Saturday, May 5, 2012

No Buildings Burned At Occupy Wall Street

Some survivors of the Kent State shootings in May 1970 believe there's evidence that the Ohio National Guard was ordered to fire on the unarmed antiwar demonstrators. Four people were killed and nine injured. Richard Nixon called it the worst day of his presidency.

Providing historical context in the Los Angeles Times, David Zucchino sounds an odd note:

For many Baby Boomers now in their late 50s and 60s, the so-called Kent State Massacre was a searing and, for some, life-altering event. It came at the height of the antiwar movement and set off a renewed spasm of opposition not only to the Vietnam War but also to the Nixon administration, the Pentagon and other symbols of authority.

The shootings hold far less resonance for today’s college-age Americans. For them, the 42-year-old event might best be described as a particularly demonstrative Occupy rally featuring extreme violence.

No, it mightn't. The shootings were an inexcusable tragedy. But "particularly demonstrative" doesn't accurately describe the protests. Here's Wikipedia's account of events at Kent State two days before:

The decision to call in the National Guard was made at 5:00 p.m., but the guard did not arrive into town that evening until around 10 p.m. A large demonstration was already under way on the campus, and the campus Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) building was burning. The arsonists were never apprehended and no one was injured in the fire. More than a thousand protesters surrounded the building and cheered its burning. Several Kent firemen and police officers were struck by rocks and other objects while attempting to extinguish the blaze. Several fire engine companies had to be called in because protesters carried the fire hose into the Commons and slashed it. The National Guard made numerous arrests and used tear gas; at least one student was slightly wounded with a bayonet.

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