Four Dead In Ohio

Ken AshfordHistoryLeave a Comment

Kent_state_guardsmenIt’s hard to believe — even now — that there was a time when this country was so divided that National Guardsmen actually opened fire on Americans.

But it happened at Kent State University, 27 years ago, on May 4, 1970.  A student protest of Vietnam — a common scene in those days — resulted in the deaths of four college students, wounding nine more, including some left permanently paralyzed.

Years later, a trial would absolve the National Guard crew and its commanders, who argued that there was no "order" to shoot the students.

I’ve read just about everything written about the incident, so this is news:

A man who was shot in the wrist when National Guard troops killed four Kent State University students during an anti-war demonstration says he has found an audiotape that reveals someone gave a command to fire.

Alan Canfora wants the government to reopen the 37-year-old case because he thinks it will give both the victims and shooters a chance to heal.

"We’re not seeking revenge; we’re not seeking punishment for the Guardsmen at this late date," Canfora said Monday.

"All we want is the truth because we seek healing at Kent State for the student victims, as well as the triggermen who were ordered to fire. And healing can only result from the truth, and that’s all we want."

0204kentCanfora planned to release CD copies of the recording Tuesday at a news conference at Kent State, about 30 miles southeast of Cleveland.

Canfora said he recently requested a copy of the nearly 30-minute tape from Yale University, where a government copy has been stored in an archive.

He said that just before the 13-second volley of gunfire, a voice on the tape is heard yelling, "Right here! Get Set! Point! Fire!"

Sometimes history is slow to get the truth out, but it eventually comes out.