At the time of the killings I was at UCSB grad school. An exchange student from UK remarked that this was an instance of working class vs. middle class. There was a resentment by those subject to the draft towards those with deferments.
One of the black activists on campus marveled that whites would shoot other whites.
— Paul Fogel
I remember my brother graduating from high school in 1971 and my dad not allowing him to attend Kent because of the shootings.
—Patrick Casseday; Chardon, OH
I was in the Kent State library reading Sartre’s Being and Nothingness, assigned to my English Freshman Honors reading list, when the shootings occurred. I was also taking drawing classes in the building next to the ROTC building (all barracks and all really miserable), but that class ended at 10:45. I heard shouting, screams and smelled tear gas. I closed the book, went back to my off-campus lodging, and then my landlord came home, flipped on the tube, and said, “They all should have been killed.” School was closed by then. Alison Krause and I knew each other as she was also in art/art history. So I went home to Akron, called my parents who were in Dallas on business trips, and they told me to meet them in San Francisco the next day. So I did.
— Geraldine Kiefer; Winchester, VA
I was a college student at Ohio University during the Kent State shootings and have memories of the National Guard and tear gas first hand!
I remember finding out many years later that when my Dad came down to campus to pick my sister and me up after the campus shut down, he had a gun in the glove compartment. I had no idea my Dad had even had a gun, and I had no idea that there was any need to be afraid. After reading your book, I can see that I was not alone in my feeling of not being afraid and that my Dad was not alone in his very real fear of the explosive situation.
—Sue Konkel; Oconomowoc, WI
This came from a Guardsman who had heard of 67 Shots but not yet read it. I don’t have permission to use his name:
I was one of the green pigs. I don’t know if it is in your book, but another anecdote is the class in the theater at Camp Perry a week after the shooting. A major made a statement that put a hush over the auditorium. He said if we were at Kent State after our shooting-range practice we would have killed forty instead of four. We were all so bummed out and now shocked by his statement. Thanks for writing the book. I plan to read it.
This poem was published on The New Verse News blogspot on June 11, 2016.
AFTER READING 67 SHOTS: THE SHOOTINGS AT KENT STATE
by Alan Catlin
Recalling the all night vigils
Memorial sit ins
Peace March through an Upstate
New York city and all the hostility
for all the long hairs
Recalling the Peace Fair
no one came to
The petitions for a Moratorium
for the Vietnam War no one signed
The peace committee work
that accomplished nothing
Recalling those glorious Spring days
All that time to kill with no classes
no Finals just graduation and
a draft notice that was sure to follow
Recalling playing softball
drinking beer and hanging out
with the cleanup hitter who
couldn’t make weekend end games
“National Guard duty.” he said when asked
why he could play. “I hope I don’t get
called up. I hope there are no more
student riots like at Kent State.”
“You wouldn’t shoot me, Doug, “
I teased. “We’re friends.”
He looked at me, then toward
the pitcher toeing the mound
and I knew he would, if someone
in command told him to.
“You’re up.” He said.
Alan Catlin has published numerous chapbooks and full-length books of poetry and prose, the latest of which, from March Street Press, is Alien Nation.
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