Some things never change.
The sun comes up in the morning and goes down at night.
It's cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
And if we write one word about May 4, 1970, at least one person will call up the newspaper and snarl, “They should have killed 'em all.”
Here's the latest version, an email from a reader named Joe Cassiday Jr. that I received after writing a column about Akron artist Don Drumm's role in solving a May 4 mystery:
“I remember well, hearing about the shootings that took place at Kent State back in 1970. All we heard about is how terrible it was for the Ohio Nat’l Guardsman to kill four 'innocent' students.
“Well, a friend of mine, who was one of those Guardsman, told me that some of those 'innocent' students were hurling chunks of concrete with nails and glass embedded in them at the Guardsman.
“I wasn’t there to experience what either the students or the Guardsman had to endure that beautiful day. I don’t condone violence except to keep the peace, but after Kent State there were no more VIOLENT-type protests at any of our colleges or universities!!”
Yessir! Mission accomplished! Great job by the Guard!
If you are one of the people who believes that, it's unlikely anything I say will change your mind. But here are some things I hope you will consider.
For starters, classes were still in session. Although the protesting students had been ordered to cancel their rally, plenty of students and faculty members were not participating in the rally and were doing exactly what students and faculty members were supposed to be doing.
One of the people killed, William Schroeder, was an academic standout who was simply walking from one class to another. More than a bit ironically, Schroeder was an Eagle Scout in high school and had earned a scholarship to KSU's Reserve Officer Training Corps.
He was killed by a shot in the back.
From 382 feet away.
Another victim was Youngstown native Sandra Scheuer, who also was walking to her next class. She was an honors student in speech therapy. A .30-caliber bullet tore into her neck.
From 390 feet away.
Yes, one of the students killed, Jeffrey Miller, had taken an active role in the protest, at one point heaving back a tear-gas canister.
As if that warranted the death penalty.
Miller took a shot in the mouth from 265 feet away. That's about 88 yards. He couldn't have hit a Guardsman from there if he had Baker Mayfield's arm.
One of the nine wounded students, Donald Mackenzie, was struck in the neck from almost 750 feet away. That's well over a tenth of a mile.
I would like to think the people who believe the Guard handled things correctly just don't know much about what happened that day.
But if you're someone who truly believes that killing a few kids is the appropriate way to water down future campus protests, we don't have anything to talk about. So don't waste a phone call.
Bob Dyer can be reached at 330-996-3580 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He also is on Facebook at www.facebook.com/bob.dyer.31.