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View Diary: "They Should Have Shot Them All" -- Kent State Aftermath (199 comments)

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  •  PTSD (10+ / 0-)

    I was there that day, and wrote some comments pertaining to my recollections in part III of your remarkable and highly recommended diary, and along with many others from Kent, I too attended the demonstrations in DC on weekend following May 4th, where I was once again tear gassed.  And kainah, I agree with you on PTSD.

    A military psychiatrist at the time verified it in my case.  

    I was drafted almost a year to the day after May 4th, and I refused induction, claiming the war was illegal, and that my order to report was involuntary servitude.  On induction day I showed up at the Federal Building in downtown Cleveland, refused to take the step forward, and was arrested, had mug shots taken, was fingerprinted and then interrogated by the FBI, apparently SOP at the time.  I remember the agent was only upset when I let him know that I would probably not be imprisoned that night, because of the number of us engaging in civil disobedience at the time.    

    A few weeks later I received my indictment, with the ominous heading of "The United States of America vs. _______"  Rather than flee to Canada, which some friends had done, and who are still there btw, I decided to fight it in court.  Thankfully, I received free legal help from a fellow Kent State actor who had gone into law and was doing pro bono for anti-war activists.  

    Our defense was basically that I was traumatized by the events of May 4th, and combined with also having witnessed a workplace mass murder (also 4 dead) at Chrysler's Twinsburg Stamping Plant the prior year, I was interviewed by a military psychiatrist, and months later received a 4F classification.

    My best friend at the time, later the best man at my wedding, also was traumatized.  He took a more official protest to the prospect of being drafted, and went through the lengthy process of applying for conscientous objector status.  He was approved finally, and assigned to the TB ward at Bellevue in NYC, where he eventually contracted the disease.  He did get the best of care, and is OK today, but his life was never the same.

    And I believe the country was also traumatized.  The killings at Kent State virtually stopped the student protest movement, and Nixon and his gang had five more years to impose their will on an unwilling populace thousands of miles away.  The Ford crowd that prosecuted that illegal war never gave up, and look where we are today.

    That's how it is on this bitch of an earth. Samuel Beckett, "Waiting for Godot"

    by ohiojack on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:39:18 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  an amazing story, ohiojack! (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      joynow, peraspera, mitchvance

      I don't think I actually realized that there was a PTSD element to this until I began responding to the commentss in these threads. Yes, I knew I was obsessed but, hey, I get like that. But as I read what other people were saying and responded to them and then, perhaps even more significantly, when I tried to cope with all the feelings that had been brought up over the next few days (and then weeks), I realized how deeply embedded in me the trauma really was.

      And, of course, I was nowhere near the actual event.

      I can't imagine what it must have been like for you to be part of two such incidents.

      This reminds me, though, that Elaine Holstein (Jeff Miller's mother) was at Luxor, Egypt the day before the horrible terrorist attack there about ten years ago. That was way too close for comfort. I can't imagine how she would have survived emotionally if she'd actually been witness to that event.

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

      by kainah on Wed May 24, 2006 at 11:47:11 PM PDT

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      •  It was one of those rare events in history (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        mitchvance

        that you "felt" you were there. Maybe due to repeated viewing of the many photos from nearly every angle, you  just feel deep inside that you (we) were part of the actual experience.

        I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers

        by Zwoof on Thu May 25, 2006 at 02:50:45 AM PDT

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    •  I went back and read (6+ / 0-)

      your comments in the last diary.

      Don't know what to say but I have to say something. I am so sorry it all happened and so glad you shared what you did.

      I'm not sure the the country was traumatized enough. It sounds like too many accepted it as part of law and order. It was the caring hearts that were traumatized.

      You're right-look where we are today. How can that be possible?

      Now and then I hear people complaining about where the baby boomers went, look what they've done with things. I am later baby boomer and always felt it was the ones that came earlier and led the protests and opened the doors that the rest of us walked through are the only ones that deserve the title. My peers had no draft to worry about.

      The best of them were shot through the heart that day, wherever they were.

      The worst of them did the shooting or found it justified.

      Yet you went to Washington, the courage that took! I understand why you would...but you should have been apologized to, honored, listened to, not tear gassed.

      The world wasn't made for this crap.

    •  Thanks for sharing your thoughts. (0+ / 0-)

      The massacre at Kent State is seldom talked about these days and I believe that is wrong given our current government.  

      I am sorry that you had to experience that awful time.  

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