Nothing Changed: Fifty years after the Kent State mass murder

On May 4th, 1970, four students at Kent State University were victims of unprovoked murder by hyper-aggressive violent white males.

Why is it never called a mass shooting?

Probably for the same reason the 1921 mass murder in Tulsa is labelled a “race riot”, and why to this day rape and hate crimes are never properly investigated.  Those in power support the perpetrators and hate the victims.  Cops are kapos, the violent servants of a system they ignorantly expect they will be part of.

The murderers at Kent State opened fire on unarmed students without warning or provocation.  No one knows or has ever explained why.  Did they see an opportunity to murder people with impunity?  Were they hyped up on “greenies” given by their chain of command?  Did rabid and racist ideologues individually decide to start shooting?  We’ll never know because the “investigation” was a whitewash, a coverup, a crime excused and the perpetrators protected for doing what their masters liked.  No one has ever been held accountable for the murders – unless you count the students, blamed by the media and “historians” for not cowering in the face of violence and fascism.

The same cowardice exists today, the same willingness to perpetrate violence against those who oppose fascism and criticize a corrupt and immoral government.  Whether it’s KKK members carrying out DC Stephenson’s wishes, the National Blackguard’s mass murder in Ohio or cops of today protecting thugs threatening Michigan’s politicians with AK-47s, nothing has changed.

Don’t be fooled, the cops standing in front of the screaming incel (picture below) aren’t protecting Governor Whitmer, they’re protecting the incel.  If the fascists had started shooting, the cops would have stepped aside and let them, just as they did at the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting.

There were many witnesses at Kent State, many of them influential musicians of the next fifteen years.  From Far Out Magazine (bold text is mine):

The Kent State shootings: Thirteen seconds of chaos that forever changed rock history

Sun Totem #1 sits in the middle of Kent State University’s campus and was regularly passed by multiple future members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, including Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders, Joe Walsh, nominees Mark Mothersbaugh, and Gerald [Casale] and Bob Lewis of DEVO who were all students at Kent State University at the same time. However, it is not the statue’s proximity to musical greats that would warrant its placement in the Rock Hall of Fame, it is the events that occurred on the campus of Kent State on May 4th, 1970 that left a small bullet hole in the sculpture (which still remains), student deaths, and a nation reeling. This particular incident also led to the writing of one of the most important protest songs ever written, Neil Young’s ‘Ohio’. The events in this sleepy northern Ohio town on May 4th, 1970 forged some of the most important art ever created in America, proving that the most important art is created during times of war, especially when the war is brought home to the doorstep of America.

[. . .]

Chrissie Hynde, who was just eighteen-years-old at the time, recalls from that fateful day: “The grassy, rolling common was teeming with students, I’d never seen it so packed… Then I heard the ‘tatatatatatatatatat’ sound. I thought it was fireworks. An eerie silence fell over the common. Then a young man’s voice: ‘They fucking killed somebody.’” Hynde remembers buckling under the weight of reality and collapsing to the ground in disbelief. She had to be lifted and carried out of harms way by other students. Shortly after the shooting, Hynde decided to drop out of school and moved to England to pursue her music career.

English major Joe Walsh was also at Kent State that day. Walsh has been surprisingly quiet about his experience, but has stated: “Being at the shootings really affected me profoundly. I decided that maybe I don’t need a degree that bad.” Walsh dropped out of College after only one term to pursue his music career. He later wrote the song ‘Turn to Stone’ in response to the shooting and mentioned it directly in his 1993 song ‘Decades’.

Bob Lewis and Gerald Casale, two of the founding members of Devo, were also in the crowd of students. Gerald Casale remembered seeing the soldiers lining up and taking aim at them and thinking it was simply an attempt at intimidation, it was not. Two of his friends were shot dead, Allison Krause was within a matter of feet from where he was standing when a bullet penetrated her left arm before entering her chest and fragmenting. His other friend, Jeffrey Miller, was shot through his opened mouth and was left with a massive exit wound in the back of his head that left a stream of blood rolling down the pavement. The moment immortalised by John Paul Filo’s Pulitzer Prize winning photograph from that tragic day. Casale recalled, “I see the effects of a fucking M1 rifle, the reality of what a bullet does. I saw for the first time clearly, and horrifically, how everything really works, and how the truth doesn’t matter, and how things were rotten to the core.” This disillusionment led to the concept Lewis, Casale, and Mark Mothersbaugh obsessed over in all future endeavors, known as devolution, shorted to DEVO when they finally named their band.

All That’s Interesting has a 25 picture gallery of photos from Kent State, the University of Virginia and UCLA from the time of the mass murder.  This is one of the photos, of John Cleary’s last moments:

Most think of the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song. I think of the Steve Miller Band’s “Jackson Kent Blues”, written and recorded in the summer of 1970, released on the SMB’s fifth album in November. The lyrics are below the video.

Jackson Kent Blues“, written by Steve Miller:


I was down in Nashville just payin’ my dues

Headed for Ohio when I read the news

‘Bout the people demonstrating ‘gainst the President’s views

Four were shot down by the National Guard troops


Just like Uncle Sam I put on my fighting shoes

School shot down cause there’s no more to lose

Now we’re headed to D.C. two by twos

Cause those low down, profound, killin’ four blues


Lookin’ for my Congressman to make it well known

But the politicians already won’t answer his telephone

Making in his office while they’re shooting kids down at home

Worried about the voters but he won’t be worried long


Silent majority still glued to the tube

Say CIA ain’t lookin’, FBI come unglued

Shot some more in Jackson just to show the world what they can do

While we’re marching to D.C. cause there’s too much to do


Give peace a chance

Give peace a chance

There’s no turnin’ back my friend

There’s no turnin’ back


When the President said that the tear gas is gone

The army’s pulled out leavin’ blood on the ground

The streets are empty and the crying’s died down

You can be President if no one’s around


Just like Kow Kow, you’ve heard it before

Get back gangster, don’t you open that door

Space Cowboy’s back to tell you the score

Nothing any good is gonna come from a war

Got those low down, profound, killin’ four blues


Give peace a chance

Give peace a chance

Give peace a chance