Letters to the Editor

Propaganda, not fact fills Stine’s May 4 column

Dear Editor:

I agree with the opening of Justin Stine’s Jan. 25 column. Like it or not, May 4 is a defining event in the history of Kent State. I also find it understandable that, as a member of the May 4 Task Force, he would be able to provide “general knowledge” about the tragic events that unfolded nearly 35 years ago.

However, it comes as no surprise that these nuggets of fact come sandwiched between supposition and propaganda.

He says the ROTC building was condemned and scheduled to be torn down. While I’m not disputing that, he presents it only to reduce the severity of the students’ attempted arson. It seems he’s saying it’s OK they tried to burn it down because no one was using it anyway. I had no idea condemned buildings could be set on fire with no consequences.

Then comes the what-if section: “Did law officials set fire to the building themselves? Was this some sad, sorry attempt by the local police and fire departments to bring the Ohio National Guard to the campus?” I don’t know, Justin — you tell me. He presents no facts to support this, instead only raising the specter of conspiracy. Just bringing it up could cause some people to believe it.

Later, Stine reports that 30 ROTC buildings across the country suffered a similar fate. Again, this seems to be an attempt to lessen the magnitude of what the students did.

Or maybe the Kent police set those buildings ablaze too?

Anyone who’s spent a minute on campus should be well aware that most of the task force subscribes to every conspiracy theory surrounding the shooting. I am not begrudging them their political viewpoints.

However, I find it irresponsible that the organization should embellish the facts of the tragedy and present it as unbiased education.

If you’re going to proselytize, at least tell people you’re doing it.

Michael D. Wisebaker

Kent State alum 2002