against the war.
became another exemplar of how the U.S. government was conducting a uniquely
illegal and immoral war in Vietnam and on the very streets of America. The
background and context of radical political activities before and after those
events may perhaps offer new perspectives.
and Candy Erickson and Weatherman and red diaper baby Howie Emmer organize
a radical and militant chapter of the SDS ranging from six to 30 members.
They operated out of the “Haunted House” on Ash Street up the hill from the fictional
“Bates Motel” in Alfred Hitchcock’s film classic “Psycho.”
George Gibeaut, Howard Emmer, Edward Erickson and Jeff David Powell—had been
arrested for assaulting campus cops at Kent State.
were determined to start revolution here.”
Committee—all vigorous opponents of ROTC on campus.
Among whose members were red diaper baby Howie Emmer, Bob Erlich, Joe Walsh,
Rick Erickson and Robin Marks. YSLer Mike Alewitz was leader of the Kent State Mobilization Against the War.
and others. In requesting help from the Governor, Kent Mayor Leroy told a grand
jury that two cars of Weathermen had arrived.
The out of town contingent emerged with walkie-talkies and armbands. The
SDS Weather controlled Revolutionary Printing Cooperative Committee produced a
leaflet distributed at Kent State showing white radicals carrying rifles
captioned, “Join the Americong…Be an Outlaw. The Time is right for fighting
in the streets.” 
Bleik, Thomas Foglesong and Thomas Miller, were not students of Kent State
University. Witnesses later reported overhearing talk of meetings planning riots and the
burning of the ROTC building on campus including gathering rocks,
railroad flares, and machetes. Students warned merchants to post signs
protesting the war in Vietnam and Cambodia or face damages to their stores.
days May 1-3, 1970 mobs surged through the streets of Kent, Ohio and the
university campus breaking windows, setting fires, burning the ROTC building,
attacking photographers, firemen and policemen and cutting fire hoses.
They were “well-trained, militant” revolutionaries”. 
Governor’s deployment of the National Guard saying the burning of the ROTC
building had to be taken in the “larger context of the daily burning of buildings
and people by our government in Vietnam, Laos and now Cambodia.” This faculty
minority demanded the removal of the National Guard, the end of “martial law”
and “greater understanding of the issues …contributing to the burning of ROTC building….”
called out the Ohio National Guardsmen.
KILL, KILL.” According to various witnesses and photographs the mob bombarded the Guardsmen
with bricks, concrete, golf clubs, baseball bats, spiked golf balls, sling
shots and ball bearings, razor embedded blocks of wood and bags of excrement.
not from the Guard’s M-1 rifles according to contemporary witnesses, rang out.
A TV reporter, Fred DeBrine of WKYC, claimed to have seen and overheard Kent
State student and FBI informant and photographer, Terry Norman, handing a
revolver to a police officer and saying “I was afraid they were going to kill
me, so I took out my revolver, and I fired it the air and into the ground.” 
copy of an audiotape of that day revealed new evidence in October 2010:
enforcement photographer, Terry Norman, was surrounded by an angry mob recorded
shouting, “They got someone” followed by “Kill Him, Kill Him.” Thereafter, the
sound of a digitally identical .38 caliber revolver is heard followed by “Whack
that [expletive]”and three more .38 caliber shots.
A contemporary photo shows Terry Norman in the protection of Ohio National
Guardsmen. A perhaps guilt-ridden Terry Norman has since told many stories, denied firing
his .38 and avoided interviews, but the forensic evidence now seems to place
him in self-defense precipitating a human tragedy.
guardsmen, returned rifle fire 67 times for 13 seconds killing four
students—Allison Krause, Jeffrey Miller, Sandra Scheuer, William Schroeder– and wounding nine others.
school, Mary Ann Vecchio, was forever remembered kneeling, screaming with arms
outstretched over the prostate body of an innocent student bystander Jeffrey Miller.
(There a similar photo of a woman holding the head of Benno Ohnessorg shot by a
West German policeman in a 1967 protest. The policeman, Karl-Heinz Kurras, was
a paid agent of the Stasi, the East German Secret Police. The “fascist” police
murder mobilized the German Left.)
“Until you are ready to kill your parents, you’re not ready to change this
yippized than in any single time in American history.”
was “very disturbed. Afraid his (Cambodian) decision set it off, and that is
the ostensible cause of the demonstrations there.”
