Ohio National Guards' Kent State Massacre: Deadly Result - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  6
Wordcount:  1471 Words
Date:  2022-12-27


The Ohio National Guards opened fire to a crowd which we believe were students from Kent State University. The students were holding peaceful demonstrations, and the shooting transpire to the death of four students and nine sustained gunshot injuries. (Barbato, Carole, Laura and Mark Seeman 13). The results of the massacre were dramatic. The occurrence led to a nationwide student strikes and demonstrations with students criticizing the shooting and seeking for justice of the slain and the injured students from Kent State University. The national university and college strike led to their indiscriminate closure. A top aide to the then President Richard Nixon suggested that there was a direct influence of the shooting to the national politics. The aide further mentions that the massacre would cause severe destruction of President Richard Nixon's administration. On top of the direct impact to the national politics, the shooting of May 4th symbolized a profound political and social division which was causing a sharp lift in the country during the Vietnam War.

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Several full articles were written about the massacre. However, there seems to be a misunderstanding as well as misinformation about the shooting at Kent State University. Some literary resources such as books have pictures of the fire of May 4 and a substantial summary of the event. (Barbato, Carole, Laura and Mark Seeman 13) Some of these book record that the Ohio National Guards were confronting the students who were demonstrating with tear gas canisters. They later opened fire using live bullets on the student without any provocation at all. A group of students that was running away was the target, and four of them were killed, and several others sustained injuries from the bullets that were fired to them.

Following the demonstrations, the Ohio National Guard was called to the Kent State University to try and contain the situation and the fracases the students were causing. The decision to take the guards to the varsity was a direct relationship to decisions in relation to the involvement of the United States of America in the war with the Vietnamese. After President Richard Nixon took up the power to lead the US, he did not honor the promise he was giving the people about his commitment to end the war with Vietnam. Instead, he invaded Cambodia in late April 1970 which worsened the Vietnam War. The move by President Nixon's government agitated the student, and this was the reason why they were demonstrating. (Boren, and, Mark Edelman 15).

On 1st May of 1970, the anti-war protests kicked off all over the universities and colleges of the United States of America. (Barbato, Carole, Laura and Mark Seeman 13). Commons was a grassy area inside the Kent State University where the anti-war rally in the campus was held at noon. The Commons was an area in the varsity which traditionally was a site for demonstrations and other rallies. It is in this site where the protestors were giving fiery sentiments and critiques of the war and the leadership of President Nixon in general. The demonstrators were seen burying a copy of the constitution to symbolize the death of the law document which was killed by the president. (Boren, and, Mark Edelman 15). A second anti-war rally was planned to take place on 4th of May.

To aid in preventing the planned 4th May, the management of the Kent State University issued leaflets massively stating that the rally was canceled and was not to take place as per the plans of the last three meetings before the fourth of May. (Barbato, Carole, Laura and Mark Seeman 13) The issuance of these leaflets by the management of the campus did not stop the anti-war protestors from carrying to the streets. An estimate of over 2000 people was already in the grounds ready to take their cries to the streets. The Victory Bell which is a property of the university was used to call the protest to order officially. It is after the ringing of this bell that the first protestor speaker took on to speak to other protestors. (Boren, and, Mark Edelman 15). The university grounds were surrounded by many security personnel like the Company A and C, Troop G and the Ohio National Guard. Their main effort was to disperse the gathering protestors among them students of the Kent State University.

The dispersal of the protesters was to start in the morning with the patrol officer of the campus riding the jeep that was belonging to the Ohio National Guards approaching the protesting students to disperse and abort the protest are face an arrest if they would continue protesting. The protestors did not want to take this, and in response, they were throwing stones to the oncoming jeep and hit one of the, and this forced the vehicle to go back to avoid further damage. However, this was not the end of the events, at noon the jeep came back, and the patrol officers were issuing stern orders to the protestors to call off the rally and disperse to their respective areas.

The orders were falling into the ears of the deaf as the protestors did not retreat. The guards were at this point using tear gas to contain the demonstrations. However, the tear gas was not sufficient as a strong wind was blowing carrying away the tear gas from the people. The furious protesters were continuing to haul stones and other objects to the guards while chanting and calling them the pigs of the campus. Some students would throw tear gas canisters back to the guards who were in their gas masks.

The crowd was overpowering the guards, and it was clear that their attempt to abort and disperse the protestors was almost failing. It is during this time when a troop of 77 more members of the National Guard Troops from A company as well as from the G troop joined their colleagues in the attempt to contain the demos. (Boren, and, Mark Edelman 15). These troops were heavily armed and were successfully advancing amid hundreds of protesting students. The advancement of the forces upon the protestors is what made them retreat up and over Blanket Hill heading out of the Commons ground. After getting over the hill, a loose group of students was moving northeast of Taylor Hall of the campus.

The troops successfully dispersed the students from the Common area bur several angry students dared to confront the guards throwing stones and other objects to them. As the forces were climbing back to the Blanket Hill, some of them were keen on students who were at the Prince Hall parking area. At around 12.24 p.m. a sergeant who was in the troop began to fire at the students with his pistol. (Simpson, and Wilson 17). The firing by the sergeant made other guards who were near the students to open fire. The shooting did not, however, last for long as it is estimated that it only lasted for 13 seconds.

A critical question is therefore asked as to why the guards would shoot at students who did not have weapons. The guards however attempted to defend their action by saying that these students were posing threats to them by throwing stones and other objects at them terming it as self-defense. Following the shooting that took 13 seconds, the guards were afraid and nervous, and for this reason, they retreated to the Common ground.(Pade, and Rylan 17). At this point, the guards were facing a large crowd of angry demonstrators which had already realized that they had used live bullets on their fellow students causing deaths of four and injuries of nine students. (Pade, and Rylan 17). In their high state of anger, most protestors were willing to put their lives in danger to attack the guards. The move to attack the guard would undoubtedly have led them to open fire again, and this time more fatalities would have been recorded. The Kent State University marshals, however, prevented a greater tragedy by acting faster to organize themselves when the trouble rose up. Professor Glenn Frank, the leader of the varsity's faculty, pleaded with the National Guards to allow them to talk to their students who were demonstrating. The talk with the student was to attempt to persuade the students to avoid further confrontation with the security agencies to avoid risking their lives. The students were able to be convinced and dispersed from the Commons area.

Work Cited

Barbato, Carole A., Laura L. Davis, and Mark F. Seeman. This we know: A chronology of the shootings at Kent State, May 1970. The Kent State University Press, 2013.Boren, Mark Edelman. Student resistance: A history of the unruly subject. Routledge, 2013.

Pade, Rylan. "An Assessment of Blame for the Kent State Shootings."Simpson, Craig S., and Gregory S. Wilson. Above the shots: An oral history of the Kent State shootings. The Kent State University Press, 2016.

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Ohio National Guards' Kent State Massacre: Deadly Result - Essay Sample. (2022, Dec 27). Retrieved from https://midtermguru.com/essays/ohio-national-guards-kent-state-massacre-deadly-results-essay-sample

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