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Newly-Enhanced Audio Tape May Reveal Order to Fire on Kent State Students
Former Student Who Was Shot Calling for Investigation
by WKSU's KAREN SCHAEFER


Reporter
Karen Schaefer
 
A former student who was shot when National Guard troops opened fire on anti-war protestors at Kent State University nearly four decades ago today released an audio recording he says reveals an order to open fire. Alan Canfora says he's not asking for retribution, but he does want the state and federal government to investigate. WKSU's Karen Schaefer spoke with Jerry Lewis, an emeritus professor of sociology who has taught and written extensively on the Kent State shootings and was also an eyewitness. He describes what he saw that day:
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Related Links & Resources
Kent State 1970

Listener Comments:

Who was responsible? Its simple. The person who decided to send a national guard unit to control a protest.
Lets say you have a handgun. If you point it at someone,even just trying to use it as a threat with no intent to actually shoot them,and it goes off,you are responsible. If someone is breaking into your house,and you do it,its ok. In most places you can defend your home. If on the other hand,a man is asking you for change on the street and grabs your arm as you were walking away,and you point your gun at him,and it goes off. Thats probably murder. (Yes,someone is going to say,I can just say he threatened my life,but just because you might be able to get away with murder by lying about the situation does not change the underlying crime)
Similarly,someone sent the national guard in to "keep the peace". They had no training for this kind of event. They also only had rifles. No tear gas,no pepper spray. Their only options were to do nothing,withdraw,or start killing protesters. When the national guard was ordered in,the person giving that order should have considered,what do I expect them to do if the protesters don't just go away when they see the soldiers. (which its reasonable to assume that they wont) Is it reasonable to shoot protesters that refuse to stop protesting. Is it reasonable to put the lives of others,who may not even be involved in danger. (if you start shooting,its a reasonable assumption that others may be injured. Police have to consider this.If a police man sees a man robbing a crowded Starbucks,he cant just pull his weapon and start shooting into a crowded room) If you make a decision that reasonably will might kill innocent people,then you are guilty of a crime. Pointing a loaded national guard unit at a group of protesters and not understanding the very likely outcome is certainly not reasonable.

What happened should have been expected. Protesters were injured and killed. Bystanders who had no connection to the protesters were injured and killed too. Some people make excuses about how they threw bottles or refused to leave. However,a police officer is not allowed to shoot a 13 year old girl who throws a bottle at him. He would end up in prison himself,yet this is exactly what happened. A police officer is not allowed to shoot into a crowd to kill a man that throws a rock at him,yet this is exactly what happened.
There is also however a second person responsible. The officer in charge of those men on that hill. Why is he responsible? Because they are his men. If he ordered them to fire,of course he is responsible.In fact,he bears one of the largest shares of responsibility. If he did not order them to fire,he is still responsible. He is responsible because an officer is responsible for the conduct and discipline of his men. Thats the way it works.That is the very description of his job. If a submarine sinks because the crew in the engine room didn't properly maintain the boat,the captain is responsible for what happened. Thats why hes there. Similarly,if soldiers open fire without orders,their commanding officer is responsible because he is derelict in his responsibility to control and command his men. It does not matter if they felt threatened.Its not their call to shoot or not,even if the protesters are shooting at them.There is no evidence that this happened,to spite what was claimed,after all,we can count the shots on the tape and count the shots fired from the guardsmens guns),but it irrelevant. If the guardsmen were being shot at,this should not be an issue. After all,while crowd control in general is not what they were trained for,this is. There was a clear chain of command and organization. There was no reason to think the commanders were impaired or could not give orders. The situation was crystal clear. If your being shot at,you follow orders. The idea of soldiers that only follow orders if they are not being shot at is absurd.
Consider who would be at fault if they had been Vietnam,setting an ambush. A man jumps the gun and fires early and everyone dies because the ambush is given away. That lack of discipline falls squarely on the shoulders of the officer doesn't it.
Who else is at fault? The soldiers of course.Its just a matter of how much. If they were given the order to fire,then their crime is much less. Still they knew damn well the protesters were no threat. Furthermore,they knew that their bullets would hit the people behind the protesters that had nothing to do with it and were just passing between classes.(The fact that they felt safe walking there really shows my point. It was inconceivable that the soldiers would shoot innocent people,especially ones uninvolved in the protest.)They were trained with those weapons and understood (or should have) the range and effectiveness of them. Still,while under military law "I was just following orders" is NOT an excuse for misconduct,it is a mitigating factor. The solders who fired,if they were ordered are the least guilty,but not totally innocent. If they didn't have orders of course,their crimes are much more serious.


