Something's Happening Here
It's the 50th Anniversary of the murder of four students by the United States Government at Kent State University. A time to reflect. On May 4, 1970 I was student teaching in Abion, PA., a wretched poor white trash community to the south and east of Erie. I was married, 21, and my son was just old enough that when the 20th anniversary came around at Kent State he served on the student committee that organized the commemoration... he was 2. There was no protest at my school, Edinboro State College; not that day, and not the next day, not two weeks later when they killed two students at Jackson State, not on any day during that turbulent period. Edinboro State was work-a-day college for work-a-day Pennsylvania.
May 4 would have been an otherwise unremarkable day in my life but for the news, which we got sometime before the school day ended. It was a beautiful spring day, I was bored... I hated teaching ...and wished I was at Kent, just as inn 1969 I wished I were at Woodstock, and later I wished I was back at Kansas University, where students were burning down the campus. It was a year for wishing I was in other places. Truth is I was lucky to be going to school and luckier still that I was not in uniform heading to the battlefields of Vietnam. Like most of my classmates, I didn't have the luxury of doing the cool stuff.
None the less, if I was passionate about anything in those days, I was passionate about the Vietnam War. I had done the research, could find no threat from the vast Commie conspiracy and certainty not from Vietnamese nationalism. It was obvious even then that the wars' real harm was the ongoing loss of life and national resources in a war that, we were soon to learn from the Pentagon Papers, we could in no way win. And now they were murdering students. Something was happening.