04, 2006 at 12:26:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  So how could we ever prove it? (0+ / 0-)

              I do think some of them agreed, during the huddle on the practice field, that when they got to the high ground by the Pagoda, they would fire into the crowd in the parking lot. I don't think all of them were in on it, by any means.

              That 'huddle' as shown in the photo does not look like a very good place to conspire and hatch a major crime.  So how many were in on it and how many others or which ranks might have overheard the plan to trick their forces into murdering Americans in cold blood?  To me that meeting looks like a very good place to make big mistakes but a very poor place to hatch a big crime.

              I think the plotters knew that, once they began to fire, others would join in because they'd figure there was an order to fire or that someone was threatening them.

              Wait.  I though that huddle was of the officers.  Was it an officer who first shot?

              The fact that several of the guardsmen kept looking back towards the parking, apparently keeping an eye on their intended targets, suggests they knew they were going to shoot and where.

              I don't agree.  It  was important that they not get in a situation where the students seemed to be chasing the troops as they retreated.  I think that for that reason a group was detailed to stand guard as the main body went over the hill.  That all makes sense and likely was agreed to in the above officers huddle.  The  question is why this detail which was supposed to be a rear guard started shooting the moment they deployed.  I think that they must have been given an order to deploy as a rear guard, though noone seems to admit that.  Whoever is covering up the order to deploy at the top of the hill is probably also covering up the cause of the  misunderstanding that triggered the shooting by those troops.

              They claimed they were just watching to make sure their retreat was unimpeded. But they paid virtually no attention to the much larger crowd on the veranda of Taylor Hall.

              They had just been interacting with them and viewed them as demonstrators.  I don't believe that they had already been ordered to start to kill them as soon as they got to the top of the hill.

              I find it much less of a reach to think that he just showed his gun, and  perhaps fired a warning shot,  to make some people who came after him back off.

              Yes, that's quite reasonable and I can accept that as a possibility. But there are a number of eyewitnesses who say they saw him shoot someone. I

              It seems very surprising that if there were people who were willing to swear that they saw him shoot someone, and such a victim existed, with a consistent wound, that there would not have been some sort of a follow-up.  It would be easy to think that someone had been shot at close range with a pistol that was being brandished in  the confusion,  but without some sort of matching victim that would be the end of it.

              I will also say that there are some interesting men, in suits, visible on the roof of one of the buildings surrounding the shooting site who have always intrigued me. So, maybe you're right.

              OK.  There are the spotters.  Give one a radio and have  him issue a warning about "shots fired" and you have your a that traces back to the FBI on two sides.

              What continues to plague me about this is why the National Guard and state officials so quickly abandoned the defense of a sniper.

              The problem I see with sticking to the "sniper" line is that none of the Guard taking part in the shooting made any effort to take cover or even lower their profile.  I suspect that means that none of them thought they were being shot at.   A "defense" is not like some sort of screen play that can be freely shaped.  If none of those involved thought they were under file it would be hard to get them all to say otherwise and tell consistent stories about why they thought that..  When all this first happened many people might have assumed or hoped that they were returning fire,  but if they did not think they were, then you have to look for another reason.

              And Terry Norman was available, the absolutely perfect scapegoat.

              Not perfect at all.  He would admit that he had brandished his pistol and/or fired into the ground is self defense.  He would also explain that he was working for law enforcement at the time taking pictures.  How does that get the guard off the hook?  Doesn't it just involve the local police and the FBI as well as the guard?

              Since a large percentage of the population was willing to excuse the shootings because "the kids must have deserved it," one can only guess how much larger that percentage would have been if they had actually hung Norman out to dry.

              But unless you killed him first he would not just hang there and the more to blame he was the more to blame the FBI and local police would be.  Even if you somehow prevented him from defending himself how would you cover up his past work with the FBI and police.  And if he and his 38 was the real trigger someone in the parking lot would know it.   Whoever yelled "kill the pig" and went after Norman and his camera and caused him to draw might not want to come forward and admit his roll in the disaster, but if they tried to say Norman had been a demonstrator who had started shooting at the guard you can be sure such people would have come forward.