Posted by: Michael M (Kent Oh) on December 9, 2008 4:12PM
I covered this on my blog and people told me it wasnt ordered. Glad to have found this tape.

http://thelastmovement.blogsspot.com


Posted by: lastmovement (lastmovement) on March 31, 2008 7:11PM
lives in the city or Pisgah Forest, NC


Posted by: terry norman (828-877-3003) on May 7, 2007 5:15PM
Norman, T


Posted by: John (828-877-3003) on May 7, 2007 5:14PM
Terry Norman was a student at kent, an fbi informant, and other
during the 1970 incident. He was filmed turning a weapon in to police . Mr. Norman lives with his wife kathleen, as found in an online directory :

Norman, T


Posted by: John (Pisgah Forest, NC) on May 7, 2007 5:12PM
Copy No. 1 - USA, Cleveland



Report Ofc. SA (deleted) Office CLEVELAND
Date 11-15-73

Field Office File # 44-703 Bureau FILE # 44-45339


Title KILLING OF FOUR STUDENTS AT
KENT STATE UNIVERSTIY
KENT, OHIO
5/4/70
ALLISON KRAUSE: ET AL - VICTIMS

CATEGORY CIVIL RIGHTS


Synopsis

Upon contacting appropriate officers of the Ohio National Guard (ONG) at Ravenna and Akron, Ohio, regarding ONG radio logs and availability of service record books, the respective ONG officer advised that any inquiries concerning the Kent State University (KSU) incident should be directed to the Office of the Adjutant General, ONG, Columbus, Ohio. Three persons interviewed regarding reported conversation by St Lawrence Shafer, ONG that SHAFER had bragged about “taking a bead” on JEFFREY MILLER at he time of ONG shooting and each interviewee unable to substantiate such a conversation. Photographs taken by (deleted), (deleted), (deleted), and (deleted) forwarded herewith. Zulu time is based on Greenwich Mean Time and is four hour ahead of Kent, Ohio, time during May, 1970.

- F -



Posted by: DavidL (Washington DC) on May 7, 2007 5:04PM
A mirrofilm of FBI doucments (7 reels) was made much of which is not online. the following document is a retyped version of a microfilm segment. the Clevelan FBI office had revisted witnesses to Larry Shafer bragging about shooting Jeffery Miller about theirn 1970 comments. By the date of the FBI interview none of the three guardsman could recall his comments.

====================================


Copy No. 1 - USA, Cleveland



Report Ofc. SA (deleted) Office CLEVELAND
Date 11-15-73

Field Office File # 44-703 Bureau FILE # 44-45339


Title KILLING OF FOUR STUDENTS AT
KENT STATE UNIVERSTIY
KENT, OHIO
5/4/70
ALLISON KRAUSE: ET AL - VICTIMS

CATEGORY CIVIL RIGHTS


Synopsis

Upon contacting appropriate officers of the Ohio National Guard (ONG) at Ravenna and Akron, Ohio, regarding ONG radio logs and availability of service record books, the respective ONG officer advised that any inquiries concerning the Kent State University (KSU) incident should be directed to the Office of the Adjutant General, ONG, Columbus, Ohio. Three persons interviewed regarding reported conversation by St Lawrence Shafer, ONG that SHAFER had bragged about “taking a bead” on JEFFREY MILLER at he time of ONG shooting and each interviewee unable to substantiate such a conversation. Photographs taken by (deleted), (deleted), (deleted), and (deleted) forwarded herewith. Zulu time is based on Greenwich Mean Time and is four hour ahead of Kent, Ohio, time during May, 1970.

- F -



Posted by: DavidL (Washington DC) on May 7, 2007 5:04PM
I saw the MSNBC story online about the audio tape surfacing and went to Alan Canfora's website to listen to the recording. Today I called into Stacy Taylor's talk show on KLSD and said it was the 37th anniversary and told about the uncovered audio tape story. The last call of the day was from "Jack in San Diego":

JACK: I just wanted to make a comment about the lady who'd called in about the order to fire. I was at Kent then and I was a junior and I know for a fact that they were given an order to fire because my undergraduate advisor's next door neighbor was an electrician who worked in Taylor Hall at the time, and when they closed the hall and forced everybody out he happened to be standing a few feet away from the guy who was leading the National Guard and heard the order to fire. And you have to understand about this guy, he was a right-winger who didn't like the students, and for him to actually admit that shows you that it's very credible. And he also volunteered to the government to testify and they wouldn't take his testimony.

Podcast is at http://www.am1360klsd.com/cc-common/podcast.html - 5/4/07, hour 3, at 31:35.


Posted by: Kerstin Lanham (Campo, California) on May 5, 2007 2:48AM
Thank you so much for airing Karen Schaefer's segment on the shootings at Kent State. I would like to share my experiences at the shootings, which strongly suggest a conspiracy by the government to to have students killed in order to stop student demonstrations against the war.

I was at the May 4 demonstration wearing my faculty observer armband. At the time, I was an assistant professor in the mathematics department. (My name then was Nancy Dykes.) After the students were shot, I remembered having seen a medical truck with a large red cross on the side parked in front of my office building by the Student Union. I ran around the Journalism building to see if medical help was coming, but troops were just standing by looking as though they were guarding the medical truck.

