i. May 4, 1970 was a typical day for many Kent State students getting ready for a revolution. With the Vietnam War going poorly overseas and many students waiting for morbid news of family and friends currently serving, one can understand the social climate and, perhaps, why the national guard was called to settle the 1000 unarmed student protesters on this Ohio campus of 21,000 (Payne). The students were not especially concerned for their safety. It was, after all, a nonviolent protest and "there was no logical reason [for the national guardsmen] to aim or shoot"(Canfora). It is easy to assume that many students were there simply as an excuse to stay out of class, while others were voyeurs, watching the events unfold, warming benches. It is most interesting to hear how the actions of the United States National Guard appeared to eye witnesses. Alan Canfora, one of the nine injured survivors watched the events play out up close, gives a chilling recount of what occurred after he and his fellow classmates "assumed [the guardsmen] were marching in a retreat back over the hill to the KSU Commons" and that they "were quite shocked when, at the hilltop, perhaps a dozen members of Troop G simultaneously stopped, turned and aimed their rifles." For thirteen seconds the guards fired a total of sixty-one shots into an unarmed crowd as far as almost 400 feet, killing four students and injuring nine others (Payne).
ii. But what are we left with today, in the stale exhaust of the Kent State Massacre Do we know why the guardsmen shot, seemingly without reason Was there a sniper Perhaps a student in the crowd concealing a gun These are questions that we do not know the answers to. We must consider how this tragedy affects our society without those answers. Compared to the war in Iraq and the many protests that happen on campuses around the country, it is easy to feel secure next to our dormitories and behind the shield of our constitutional rights, but one must not forget the events of May 4, 1970, and how the security blanket can be so quickly torn away. It is events like this that cause people to rise up and take a stand. The rioters of this time "were called cancer...agitators with disregard for the tenets fo humanity, who would poison [the] water with LSD and set off bombs in [the] post offices and facilitate chaos. Long-hairs. Hippies. Revolutionaries. They brought this on" (Giffels, Klosterman, & Weinreb). It was events like these that make mere people into revolutionaries. Events like these that convince people to keep protesting. To keep asking questions. To keep fighting for more.
B. Che Guevara, Malcolm X, & Martin Luther King, Jr.
i. Revolutionaries like Che Guevara, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. were consistently reminded of the dangers of their chosen profession. Their chosen activism. Like the students protesting the war with guns pointed at them, these men risked their lives in their every day endeavors. Ernesto Guevara, more commonly known as "Che," is today considered a liberal icon, especially in Latin America where they have "made him a symbol of