***Special note, 2/11/17: I’ve removed the direct URL for anonymous’s Operation Resistance page as this was triggering security warnings. I’ve linked instead to an archived snapshot of the link. I’m sorry for the trouble.***
In the spirit of our apocalyptic times, I remembered an infamous American incident that happened almost 50 years ago, during another infamous period of social upheaval not much unlike the one we are living in.
I’m speaking of the Kent State shootings in which 4 young people were shot to death by a group of cornered National Guardsmen at the Ohio campus on May 4, 1970.
The shootings were a pinnacle of the ceaseless domestic unrest that crescendoed during the Vietnam War.
Even though it was “small scale,” the Kent State shootings nevertheless became part of subversive American folklore and catapulted student protests to the forefront of the national news. Kent State triggered an enormous, violent protest in Washington just days later. President Richard Nixon went so far as to create a “Commission on Campus Unrest.”
On Monday, May 4, a protest was scheduled to be held at noon, as had been planned three days earlier. University officials attempted to ban the gathering, handing out 12,000 leaflets stating that the event was canceled. Despite these efforts, an estimated 2,000 people gathered on the university’s Commons, near Taylor Hall. The protest began with the ringing of the campus’s iron Victory Bell (which had historically been used to signal victories in football games) to mark the beginning of the rally, and the first protester began to speak.
Companies A and C, 1/145th Infantry and Troop G of the 2/107th Armored Cavalry, Ohio National Guard (ARNG), the units on the campus grounds, attempted to disperse the students. The legality of the dispersal was later debated at a subsequent wrongful death and injury trial. On appeal, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled that authorities did indeed have the right to disperse the crowd.
The dispersal process began late in the morning with campus patrolman Harold Rice riding in a National Guard Jeep, approaching the students to read an order to disperse or face arrest. The protesters responded by throwing rocks, striking one campus patrolman and forcing the Jeep to retreat.
Just before noon, the Guard returned and again ordered the crowd to disperse. When most of the crowd refused, the Guard used tear gas. Because of wind, the tear gas had little effect in dispersing the crowd, and some launched a second volley of rocks toward the Guard’s line and chanted “Pigs off campus!” The students lobbed the tear gas canisters back at the National Guardsmen, who wore gas masks.
When it became clear that the crowd was not going to disperse, a group of 77 National Guard troops from A Company and Troop G, with bayonets fixed on their M1 Garand rifles, began to advance upon the hundreds of unarmed protesters. As the guardsmen advanced, the protesters retreated up and over Blanket Hill, heading out of the Commons area. Once over the hill, the students, in a loose group, moved northeast along the front of Taylor Hall, with some continuing toward a parking lot in front of Prentice Hall (slightly northeast of and perpendicular to Taylor Hall). The guardsmen pursued the protesters over the hill, but rather than veering left as the protesters had, they continued straight, heading toward an athletic practice field enclosed by a chain link fence. Here they remained for about 10 minutes, unsure of how to get out of the area short of retracing their path. During this time, the bulk of the students congregated to the left and front of the guardsmen, approximately 150 to 225 ft (46 to 69 m) away, on the veranda of Taylor Hall. Others were scattered between Taylor Hall and the Prentice Hall parking lot, while still others were standing in the parking lot, or dispersing through the lot as they had been previously ordered.
While on the practice field, the guardsmen generally faced the parking lot which was about 100 yards (91 m) away. At one point, some of them knelt and aimed their weapons toward the parking lot, then stood up again. At one point the guardsmen formed a loose huddle and appeared to be talking to one another. They had cleared the protesters from the Commons area, and many students had left, but some stayed and were still angrily confronting the soldiers, some throwing rocks and tear gas canisters. About 10 minutes later, the guardsmen began to retrace their steps back up the hill toward the Commons area. Some of the students on the Taylor Hall veranda began to move slowly toward the soldiers as they passed over the top of the hill and headed back into the Commons.
During their climb back to Blanket Hill, several guardsmen stopped and half-turned to keep their eyes on the students in the Prentice Hall parking lot. At 12:24 p.m., according to eyewitnesses, a sergeant named Myron Pryor turned and began firing at the crowd of students with his .45 pistol. A number of guardsmen nearest the students also turned and fired their rifles at the students. In all, at least 29 of the 77 guardsmen claimed to have fired their weapons, using an estimate of 67 rounds of ammunition. The shooting was determined to have lasted only 13 seconds, although John Kifner reported in The New York Times that “it appeared to go on, as a solid volley, for perhaps a full minute or a little longer.” The question of why the shots were fired remains widely debated.