I then ran across the field to the truck and told the officer in charge (I believe it was General Del Corso) that students had been shot and they needed to send over medical help. He told me that they had to keep their medical help there in case their troops were wounded. I pointed to my armband and explained to him that I was a faculty member and that they had to send help because innocent students had been shot by their troops and were laying on the ground bleeding to death.

He told me, "Lady, I don't care who you are, if you don't get out of here, I'll have you arrested."

I then ran back to the wounded students with tears streaming down my face and a complete sense of helplessness.

And so the students lay on the ground for 30 minutes with blood flowing from their wounds before any medical help arrived, even though medical help was less than a minute away and standing by doing absolutely nothing.

Allison Krause, Sandy Schreuer, and William Schroeder might have survived if the National Guard had sent over their medically trained personnel. The National Guard's refusal to give medical aid clearly points to a conspiracy to have students killed. Anyone who had made a judgment of error and accidentally shot a group of students would have immediately tried to minimize the damage by sending over all the medical help that was available.

If the doubting public will not believe the eyewitnesses at the Kent State shooting who saw the officer bring down his arm and they all shot together, please explain to me why the National Guard did not send over any medical help. If you accidentally ran over someone, wouldn't you try to help them survive?

Many thanks to Alan Canfora for his continued efforts to set the history straight about what happened at Kent State and to Karen Schaefer for having the courage to do the segment.


Posted by: Dr. Nancy Rodgers (Madison, Indiana) on May 3, 2007 9:41PM
I was a junior at Kent in May 1970, and had been active in the sds chapter in 1968-69. On May 4, after the guard had pursued students over the hill around Taylor Hall and out onto the football practice field, I was among the students on the far side of the field, and could see the guard troops as they paused there before turning back and starting up the hill. One of the officers, who had a pistol but not a rifle, went around to each of the soldiers in his unit and spoke to them, each of them lifting their gas masks so they could hear what he said. This was the same group of soldiers who, when they reached the crest of the hill, turned and fired into the crowd of students below. It certainly appeared at the time that they were being told to prepare to fire when they reached the top of the hill, and the evidence of the tape recording which has come to light appears to confirm this.


Posted by: Ken Hammond (Las Cruces, New Mexico) on May 3, 2007 4:41PM
Thank you so much for airing Karen Schaefer's segment on the shootings at Kent State. I would like to share my experiences at the shootings, which suggest a possible conspiracy by the government to have students killed in order to stop the national student demonstrations against the war.

I was at the May 4 demonstration wearing my faculty observer armband. At the time, I was an assistant professor in the Mathematics Department. (My name then was Nancy Dykes.) After the students were shot, I remembered having seen a medical truck with a large red cross on the side parked in front of my office building by the Student Union. I ran around the Journalism building to see if medical help was coming, but troops were just standing by looking as though they were guarding the medical truck.

I then ran across the field to the truck and told the officer in charge (I believe it was General Del Corso) that students had been shot and they needed to send over medical help. He told me that they had to keep their medical help there in case their troops were wounded. I pointed to my armband and explained to him that I was a faculty professor and that they had to send help because innocent students had been shot by their troops and were laying on the ground bleeding to death.

He told me, "Lady, I don't care who you are, if you don't get out of here, I'll have you arrested."

I then ran back to the wounded students with tears streaming down my face and a complete sense of helplessness.

And so the students lay on the ground for 30 minutes with blood flowing from their wounds before any medical help arrived, even though medical help was less than a minute away and standing by doing absolutely nothing.

Allison Krause, Sandy Schreuer, and William Schroeder might have survived if the National Guard had sent over their medically trained personnel. I still get angry and upset every time I think about it. To me, the National Guard's refusal to give medical aid clearly points to a conspiracy to maximize the damage in order to stop the student protests against the war.

Many thanks to Alan Canfora and concerned members of the media for your continued efforts to make our government accountable for their actions. The citizens of this country must be aware of what has happened in the past in order to help prevent the same type of thing happening in the future.


Posted by: Dr. Nancy Rodgers (Madison, Indiana) on May 3, 2007 10:59AM
I was mesmerized by today's segment by Karen Schaefer. Having been a senior in high school at the time, I vividly remember the KSU event and those events leading up to that crisis.

I agree with Alan Canfora. As a nation, we must never forget the lessons that were taught to us that fateful day. Society must realize the danger posed when firearms are brought into volatile situations. Administration and the state government overreacted. Students were indeed unruly and angry, but they were not armed with artillery. There is an excellent lesson to be learned about conflict resolution and the importance of listening to the people's voices.
Thank you for reminding listeners of the issues and controversy surrounding the shootings and for not allowing this historical event to die.


Posted by: Dr. Denise Wray (Akron, Ohio) on May 2, 2007 2:09PM
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