by Katie Klemenchich

In the midst of the Viet-nam conflict, President Richard Nixon appeared on national television on April 30, 1970 to announce the expansion of the Vietnam War by an invasion into Cambodia. On May 4, 1970, the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students at Kent State University who were protesting the presence of the National Guard on their campus. The shootings left four dead and nine wounded. This tragedy, now known as ‘Kent State,’ is no more than a blip on the screen of our collective memory; an event so fleeting it no longer seems to matter. Yet the political and psychological agendas it exposed are still with us and are relevant today.

Kent State’ was a public execution and a secret ceremony in the sense that its deeper meaning lie hidden to most observers. ‘Kent State’ did not happen in a vacuum—it was part of a series of events planned around certain days to elicit certain responses and reactions. Those who remember the events of May 1970 and who were against the war in Vietnam are quick to blame Nixon for the shootings; in-deed, his abuses at Watergate and efforts to cover up earlier abuses are cited as evidence that he was responsible. If we delve deeper into the facts of “Kent State’ as well as Nixon’s background, what will we find?

Sacrificed as an Example

Nixon said when he was elected President in 1968 that he had a secret plan to end the war in Vietnam. He also may have had a secret plan to end the rioting taking place on college campuses nationwide.

The popular and oft repeated words used to describe what happened that spring day at Kent State University are that, “It was a tragic accident.” This article will show that Kent State wasn’t an accident at all. Four young people were killed as in a sacrifice of war at Kent State that day—two protesters and two passersby: Allison Krause, Jeffery Miller, Sandra Scheuer and William Schroeder. Why were they sacrificed?



The shootings provided a solution to the anti-war protests, sometimes violent, that were rocking the nation’s campuses and confounding the Nixon Administration’s efforts to cope with them. The ultimate goal of the Kent State shootings was to safeguard the expanding Vietnam War—another kind of sacrifice—and its accompanying commercial interests.

Having student protesters shot publicly served an ancient sacrificial purpose—bloodletting must accompany ‘magical’ solutions. The seeking of magical ritual solutions is a typical group fantasy pursued by leaders, sometimes timed to coincide with important satanic festivals, or even astrologically timed, as Ronald Reagan did when he employed psychics. Psycho historian Daniel Dervin writes in his book Enactments: American Models and Psychohistorical Models: “[The] group fantasy delegate becomes embroiled in sacrificial agendas as the hunt for magical solutions is turned up.” The ‘magical’ solution that was chosen to end student unrest and violent protest on the nation’s college campuses was the ritualized killing of some students to set an example for the rest of the nation.

New Haven’s Near Miss 

Nixon was bombing Cambodia for months before he announced it on national TV on April 30, 1970—a carefully staged manipulation planned to coincide with the demonstrations against the Black Panther trials in New Haven, Connecticut. According to Edwin Hoyt in The Nixons: An American Family, what happened at Kent State was purportedly originally to have occurred in New Haven. Connecticut, a hotbed of radical activity and a natural choice considering Nixon’s disdain for his enemy, the ‘Eastern establishment,’ which had rejected him for law school and failed to hire him as a lawyer after graduation. Former New Haven Police Chief James Ahern writes in Police in Trouble, “Nixon… knew he would be announcing the invasion of Cambodia at the very time that thou-sands of radicals were converging on New Haven … his advisors fully expected this combination of events to explode into ‘war’ in New Haven.”

Had Nixon’s original plan succeeded, protesters in New Haven would have been killed by gunfire on May 1, 1970. Ahern continues, “We may wonder whether there are forces moving behind history that make certain events necessary … we may wonder whether it was inevitable that sometime in the spring of 1970 … the surging of the student protest movement would finally be halted by a hail of bullets.” What kind of plans did the Nixon Administration have for New Haven?

The President had a strike force of 3,500 infantry and para-troopers that would serve as a threat and a provocation to the demonstrators gathered on New Haven’s famous patch of green.

In Washington, Pentagon civilian officials studied blow-up maps of the streets of New Haven. Intelligence pinpointed the whereabouts of high profile radicals like Bobby Seale.  According to Ahern. “there was a persistent rumor among radicals that the government had hatched a grand plot to trap every extreme leftist in the country on the New Haven Green and ‘mow them down.'”

