(FBI informant Terry Norman, Kent State University, May 4th, 1970…see link below for the full story)
For newcomers, or those who need reminding, the only annual event I commemorate here is the murder of four students by members of the Ohio National Guard on the campus of Kent State University, May 4, 1970.
For last year’s thoughts on the subject, you can go here, (follow the links to previous years, back to 2012).
I find it odd that we now live in a world where “protest” amounts to one arm of the establishment (carefully disguised as Black Lives Matter, MoveOn.org, etc) probing the defenses of another arm of the establishment (to date, local police forces, whether the National Guard will once again be called in is but one of the interesting questions that will be answered in the coming months). This level of kabuki style politics and culture–sound and fury signifying less than nothing at ever louder volume–did not spring from a vacuum. As we hear the drumming this particular summer, it will perhaps be worth remembering how we got here.
To that end, this article from 2010 does as good a job as any of relating in microcosm just how deep the corruption was even in 1970, when things weren’t quite so firmly under control.
I don’t have any great, deep thoughts about “what it all means.” We’ve come to a bleak place. It may very well be the exact place our refusal to deal with 1968, to forever hold its contradictions at arm’s length (an ignominious history in which the Kent State murders were a signature event) was designed to avoid.
If you end up needing a soundtrack, I’m thinking this might provide a better lead track one than anything obvious. I dunno. Maybe it just has to do with being from Ohio (them, not me):