The adjutant general of the Ohio National Guard told reporters that a sniper had fired on the guardsmen, which remains a debated allegation. Many guardsmen later testified that they were in fear for their lives, which was questioned partly because of the distance between them and the students killed or wounded. Time magazine later concluded that “triggers were not pulled accidentally at Kent State.” The President’s Commission on Campus Unrest avoided probing the question of why the shootings happened. Instead, it harshly criticized both the protesters and the Guardsmen, but it concluded that “the indiscriminate firing of rifles into a crowd of students and the deaths that followed were unnecessary, unwarranted, and inexcusable.”
The shootings killed four students and wounded nine. Two of the four students killed, Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, had participated in the protest, and the other two, Sandra Scheuer and William Knox Schroeder, had been walking from one class to the next at the time of their deaths. Schroeder was also a member of the campus ROTC battalion. Of those wounded, none was closer than 71 feet (22 m) to the guardsmen. Of those killed, the nearest (Miller) was 225 feet (69 m) away, and their average distance from the guardsmen was 345 feet (105 m).
The incomplete parallels to today’s climate are striking.
Violent, young adult protesters have taken to the streets and extracted the most mind-boggling, offensive demands and a certain strain of protester, the Antifas and touring Black Blocs, have demonstrated they are not averse to physical assault and property destruction. Their anger and collective petulance, while superficially focused on President Donald Trump, is also diffuse and appears to be embittered by a multi-headed strain of disparate grievances. President Trump merely represents the figurehead against which the aggrieved Left channels its anarchical antagonisms, hence why much of the uprising appears nonsensical to most.
And it’s getting worse.
The stronger President Trump grows with the attainment of each political “victory,” the fiercer grows the rebellious determination and vindictive agenda of the malevolent Left. With each Trumpian political appointment to surmount oppositional vetting, which will ultimately climax in the approval of Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, the opposition will become incrementally unraveled, defeated and helpless, which translates to an increased level of recklessness in expression of defiance.
Placards and yelling will surrender to assault and property destruction, which has begun in some cases.
For every Trumpian victory, however symbolic and oblique it may be (ie, the New England Patriots…), a corresponding tidal wave of wrath will be spawned and many of the street protests we’ve begun witnessing will turn more aggressive. And let’s be honest: Trump’s escalating behavior is bolstered with each political triumph and this supplies a never ending dose of incremental antagonism that will ultimately result in many more acts of flagrant violence and destruction by street protesters.
Subversive group, Anonymous, has gone as far as issuing an ultimatum to Donald Trump instructing him to “step down” from office by February 28 if he wishes to avoid “mass marches” across America that will ensue if he remains President. Their “call-to-action demands:”
1. That Donald Trump resign from the office of President of the United States by 28 February, 2017;
2. That the current administration submits its resignation by 28 February 2017;
3. That the interim administration be made of senior elected officials of the Independent Party, thus removing any bias or unwanted opposition misappropriation;
4. That early free and fair elections are called on as soon as possible.
On March 1, if this doesn’t take place, the call is for people to take to the streets and mass march for change – “On March 1st, expect us all.”
Now this may very well be (and probably is) the inflated posturing of a bunch of internet toy revolutionaries, but the defiantly rebellious tone will only engorge itself if left unchecked and unchallenged. The more such thought patterns and behavior are humored and allowed to fester in the petri dish of today’s tense political environment, the greater the danger that the threats become “real,” no longer a smokescreen figment of digital imaginations.
The question becomes: at what point does Donald Trump decide to draw the line and send the delinquents home before they hurt someone?
Because a point will come when cajoling and tolerating the collective misbehavior of today’s youth becomes harmful to the progress of Trump’s agenda and “making America great” will take a downward turn and become a struggle to “keep America peaceful.”
I would offer that the point is rapidly approaching when the government will need to defer to a little Kent State small-dosed ultraviolence in order to display its steadfast desire to maintain American dignity and respect, but most importantly, serenity. There will arrive a day when protesters, emboldened by governmental reticence, surpass an equilibrium that we can no longer ignore. Perhaps a fit of violence and mayhem will spring forth somewhere in America. Whatever it happens to be, it will trigger American forces to inflict a handful of casualties on the Black Bloc/Antifas, sending a clear message that the time to act like adults has arrived. Protest and opposition are integral elements of our democracy; violence, subversion of American institutions, is harmful, however, and our government is in the business of preserving democracy and safety for the rest of us, who demand it remain viable and strong.
It will be time for a new Kent State.
There is no need for full-fledged carnage on the part of American forces. A simple handful of casualties, at the most, should strike the necessary fear and debilitation in the hearts of those who would presume to dictate America’s agenda from below. The endgame of such a forceful strike by authorities would not be complete submission of protest, but a gentle nudge toward humility and respectful coexistence.
The question then: where, and when, to destroy the soul of the children.