Yevgeny Yevtushenko’s Bullets don’t like people / who love flowers, a
propaganda piece, published in Pravda, the official newspaper of the
Communist Party of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. The poem was a
eulogy for 19-year-old protester and victim Allison Krause. The day before she
was quoted as saying “Flowers are better than bullets.” Yevtushenko’s
poem was both a condemnation of the war and a call to arms to overthrow
capitalism to “become a legion of flowers… armed with bullets.”
showed rioting students and nonstudents at fault, as would ultimately a Special
Ohio Grand Jury and the families of the student victims.
vulnerability) publicly claimed the FBI had concluded the Guard was at fault
and on June 15, 1970 J. Walter Yeagley, Assistant Attorney General for Internal
Security wrote Hoover, “the evidence was insufficient to warrant presentation
…to a grand jury.” Hoover scrawled on the memo, “The usual run around by the do nothing Div.”
the actions of the National Guard “unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
Junior McManus, Barry William Morris, William Earl Perkins, James Edward
Pierce, Lawrence Anthony Shafer, Leon Herbert Smith, Ralph William Zoller) were
prosecuted for violating the civil rights of students, but U.S. District Court
Judge Frank J. Battisti acquitted the guardsmen. They lacked willful intent to
deprive victims of their civil rights.
was indicted for inciting a riot. Only two of the wounded students were among
the 25 indicted, Joe Lewis and Alan Canfora. Canfora was an identified Maoist
member of the Revolutionary Communist Party and a member of the National Lawyers Guild.
After two years of SDS mentoring only three of the indicted were SDS members in
the action-Ruth Gibson, Ken Hammond and Ron Weissenberger.
and Larry A. Shub both pled guilty to first-degree riot. Jerry Rupe who was
witnessed setting fire to the ROTC building with a gasoline soaked rag, burning
an American flag, and assaulting firemen was found guilty by a hung jury only for interfering with a fireman by cutting fire hoses.
During trial charges were dismissed against Peter Bleik, witnessed leading the
action at the ROTC fire scene, was not identified at trial.
Charges against Mary Helen Nicholas were also dismissed at trial. On December
23, 1971 all charges against the remaining 20 were also dismissed.
Panther, to New York and were never arrested or prosecuted –Tate for being
witnessed helping to set fire to the ROTC building. 
received money settlements in civil suits equal to or larger than the $675,000
settlements given to parents of the four dead students.
of the evil empire and its war in Vietnam. Mark Rudd, weatherman and an SDS visitor
to Kent State, in retrospect wrote, “In some measure, the militancy of the
university’s Cambodia demonstrations resulted from the confrontational politics
that Weatherman had helped to create at Kent.” The Kent State chapter of SDS “had produced dozens of Weather cadre.”
1970 Weatherman John Allen Fuerst (Aka Jeremy Pikser, Phil) and Roberta Brent
Smith, dedicated to an immediate revolution, illegally bought 30 pounds of dynamite,
under the alias William Allen Friedman and took the explosives to California.
highly unfavorable and the Black Panthers 75% highly unfavorable.
A Gallup poll revealed that 58% of Americans blamed the protesters and only 11% the guard.
construction workers, following the example of their AFL-CIO leader, George
Meany who supported the war, opposed the leftists. Apparently not having read
Karl Marx’s Das Kapital, the workers chanted, “Kill the Commie
Bastards,” while defending capitalist Wall Street from a leftist assault.
The hardhats roughed up seventy students. In the weeks that followed prowar
hardhats in the thousands took to the streets in response to antiwar protests.
J. Edgar Hoover told Egil Krogh, “I’m glad (the construction guys) did what
they did…[T]hey really chased them down Broadway.”
network, organizational apparatus and public outrage over the killing of
innocents at Kent State in a few days, on May 9th up to 50,000-100,000
demonstrators converged on Washington, D.C.
Fred Halstead, Phil Hirschkop, Abbie Hoffman, Brad Lyttle, John McAuliff,
Stuart Meacham, Sidney Peck, Jerry Rubin, Arthur Waskow, and Ron Young. The
protest concluded with demonstrators picking up caskets and marching them down
15th Street toward the White House ringed by tightly packed buses
and an invisible thousand National Guardsmen.
breaking windows of buses until police tear gas turned them back. Some who occupied
the Peace Corps claimed, “Like the Viet Cong, we escape back into the people.”
