Kent State Shooting

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Garcia 1

Luis Garcia

Mr.Paz

English 3 CP

March 3, 2013

Kent State Shooting

On May 4, l970 members of the Ohio National Guard fired into a crowd of Kent

State University killing four and wounding nine Kent State students. The

impact of the shootings was dramatic. The event triggered a nationwide student strike that

forced hundreds of colleges and universities to close. H. R. Haldeman, a top aide to

President Richard Nixon, suggests the shootings had a direct impact on national politics.

In The Ends of Power, Haldeman states that the shootings at Kent State began the

slide into Watergate, eventually destroying the Nixon administration. Beyond the direct

effects of the May 4th, the shootings have certainly come to symbolize the deep political

and social divisions that so sharply divided the country during the Vietnam War era.

In the nearly three decades since May 4, l970.

The decision to bring the Ohio National Guard onto the Kent State University

campus was directly related to decisions regarding American involvement in the Vietnam

War. Richard Nixon was elected president of the United States in 1968 based in part on his

promise to bring an end to the war in Vietnam. During the first year of Nixon's presidency,

America's involvement in the war appeared to be coming down. In late April of 1970,

however, the United States invaded Cambodia and widened the Vietnam War. This

decision was announced on national television and radio on April 30, l970 by President Nixon.

The most important question associated with the events of May 4 is why did members of

the Guard fire into a crowd of unarmed students? Two quite different answers have been

advanced to this question: (1) the Guardsmen fired in self-defense, and the shootings were

therefore justified and (2) the Guardsmen were not in immediate danger, and therefore the

shootings were unjustified.
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