photo/John A. Darnell Jr. from the Kent State University Library Archives
For me, truth has always been hard to come by when it comes to Kent State. But the photo above, in my world, is the closest to truth I've ever found. Oddly, this version from the KSU Archives is actually cropped ever so slightly on the right. In the uncropped version, with a magnifying glass, you can see right down the barrel of one of the rifles as one of the Guardsman took aim (seemingly) directly at John Darnell. Darnell has said that he saw that, snapped the shutter, dropped to the ground and heard a bullet whiz over his head. That is truth.
Following the re-election of Barack Obama, I will have more to say about truth and Kent State. But, until then, I bring you the conclusion of Laurel Krause's article for PROJECT CENSORED.
Kent State: Was It about Civil Rights or Murdering Student Protesters?
by Laurel Krause with Mickey Huff
from the forthcoming Censored 2013: Dispatches from the Media Revolution to be published by Seven Stories Press
The Kent State students never had a chance against the armed will of the US government in its aim to fight wars in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos back in 1970. Further, the First Amendment rights to protest and assemble have shown to be only vacuous platitudes. Forty-two years later, the Obama administration echoes the original drone of the US government denying the murder of protesters, pointing only to civil rights lost. When bullets were fired on May 4th at Kent State, US government military action against antiwar protesters on domestic soil changed from a civil rights breach to acts of murder and attempted murder.
Congressman Kucinich, in an interview with Pacifica Radio after his exchanges with DOJ by May of 2012, said:
There are some lingering questions that could change the way that history looks at what happened at Kent State. And I think that we owe it to the present generation of Americans, the generation of Americans that came of age during Kent, the students on campus, we owe it to the Guardsmen, who it was said opened fire without any provocation what so ever . . . we have to get to the truth.20As long as American leadership fails to consider killing protesters a homicidal action and not just about civil rights lost, there is little safety for American protesters today, leaving the door wide open for more needless and unnecessary bloodshed and possibly the killing of American protesters again. This forty-two-year refusal to acknowledge the death of four students relates to current US government practices toward protest and protesters in America, as witnessed at Occupy Wall Street over the past year. When will it ever become legal to protest and assemble in America again? Will American leadership cross the line to kill American protesters again?21
In a rare editorial addressing this issue, journalist Stephen Rosenfeld of AlterNet wrote:
History never exactly repeats itself. But its currents are never far from the present. As today’s protesters and police employ bolder tactics, the Kent State and Jackson State anniversaries should remind us that deadly mistakes can and do happen. It is the government’s responsibility to wield proportionate force, not to over-arm police and place them in a position where they could panic with deadly results.22Though forty-two years have passed, the lessons of Kent State have not yet been learned.
In 2010, the United Kingdom acknowledged the wrongs of Bloody Sunday, also setting an example for the US government to learn the important lessons of protest and the First Amendment. In January 1972, during “Bloody Sunday,” British paratroopers shot and killed fourteen protesters; most of the demonstrators were shot in the back as they ran to save themselves.24
Thirty-eight years after the Bloody Sunday protest, British Prime Minister David Cameron apologized before Parliament, formally acknowledging the wrongful murder of protesters and apologized for the government.25 The healing in Britain has begun. Considering the striking similarity in events where protesters were murdered by the state, let’s examine the wrongs of Kent State, begin to heal this core American wound, and make a very important, humane course correction for America. When will it become legal to protest in America?
President Obama, the Department of Justice, and the US government as a whole must take a fresh look at Stuart Allen’s findings in the Kent State Strubbe tape. The new Kent State evidence is compelling, clearly showing how US covert intelligence took the lead in creating this massacre and in putting together the ensuing cover-up.
As the United States has refused to examine the new evidence or consider the plight of American protest in 2012, the Kent State Truth Tribunal formally requested the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague consider justice at Kent State.26
Who benefited the most from the murder of student protesters at Kent State? Who was really behind the Kent State massacre? There is really only one US agency that clearly benefited from killing student antiwar protesters at Kent State: the Department of Defense.
Since 1970 through 2012, the military-industrial-cyber complex strongly associated with the Department of Defense and covert US government agencies have actively promoted never-ending wars with enormous unaccounted-for budgets as they increase restrictions on American protest. These aims of the Pentagon are evidenced today in the USA PATRIOT Act, the further civil rights–limiting National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), and new war technologies like CIA drones.
Probing the dark and buried questions of the Kent State massacre is only a beginning step to shine much-needed light on the United States military and to illuminate how the Pentagon has subverted American trust and safety, as it endeavors to quell domestic protest against war at any cost since at least 1970.
LAUREL KRAUSE is a writer and truth seeker dedicated to raising awareness about ocean protection, safe renewable energy, and truth at Kent State. She publishes a blog on these topics at Mendo Coast Current. She is the cofounder and director of the Kent State Truth Tribunal. Before spearheading efforts for justice for her sister Allison Krause, who was killed at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, Laurel worked at technology start-ups in Silicon Valley.
MICKEY HUFF is the director of Project Censored and professor of social science and history at Diablo Valley College. He did his graduate work in history on historical interpretations of the Kent State shootings and has been actively researching the topic more since his testimony to the Kent State Truth Tribunal in New York City in 2010.
20. The Project Censored Show on The Morning Mix, “May 4th and the Kent State Shootings in the 42nd Year.”
21. Steven Rosenfeld, “Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State?,” AlterNet, May 3, 2012, http://www.alternet.org/....
23. Laurel Krause, “No More Kent States,” Mendo Coast Current, April 21, 2012, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/....
24. Laurel Krause, “Unjustified, Indefensible, Wrong,” Mendo Coast Current, September 13, 2010, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/....
25. Associated Press, “Bloody Sunday Report Blames British Soldiers Fully,” USA Today, June 15, 2010, http://www.usatoday.com/... and Cameron’s direct quote from Henry McDonald, Owen Bowcott, and Hélène Mulholland, “Bloody Sunday Report: David Cameron Apologises for ‘Unjustifiable’ Shootings,” Guardian, June 15, 2010, http://www.guardian.co.uk/....
26. Laurel Krause, “To the Hague: Justice for the May 4th Kent State Massacre?,” Mendo Coast Current, May 7, 2012, http://mendocoastcurrent.wordpress.com/... for more on the Kent State Truth Tribunal, see www.TruthTribunal.org.