May 4, 1970
The Ohio National Guard fires into a crowd of unarmed students at Kent State University
The students had been protesting the Cambodian Campaign which President Nixon had announced a few days before. The University attempted to halt the protest before it began by handing out flyers indicating the event had been cancelled. When some students showed up anyway, the Ohio National Guard assembled, throwing canisters of tear gas to disperse the students. The gas had little effect, and the Guard was ordered to fire into the crowd.
The bullets hit some protestors, but also struck some students merely walking by or observing a distance away. Four students were killed and a further 9 injured, one of whom was permanently paralyzed by the shooting.
Geology professor Glenn Frank pleaded with the remaining protestors, saying “I don’t care whether you’ve never listened to anyone before in your lives. I am begging you right now. If you don’t disperse right now, they’re going to move in, and it can only be a slaughter. Would you please listen to me? Jesus Christ, I don’t want to be a part of this …!” This speech reached the students who dispersed before any more could be killed or injured.
Photo: Mary Ann Vecchio (14) kneels over the body of Jeffrey Miller (20, shot through the mouth). Credit: John Filo, edited to remove a pole behind Mary Ann’s head which made her look as though she was impaled through the skull.