On the whole the mass of demonstrators on the 9th was calm and peaceful. That angered Norma Becker,
Arthur Waskow and Sidney Peck who had hoped that mass civil disobedience would
provoke the government to use excessive force as it had at the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Vietnamese in their sanctuary of Cambodia. Nixon replied that Fonda and kind
was “a bunch of bums.” At a Washington rally Fonda welcomed her
“fellow bums,” clenched her fist and declared “Power to the people.”
State) would have been killed if they had not fired because students were
throwing lead pipes, rocks, and bricks at Guardsmen. …We have…photos of bruises
of the Guardsmen in color, some of which are shocking.” Hoover reminded Krogh
that the burning of an ROTC building two nights before had precipitated the calling out of the National Guard.
and military recruiting on campus—e.g. Wisconsin, Northwestern, Dartmouth,
Berkeley, Princeton– would reduce ROTC enrollments by two-thirds from the mid-1960s to the 1970s.
This diminished the ranks of recruitable commissioned officers and negatively
impacted the quality of junior officers serving in combat, e.g. William Calley at My Lai.
Mississippi. On May 18th, Hoover told Vice President Agnew, “We found a considerable amount of firearms
in the …rooms of students (at Kent State)…Some say there was sniping and some
say there was not. …The same is true at Jackson …allegations of sniping at the troops before they fired and denials.”
State shootings. An angry Hoover told President Nixon that was the view of
Assistant Attorney General Jerris Leonard, not the FBI. The FBI did not draw
conclusions. “We must not allow the press to get by with attributing things to
the FBI which are absolutely untrue,” said Hoover.
retaliation, they said, for the killings of anti-war protesters at Jackson and
Kent State Universities. In addition, a fire truck was destroyed, rocks
were thrown, windows broken at the Department of Justice and at businesses
along Connecticut Avenue and at Dupont Circle, areas around the Washington Monument were disrupted.
down universities nationwide for teach-ins on the Vietnam War. The objective
was not debates of the issues. They sought to win the Vietnam “debate” by superior force.
And they did.
were protests on 57% of the nation’s college campuses and even junior high
schools experienced protests. On the whole, the left on campuses almost
everywhere succeeded in bullying timid school administrators and faced
unorganized or intimidated opposition.
violence hits new high during period of May 1-15” and counted the number of
student demonstrations. May’s two-week total was equal to the previous eight
months—844 campus demonstrations, 3,000 arrests, 166 injuries, six deaths.
Property losses were $4.5 million ranging from vandalism, 115 arsonist attacks,
3 bombings–often targeting ROTC facilities. Of 458 injuries, two-thirds, 295 were of police officers.
colleges and universities. Indeed, throughout the war young people under thirty
were far less likely to think the war was a mistake than those over thirty when
answering Gallup’s question, “Do you think the U.S. made a mistake sending
troops to fight in Vietnam?” By June Gallup found that 82% disapproved
of “College students going on strike…to protest the way things are run in this country.”
History Of The Weather Underground, Verso, 1997, 49-50.
York: Harper Collins, 2009, 210; James A. Michener, Kent State: What
Happened and Why, New York: Random House, 1971, 92; Cathy Wilkerson, Flying
Close to the Sun, New York: Seven Stories Press, 2007, 228, 356.
University [n.d.1969] in a special collection, “4 May 1970,” Box 107, at the
Kent State University Library at speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/box 107/107f9p12.gif.
House, 1971, 80.
University, May 1, 1969 in a special collection, “4 May 1970,” Box 107, at the
Kent State University Library at speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/box 107/107f9p12.gif.
House, 1971, 88-89, 98.
Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws, The
Weather Underground, Committee Print, January 1975, 27-29.
Canton Ohio; FBI, FOIA, Kent State, CV 98-2140, 302 interview of [redacted] at Ravenna, Ohio 5/16/70.
1970, in “ROTC building arson May 2, 1970: Witness statements taken August 6,
1970, Kent State University in a special collection, “4 May 1970,” Box 107, at
the Kent State University Library at speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/box
October 16, 1970.
JJD/jky, Cleveland, 5/15/70.
Mangels, “Kent State tape indicates altercation and pistol fire preceded
National Guard shootings (audio), Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 8, 2010.