William Ruckleshaus of the Nixon strike force and Assistant Attorney General, who was present in New Haven at the time, said in an interview, “We hoped the situation would explode … Cambodia added fuel to (he fire.” “Nixon and Agnew wanted to have one University blow, so the country would turn against the Universities… and they wanted it to be Yale,” according to Republican Yale alumni in Washington. There was a bombing that May Day weekend at Yale’s Ingall’s  skating rink that almost killed hundreds of people. Police Chief Ahern was sure the Nixon administration had something to do with it.

Hillary Rodham, future first lady and Yale law student, was out on the New Haven Green during those tense days, coordinating marshals and helping the demonstrators avoid being gassed. If Nixon and the establishment’s original plan had succeeded, Hillary Rodham, by a simple twist of fate, could have been cut down in the prime of her life by the sadistically aimed shots that claimed the lives of her fellows just a few days later. Due to the noble leadership of Police Chief James Ahern and Connecticut Governor Dempsey, the strike force, the need for which was fueled by wild rumors and innuendo from the White House, was called off 36 hours before May Day, May 1 st.

Violators at Kent State 

Survivors of extreme abuse describe three main elements: the spell, the rite, and the condition of the performer, according to psycho-historical writer Gail Carr Feldman. The “spell” includes incantations or chanting, using special words in a prescribed way. At Kent State, the spell was the chanting of cadence by the National Guard. The “rite” means practicing the magic in a formal and defined ritual situation. At Kent State the rite was the riot control maneuvers of the National Guard, which included the use of tear gas and marching. The “condition of the performer” involves purification rites and taboos in order to invest the ceremony with sanctity and holiness, including bloodletting in a ritual sacrifice. At Kent State the condition of the performer was effected by the killing of four students in front of onlookers, recorded and displayed publicly by the world media.

“Throughout history, adults have used masks, corpses, and public executions to terrorize children, deter them, and keep them in line,” says Journal of Psychohistory editor Lloyd de Mause. The events of May 1-4 1970 in Kent, Ohio share common features with ritual abuse: The street rioting and bonfires by students and agent provocateurs in downtown Kent: the burning ROTC building; the otherworldly (monster-looking) gas masks worn by National Guardsmen: the photographed sneak attack on unsuspecting students and multiple simultaneous perpetrators—young or less powerful victims; the ritualistic marching in circles by National Guardsmen after the killing; the code of silence by the guardsmen; the use of rumor, innuendo and slander to fan the flames of hate: and the blame and vilification of the victims, as reported by James Michener.

Nixon may have found an all-too-willing accomplice to realize his villainous deed in the person of Governor James Rhodes of Ohio. Rho-des, who according to Life magazine (2 May, 1969) had connections to organized crime and the Mafia, was almost chosen as Nixon’s running mate in 1968. Rhodes had “a history of doing dirty work for Nixon,” according to Hal Dorland, Washington insider and former member of the Committee to Investigate Assassinations. Governor Rhodes gave an inflammatory, hate-filled press conference at Kent the day after the burning of ROTC (3 May 1970), one day before the shootings, when he prophesied that the National Guard would “eradicate” and “get rid” of the bad elements on the campus, using “every weapon possible” against those he referred to as “worse than the brown shirts, night riders and vigilantes.”(Yale Archives)

Seabury Ford, chairman of the Republican Party in Portage County. Ohio (coincidentally an ex-member of Company G, the guard unit who did the firing), declared that the National Guard “should have shot all troublemakers.” According to I.E. Stone in The Killings at Kent State, on May 7, 1970, shortly after the killings, Nixon’s closest aide H.R. Haldeman wrote: “We’re in a war now. When people don’t shape up they’ve got to go. Our people have no fear—someone must be made an example … even Kent State showed people are fed [up] to the teeth with rioting kids.”

Nixon Acts Out His Rage 

Young Richard Nixon was often the victim of his father Frank’s hot temper. On one occasion Frank [Nixon] took offense at the actions of a crowd and threatened to “paste” [kill] somebody. (Hoyt) When Nixon referred to the ‘great silent majority’ in his speech on November 3, 1969. according to Nixon biographer Herbert Parmet, he was referring to his status in his own child-hood home, where he was not allowed to express his feelings and was thus regulated to the status of a non-person. Hannah Nixon, Richard’s mother, considered the very expression of strong emotions to be illegitimate. “She would retreat into a closet to pray. [Nixon] was scared stiff to talk about the past because it ran against the Quaker religion.” reports Dr. Hutschnecker, Nixon’s psychiatrist.

