04 May 2010

In Memoriam: Four Dead In Ohio

4 May 1970
Kent State University

From the New York Times front page story by John Kifner:

Four students at Kent State University, two of them women, were shot to death this afternoon by a volley of National Guard gunfire. At least 8 other students were wounded.

The burst of gunfire came about 20 minutes after the guardsmen broke up a noon rally on the Commons, a grassy campus gathering spot, by lobbing tear gas at a crowd of about 1,000 young people.

Frederick P. Wenger, the Assistant Adjutant General, said the troops had opened fire after they were shot at by a sniper.

"They were understanding orders to take cover and return any fire," he said.

This reporter, who was with the group of students, did not see any indication of sniper fire, nor was the sound of any gunfire audible before the Guard volley. Students, conceding that rocks had been thrown, heatedly denied that there was any sniper.

The dead:
Allison Krause, 19 (shot from 110 yards away)
William Schroeder, 19 (130 yards)
Jeffery Miller, 20 (90 yards)
Sandra Scheuer, 20 (130 yards)

It's still hard to believe I had to write this song. It's ironic that I capitalized on the death of these American students. Probably the most important lesson ever learned at an American place of learning. David Crosby cried after this take.
---Neil Young, liner notes to Decade on his song "Ohio"

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