The Kent State Massacre Essay

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On May 4, 1970 at approximately 12:24 PM members of the Ohio National Guard shot at and killed several unarmed Kent State University students. These students were protesting President Nixon’s decision to invade Cambodia. While some of the students who were shot at were actively protesting at the time of the shooting, others were simply walking by or casually observing the protest from a distance. How could an appalling incident like this occur? What possessed the members of the Ohio National Guard to shoot at unarmed students? In order to fully understand the circumstances surrounding the Kent State Massacre, it is important to back track several days and establish a timeline of events leading up to the massacre. On April 30, 1970,…show more content…
It is interesting to note there was a stark contrast between day and night activities in the city of Kent. During the day, guardsmen casually patrolled and went about business as usual. In fact, there were even reports that throughout the daytime hours students would have long, peaceful conversations with the guardsmen. However, at night, the violence would break out while mass protests were held, forcing the students and guardsmen to quickly retreat to opposite sides. Once again, on the evening of May 3, non-lethal force was used and people were arrested as the guardsmen again struggled to take control of the violence erupting in the city of Kent Ohio. Earlier in the weekend, university officials banned all protests and assemblies on campus. Students ignored this ruling and began congregating around eleven AM for the scheduled twelve noon protest. When the protest began, a Kent State police officer patrolled the campus with several guardsmen in a jeep announcing that the protest was illegal and everyone must leave the campus immediately. In response to this dispersion call, the students became violent, throwing rocks and attacking the jeep. The general in charge of the guardsmen in Kent, General Canterbury, ordered the guardsmen to arm themselves and fire tear gas in an attempt to disperse the crowd. As the crowd of
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