Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Kent State and Jackson State

Kent State, May 4, 1970: and Jackson State, May 14, 1970: The Dates America Killed Its Children


39 years ago, a time and parallel in application, we were at war with Vietnam, a country that had neither attacked us nor was any threat to our way of life. However Vietnam had something we wanted, “Drugs and Oil”. Viet Nam has proven crude oil reserves of 3.1-3.3 billion barrels, located in 60 mainly offshore oil and gas formations. It also has the drugs the CIA was after in the Golden Triangle.

Iraq has the Oil we want, and Afghanistan has the Drugs.

Do you see any similarity?

In the Spring of 1970, campus communities across this country were characterized by a chorus of protests and demonstrations. The issues were the escalation of the war in Vietnam and the U.S. invasion of Cambodia; the ecology; racism and repression; and the inclusion of the experiences of women and minorities in the educational system. No institution of higher education was left untouched by confrontations and continuous calls for change.

Thirty Nine years ago for many of us was just yesterday and we can still recall that students came out on the Kent State campus and scores of others to protest the bombing of Cambodia-- a decision of President Nixon's that appeared to expand the Vietnam War. Some rocks were thrown, some windows were broken, and an attempt was made to burn the ROTC building. Governor James Rhodes sent in the National Guard. When The Kent State shootings ended, four students were killed and nine others were wounded, one of whom suffered permanent paralysis

On May 14-15, 1970, Jackson State students were protesting these issues as well as the May 4, 1970 tragedy at Kent State University in Ohio. Four Kent State students -- Alison Krause, Sandra Scheuer, Jeffrey Glenn Miller and William K. Schroeder -- were killed by Ohio National Guardsmen who opened fire on unarmed students.

Seventy-five city policemen and Mississippi State Police officers armed with carbines, sub machine guns, shotguns, service revolvers and some personal weapons, responded to the call. Their combined armed presence on the Lynch Street side of Stewart Hall, a men's dormitory, staved off the crowd long enough for the firemen to extinguish the blaze and leave. After the firemen left, the police and state troopers marched along Lynch Street toward Alexander Center, a women's residence, weapons at the ready.

Falling back before the approaching officers, the students congregated in a thick knot in front of the dormitory. At this point, the crowd numbered 75 to 100 people. Several students allegedly shouted "obscene catcalls" while others chanted and tossed bricks at the officers, who had closed to within 100 feet of the group.

The police opened fire at approximately 12:05 a.m., May 15, and continued firing for more than 30 seconds. The students scattered, some running for the trees in front of the library, but most scrambling for the Alexander Hall west end door. When the order to cease fire was given and the gunfire ceased, Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior pre-law major and father of an 18-month-old son, lay dead 50 feet east of the west wing door of Alexander Hall. Two Double-0 buckshot pellets had punched into his head while a third pellet entered just beneath his left eye and a fourth just under his left armpit.

Across the street, behind the line of police and highway patrolmen, James Earl Green, 17, was sprawled dead in front of B. F. Roberts Dining Hall. Green, a senior at Jim Hill High School in Jackson, was walking home from work at a local grocery store when he stopped to watch the action. He was standing in front of B. F. Roberts Hall when a single buckshot blast slammed into the right side of his chest.

Twelve other Jackson State students were struck by gunfire, including at least one who was sitting in the dormitory lobby at the time of the shooting. Several students required treatment for hysteria and injuries from shattered glass.

Can this happen again, unfortunately it can!