Letters to the Editor

Defending Cindy Sheehan

Dear editor,

The May 4 Task Force is an officially recognized undergraduate student organization. As such, our organization is charged with planning the annual candlelight march, vigil and speakers program relating to the shootings.

When we look at speakers who could potentially come to Kent State, we research noteworthy individuals and what connection they could bring with the May 4, 1970 events. We also discuss with them what their availability is and their cost range.

Mrs. Sheehan was available, and she had a reasonable cost to fall within our allotted budget. More importantly, she is noteworthy because she is a grieving parent who feels her government did not reasonably protect her son while he was their employee.

An argument could be made that Arthur Krause, father of Allison Krause — killed on May 4, 1970 — was seen as a grieving father who took his grief to the airways and print. Allison was the charge of the state government as a student. The day after the shootings, Mr. Krause stood outside Robinson Memorial Hospital and said: “Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because she disagrees with the action of her government?”

Casey Sheehan was assigned to 1st Battalion, 82nd Field Artillery Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division, when he died on April 4, 2004 in Baghdad. In a June 24, 2004 interview with the Vacaville reporter, Mrs. Sheehan stated: “We haven’t been happy with the way the war has been handled. The president has changed his reasons for being over there every time a reason is proven false or an objective reached.”

Should we vilify a mourning mother looking for justice for her lost son when what we commemorate each year on our campus is the search for justice in the loss of our four slain students?

We held a unanimous vote as a student organization that the grief of a parent is a universal theme that links our fallen students as well as their contemporaries who fall in battlefields of Vietnam and our current generation who continue to fall in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We hope that the Kent State community will listen to Mrs. Sheehan with an open mind and each put ourselves in her shoes about what we feel the responsibilities of our government is to the citizens in its care.

In the future, we invite those individuals who have concerns about who we bring to campus to contact us in the fall preceding the commemoration to offer their own suggestions of appropriate speakers.

You may do so in any of the following ways: 1.) Join the May 4 Task Force. We always welcome more members. 2.) The public is welcome to attend any and all of our meetings, as they are held in publicly accessible locations of campus. 3.) Contact us through our Web site: http://dept.kent.edu/may4.

If you do not agree, use your voices for change!

Members of the May 4 Task Force

We are Kent State

Dear editor,

A Kent State student was quoted by The Associated Press May 2 saying both sides were to blame in the deadly shooting on May 4, 1970.

He said students meant to provoke the guard and soldiers overreacted with deadly force.


Like it or not, the May 4 story belongs to every student, every alumni. It’s not just any old story about some long-ago thing.

It’s important.

We gotta get it right.

I didn’t want anything to do with May 4 when I arrived on campus in 1974. I ignored it until my job at the Communications Department required that I show up at a May 3 candlelight vigil. I did not want to go. Actually, I was afraid — until I got to the Taylor Hall parking lot.

It was 11 p.m. The night was clear and springtime cool. People involved or somehow touched by May 4 violence and mayhem approached in silent procession. Their candles made a chain of light. It was silent. It was sad.

Allison Krause’s dad stoically took his place, standing vigil at the exact spot where his daughter received her fatal wound.

He didn’t care if you stared at him, if you gaped. TV cameras shined bright lights on him.

His face, his stance, his silence roared out his message: My child should not have been killed at school by the government.

Yeah, Allison was one who mouthed off to the guardsmen, but she certainly didn’t injure any of them. And here was her dad, standing for her.

Right then, I realized this historic event touched me.

It touches all of us. We are Kent State.

We gotta get it right.

Were both sides to blame?

Consider this gleaned from “The Truth about Kent State: A Challenge to the American Conscience” by Peter Davies and the Board of Church-and-Society of the United Methodist Church:

“Allison was trying to hide behind a car some 343 feet away from the guard’s position when a fatal shot entered her left arm and then her chest.”

Jeff Miller is the dead guy in the famous photo of the girl in shock beside a prone body on a blood-stained roadway. He taunted the guard from 265 feet away and was shot in the mouth.

Sandy Scheuer was walking through Taylor’s parking lot when she was fatally shot in the neck. At 390 feet away, she was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

William Schroeder was in the ROTC. He was shot fatally in the back as he lay flat on the ground, 382 feet away from the guard.

He was one of five students who took bullets from behind.

It began when the guard opted to disburse a peaceful anti-Vietnam War rally on the Commons. Most students left when ordered. Some cussed at and otherwise taunted the National Guard.

The Guard was trained in riot control. The Guard was not surrounded. Students weren’t armed, though some threw rocks and stones they found lying about.

The rally was set for noon. The guard opened fire at 12:24 p.m.

The historic event that is our story lasted 13 seconds.

Both sides were not at fault.

Rosemary Kubera

Kent State class of 1982

Conservative not automatic patriotic

Dear editor,

FREEDOM OF SPEECH, ‘ya gotta’ love it!

The fact that we can voice our opinions in a calm and respectable manner happens to be one of the more finer points of the ‘ol Red, White & Blue!

I love nothing more than hearing different opinions and ideas, which brings me to the reason of why I’m sending this letter to the editor.

Normally, I don’t find myself in need of responding to letters in the Daily Kent Stater. But Jason Clark’s rant about Cindy Sheehan coming to “commemorate the events of May 4” rubbed me the wrong way.

Here’s the way I see it — just because someone isn’t happy with how our country is handled doesn’t make them anti-American. Clark seems to think because some people aren’t waving the American flag 24-7, it makes them unpatriotic haters of the country. That isn’t true.

Living in this wonderful country gives us the right to disagree, which Jason Clark has made loud and clear. Not only was his hate directed toward Cindy Sheehan, but he also lashed out at the “hippies” during Nixon’s time in office, calling that situation “when a haze of pot smoke and a couple warbling folkies brought down the Nixon administration.”

Obviously the idea of hippie pot smokers being anti-conservative in nature bothers Clark. In the end, his point was lost in a collection of brooding hate toward liberals and potheads.

Clark has the right to his angry opinion; this is America (land of the free) after all. In the end, will either of our letters be remembered? More than likely not.

I just hope some people will walk away after reading our opinions with a more open mind, conservative or liberal.

Not all of us have to be “USA ALL THE WAY,” flag waving conservatives to love our country. It’s the best part about freedom of thought and speech. Thank you Jason Clark for the heated discussion.

Thomas Parsons Jr.

Kent State University Bookstore employee