April 4, 1970: AP, “Report: Pistol shots preceded Kent St. shootings,” Cleveland
Plain Dealer, October 8, 2010; Robert F. Turner, “Turner: Not a massacre
but a mistake: New evidence indicates source of gunfire of shots that triggered
shootings,” Washington Times, October 12, 2010; “Kent Tribunal Hears New
Evidence of Clear Order to Fire at Kent State, Backs Rep. Kucinich in Call to
Open Inquiry: Audio Tape Shows Evidence of Pistol Firing Seconds Before
Verified Order to Shoot,” Common Dreams.Org, Press Release, October 12, 2010;
Testimony of Stuart Allen bit.ly/dakhWw;
Guard shootings (audio), Cleveland Plain Dealer, October 8, 2010.
and words “communications center.” FBI, FOIA, Kent State, Teletype, FBI
Cleveland to Director FBI Washington, Unsubs: Firebombing of Army ROTC Bldg.,
Kent State Univ. (KSU), Kent Ohio, 5-6-70.
author’s photos Viet II DSC_327-8
Times, May 27, 2009, A4.
York: Berkley Books, 1994,191.
York: Berkley Books, 1994,220.
FOIA, Kent State, J. Walter Yeagley, Assistant Attorney General, Internal Security Division to
Director, FBI. June 15, 1970.
Bliek, Alan M. Canfora, Roseann Canfora, Douglas Charles Cormack, Joseph B.
Cullum, Michael Erwin, Richard G. Felber, Thomas Graydon Foglesong, John
Gerbetz, Ruth Gibson, Kenneth J. Hammond, Jeffrey D. Hartzler, Joseph J. Lewis,
Dr. Thomas S. Lough, Thomas D. Miller, Carol Lynn Mirman, Craig A. Morgan, Mary
Helen Nicholas, James M. Riggs, Jerry H. Rupe, Larry A. Shub, Allen Tate,
Ronald Weissenberger; FBI, FOIA, AIRTEL, SAC, Cleveland to Director [redacted]
et al Sabotage; Sedition; Destruction Government Property, civil Rights Act of
1968—interference with Federally Protected Facility, 10/20/70, 1-3; “Kent
25,” The Burr, May 2000 at http://www.burr.kent.edu/archives/may4/twentyfive/twentyfive1.html.
Only three of the indicted were SDS-Ruth Gibson, Ken Hammond and Ron
Weissenberger. Eyewitnesses identified the following
either throwing rocks, starting fires, beating up witnesses and firemen or
cutting fire hoses: Mike Brock, Peter Bliek, Tony Compton, Debbie Durham,
Richard Felber, Tom Grace, James Harrington, Jimmy Riggs, Jerry Rupe, Larry A.
Shub, Allen Tate, Donald Weisenberger. For eye witnesses see: Francis L.
Brininger, State Arson Bureau, to Eugene Jewell, Chief August 6, 1970, in “ROTC
building arson May 2, 1970: Witness statements taken August 6, 1970, Kent State
University in a special collection, “4 May 1970,” Box 107, at the Kent State
University Library at speccoll.library.kent.edu/4may70/box 107/107f9p12.gif
York: Berkley Books, 1994,242.
Martin V. Hale, Killing of Four Students at Kent State University, Kent, Ohio,
–May 4, 1970; Allison Krause, ET AL – Victims.
CV 98-2140, 302 interview of [redacted]at Kent Ohio, May 26, 1970; FBI, FOIA,
Kent State, CV 98-2140, 302 interview of [redacted] at [redacted] Ohio on June 18, 1970.
York: Harper Collins, 2009, 210.
“Foreign Influence-Weather Underground Organization,” August 20, 1976, 199.
Antiwar Movement, NY: St. Martin’s Griffin, 1997, 8n44, 306.
source of gunfire of shots that triggered shootings,” Washington Times, October 12, 2010.
was a leader, chairman of Campus Mobilization for the Committee for Academic Freedom,
which successfully fought to keep the Claremont Graduate School open during
debates about US Cambodian operations. Other activists of the committee were
Gary Gammon, Sue Leeson, Jo Ellen Schroeder, Richard Reeb, Steve Schlesinger.
See: Leeson, Canfield and Schroeder, “A Plea For Academic Freedom”, spring 1970. The author subsequently gave speeches
supporting Governor Ronald Reagan’s policies at the University of California.
Some members of Claremont doctoral examination committee were unhappy—delaying
completion of the author’s PhD for several years. Perpetrators of bombings injuring a
professor’s secretary and burning down a campus landmark, Story House, were never prosecuted in Claremont.
24, 1970 at FBI FOIA website under Tolson.
dissertation, Claremont Graduate School, Claremont, California 1972, 3.
cited in David L. Anderson, John Ernst (eds.) The War Never Ends: New
Perspectives on Vietnam War, Lexington: University of Kentucky, 2007, 237.