Four Dead In Ohio Four Dead in Ohio On Thursday, April 30, 1970, President Richard Nixon told the American people that we were sending troops into Cambodia. This upset many Americans because Nixon was brought into office due to his promise to end the war. In his first year of presidency it looked like the end of the war was near, but with this announcement the end of the war was not evident. This pro-war decision by Nixon upset many people and led to riots all over the country. How could the President make the decision to continue war when he promised to end it? Among the riots caused by Nixon’s decision were revolts at many universities, such as Kent State. Young students were upset because they were the ones being drafted and the sooner the war ended the less chance they had of seeing war.
On Friday, May 1,1970 anti-war rallies began to take place at Kent State University. Students gathered and burned a copy of the constitution. Also many riots broke out in downtown Kent. The extent of the damage done in Kent was estimated at fifteen thousand dollars. Upon learning about these problems the mayor, Leroy Satrom, called a state of emergency and contacted Governor James Rhodes for assistance.
On May second, the ROTC building at Kent State was burnt down during a protest. The next step was calling in the National Gaurd as ordered by the Governor. The national guard helped on campus by seeing that the new eleven o’clock p.m. curfew was followed by all students. This caused more anger among the students, and added more people to the rebellion that would otherwise not have become involved.
On May 4th 1970, when rallies surfaced again in the commons area, tear gas was used to disperse the crowd. The conflict between students and the National Guard had begun to expand, and the cursing and rock throwing were increasing the tension in the air. The Guard ordered the students to retreat and as the crowds began to break up, it appeared the Guard was also retreating. Then shots were heard. The Guard for reasons unknown had to turn back and open fire at a crowd of students.
Within thirteen seconds, four students were dead and nine wounded. One student who was killed was Allison Krause, who had been the only one of the four killed that was actually involved in the demonstrations. She was shot in the left side of her body. Also, Jeffery Miller was shot in the mouth and killed along with William Schroeder who was shot in the left side of his back. Additionally Sandra Scheuer was killed as she was walking to class unfortunately was shot in the left front side of her neck.
After these tragic events total respect for authority, like the President, the mayor of Kent, and the National Guard was lost by the students and the American people. In honoring those lost and wounded at Kent State a band named Crosby Stills Nash and Young wrote a song. CSN&Y was formed in Southern California in 1968. However David Crosby on guitar, Stephen Stills on guitar, keyboard, and bass, Grahm Nash on guitar and Neil Young on guitar were not new to music. They had all been apart of other bands before.
When they got together, many of their songs were anthems of their generation. Most of the songs in the sixties and seventies were based on protest of the Vietnam war. So when the Kent State shootings occurred it was no surprise that Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young wrote Ohio. When Neil Young heard about the shootings he was outraged and compelled to write Ohio, which when released as a single went to the top of the Billboard charts that summer. As said by band member Grahm Nash, Four young men and women had their lives taken from them while lawfully protesting this outrageous government action.
We are going back to keep awareness alive in the minds of all students, not only in America, but worldwide .. to be vigilant and ready to stand and be counted .. and to make sure that the powers of the politicians do not take precedent over the right of lawful protest. In conclusion, Crosby Stills Nash and Young was a rock group not afraid to express their political opinions, much like many groups of their time. They along with others saw the Kent State Shootings as an example of the evils of government and authority powers. Authorities and people in higher standing can sometimes have a power that leads them to act without thinking of those who could be hurt.
The events at Kent State on May 4th stand as a symbol of this statement. Today we live with the fear that this could happen again, like sung in the song Ohio, What if you knew her and found her dead on the ground? American History.