              Instead, they stopped claiming sniper, leaving them in a no-justification position

              They didn't have a choice.  They didn't have a sniper and could not conger one up out of nothing.  They did have an incident caused by someone working for the FBI who did something stupid and, together with the stupidly of the guard caused the disaster. It was not a good defense to try to just call it unexplained mass hysteria or something, but at least you would leave out the FBI and local police as also to blame.

              But I appreciate your efforts to puzzle out a solution with me, Fred!!

              Glad to help.  So how could this ever be proven?  Suppose that somehow Norman could be subpoenaed.  I can't see how that would work.  Or suppose someone told him he could get rich staring in a movie or writing a book.  Unless he is a murder that might work.

              Or suppose you could somehow get someone inside the FBI to spill the beans.  It could still come out.  And an anniversary like this with  the nation facing another unpopular war might be the time.

              •  So how could this ever be proven? (0+ / 0-)

                So how could this ever be proven?

                Welcome to my world. That's pretty much where I've been for 30+ years. I've finally reached the point of accepting that there may well not be a way to ever prove what happened.

                Suppose that somehow Norman could be subpoenaed.  I can't see how that would work.  

                He stayed well out of subpoena range during all the legal proceedings and I don't believe he will ever talk.

                Or suppose you could somehow get someone inside the FBI to spill the beans.  It could still come out.  And an anniversary like this with  the nation facing another unpopular war might be the time.

                I resigned myself many years ago to the reality that I doubt seriously the truth will come out until everyone involved is dead. Then there might be something that someone said that can be tied to something or something..... But I think a lot of people will take secrets to their grave on this.

                It seems very surprising that if there were people who were willing to swear that they saw him shoot someone, and such a victim existed, with a consistent wound, that there would not have been some sort of a follow-up.

                People gave statements to the FBI but one of the things you have to understand is that there are very, very few "consistent stories" from that day. People were in entirely too much shock to have clear impressions and memories. Then you add to that the fact that the university was immediately shut down and kids scattered all over and you can see that they never had a chance to sit around and talk and piece together their experiences. Whether there's anyone who corresponds to the possible injuries is impossible to say because the descriptions are inconsistent. They are consistent only in that abt six or seven people agree that they saw him shoot a person ... and that doesn't include the people who chased him over the hill screaming the same or the guardsmen who supposedly heard him confess to shooting someone. All of those witnesses say they saw him shoot someone, then they realized there was live fire, they dropped and when they got up, everything was chaos.

                If you read enough of the FBI reports, it really starts to come home how chaotic the scene was. For instance, you can read the descriptions of the wounded given by the ambulance attendants and they tell you where they found people, their sex, their wounds, etc. And still that doesn't add up to what we know happened. People thought Jeff Miller was a girl, that Sandy Scheuer was a guy, that Dean Kahler was a girl.... You just can't expect people to have perfect perceptions in that sort of situation.

                My brother-in-law was there when it happened and he thought he knew where he was walking, what he'd seen, etc. So we retraced it one day. And from what I knew of the proven facts, I was able to help him piece together his probable path and movements but it was quite a bit removed from what he originally believed. When your life is threatened, your memories of it end up pretty jumbled.

                It's easy from our viewpoint to think that it should all be fairly nice and tidy but my 30+ years of research into this has convinced me otherwise.

                Anyway, again, I appreciate your speculation. New viewpoints are always helpful.

                We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

                by kainah on Thu May 04, 2006 at 05:01:39 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  one more thing (0+ / 0-)

                I'm not convinced we even know about all the injuries of that day. I think there's definitely reason to suspect that some who were less seriously wounded decided that it was in their better interests to get hell out of there and keep their mouths shut.  

                We need not stride resolutely towards catastrophe, merely because those are the marching orders. -- Noam Chomsky

                by kainah on Thu May 04, 2006 at 05:04:44 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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