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College Campus Chaos- Part II

A brief history of the fall of higher education

Last week I discussed the chaos caused by leftists at the University of California-Berkley in 1964. Now I discuss the chaos at Kent State University in 1970, and tell you what really happened.

When people think of Kent State, they usually think of the Ohio National Guard unjustly firing upon a group of students who were peacefully protesting the Vietnam War. The phrase “Four Dead in Ohio” (a reference to the number of students who were killed) has basically become synonymous with the protest that took place at Kent State.

But the protest was anything but peaceful, nor did the National Guard fire upon the crowd without provocation. In fact, Kent State had become a hotbed of rioting and violence, similar to various other college campuses, including Columbia, Harvard, Cal-Berkeley, Cornell, Wisconsin, and Jackson State.

The trouble began at Kent State in April 1969, when a leftist agitator from Columbia University named Mark Rudd showed up and called for the university to shut down its ROTC program, crime laboratories, and law enforcement courses. Within a year, student radicals at Kent State were issuing the same demands. They then occupied several buildings on campus by breaking the windows and locked doors. The administration practically did nothing in response, which only emboldened the student radicals.

On Friday, May 1, 1970, the situation got worse. At least 300 student radicals tore a copy of the Constitution from a history textbook and buried it, claiming that “President Nixon has murdered it”. In addition, a draft card was burnt. The student radicals then set fire to the Air Force ROTC building, as well as an American flag. A student who attempted to take pictures of what was happening was beaten and had his camera taken away. The student radicals even attacked firefighters who were trying to put out the fire, and even stole their hoses.

That night, the student radicals headed toward the center of town and started other fires. They overpowered and even attacked the police (who were unwilling to use their guns). The mayor (who was also attacked) contacted the governor for help, who in turn called up the National Guard.

The next day, the student radicals (whose number had swelled to nearly 2,000) had already set fire to the Kent State president’s building. They then headed back into the town and smashed store windows, in addition to throwing rocks. They also went to a nearby airstrip, where they stole a truck, attacked several planes, and started another fire.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the student radicals had issued a series of demands, which included ending the draft and abolishing tuition.

When the National Guard showed up on Monday to preserve law and order, the leaders of the mob had gotten a large number of students around themselves, thus using them as human shields. The Guardsmen ordered the students to disperse, but they refused. The Guardsmen then began moving towards them in order to disperse them. The students responded by throwing rocks at the Guardsmen, as well as throwing a parking meter at them from the roof of a nearby building. Meanwhile, the Guardsmen had found themselves trapped when they became caught behind a fence of a football practice facility.

All of a sudden, a student named Terry Norman pulled out a gun and for some reason pistol-whipped another student. Then he pointed the gun at the Guardsmen and ran towards them. The Guardsmen then opened fire on the crowd, killing four students in the process.

It’s unclear why Terry Norman did what he did. Was he trying to provoke an incident? Was he trying to be a martyr for his cause? And what happened to him afterwards?

Some leftists claimed he was a government plant, but a series of investigations could find no evidence of such a conspiracy theory.

Thus, the protests at Kent State were anything but peaceful. And due to Terry Norman’s actions, the National Guard was not unprovoked when they fired upon the crowd.

Andrew Linn

Andrew Linn is a member of the Owensboro Tea Party and a former Field Representative for the Media Research Center. An ex-Democrat, he became a Republican one week after the 2008 Presidential Election. He has an M.A. in history from the University of Louisville, where he became a member of the Phi Alpha Theta historical honors society. He has also contributed to and Right Impulse Media.