The support Nixon claimed he received from the ‘silent majority” was in itself a fabrication and a lie. Alexander Butterfield. who first revealed the existence of the White House taping system, recently testi-fied that the thousands of telegrams and phone calls to the Nixon White House said to have been received from the “silent majority’ in support of the Vietnam War was another lie. Nixon’s so-called silent majority remained silent, until they were able to symbolically act out their feelings by supporting the Kent State shoot-ings. So Nixon unleashed his rage on the ‘bums’—student protesters—just as his father had unleashed his anger at him and his brothers in a passive-aggressive way. Just as he encouraged America in his Inaugural speech to “lower our voices.” the violent silent majority, themselves children of violent homes, acted in conscious and unconscious collusion and approval to the shootings.

Nixon may have identified with the young people he referred to as ‘bums’—for that is what his father used to call him and his brothers when in a rage, explains Nixon biographer Dr. David Abrahamsen.  “Nixon’s constant preoccupation with subversives was really a striving towards discovering his own unconscious mind with its subversive, anti-social and criminal tendencies,” writes Abrahamsen. Nixon’s father, Frank Nixon, writes Jonathen Ailken, was like the student protesters Nixon hated so much—a noisy, anti-establishment agitator, a “rabble-rouser” and union organizer in Columbus, Ohio.

Nixon may have associated the protesters with his father and acted out his rage upon the projected targets. As Ailken writes, ‘The destruction of these enemies was an effort to destroy the enemy deep within himself.” For Nixon, the domestic political enemies were a personification of the ‘enemy within’—i.e. himself. Jeb Magruder of Nixon’s staff said that the administration’s willingness to engage in illegal acts was directly related to the illegal actions of radicals and anti-war demonstrators, with whom Nixon secretly identified. Nixon attached himself to the ways he learned at home: the use of terror and intimidation to control others. The culmination of these actions led Nixon to Watergate and his demise as President.

According to Nixon biographer Fawn Brodie. the basic emotional issues that run through Nixon’s life are the impact of death, the delight in punishment, the failure to love, and the theme of fratricide. Nixon did not want the United States to be a “helpless, pitiful giant,” as he stated in his Cambodia invasion speech of April 30, 1970. Nixon also did not want to be a helpless giant, person-ally, in relation to the anti-war protesters. Nixon’s famous two-handed ‘V sign purportedly meant not ‘peace’ but the earlier WWII connotation, victory over enemies. This time the enemies were in his own country: the Vietnam war protesters.

Nixon’s Cambodia invasion speech is riddled with “I” statements, and with the repeated use of the words “humiliation” and “defeat”—revealing that the invasion of Cambodia was as much about his own personal issues as it was about foreign policy. “Nixon’s announcement of the Cambodian invasion was not only intended to create the outrage that it did on the nation’s campuses, it was intended to create a violent confrontation with the anti-war movement,” claims Thomas Lough, former faculty member al Kent State. Nixon might have eliminated all bellicosity from the Cambodia speech and stuck to a straightforward low-key description of the operation. Instead, he made it seem like a decision equivalent to Caesar’s crossing the Rubicon.

What did Nixon expect would be the outcome of his announcement? According to Lough, Nixon stated on April 29, 1970, ‘The campuses are really going to blow after this speech”; and he requested his daughter Julie to come home from college. The expected result—chaos and alarm— was played out at Kent State and around the country as young people poured into the streets to register their protest at the invasion.

On May 1, 1970, after a briefing at the Pentagon the morning after his Cambodia invasion speech, Nixon lashed out at the “bums” who were “blowing up campuses and burning books.” “The screaming and loud demonstrating of the protesters triggered his pent-up rage at a father who shouted so loud at his sons that he could be heard throughout the whole neighborhood,” writes Brodie. Brodie writes that Nixon’s father punished his sons savagely, in the heat of ill temper. “The son when grown, punished too, but coldly, calculatingly, often secretly, and always … through the agency of someone else.”

“You had to be pretty sneaky to avoid punishment,” said Nixon of himself as a child. The loud yelling of student protesters may have triggered Nixon’s rage at a father who screamed at him and his brothers, making him feel defeated, humiliated, and silenced. When asked by the press shortly after the Kent State shootings how best to open up meaningful communication with the college-age generation, Nixon replied, “It is not easy. Sometimes they, as you know, talk so loudly that it is difficult to be heard…”

The Orthogonian Society

Nixon’s propensity for strange and illegal activities is shown in his behavior at college. At Whittier College in 1929. Nixon founded an alternative men’s society called the Orthogonian Society, along with Dr. Albert Upton. The Orthogonians. or ‘straight shooters’ as they were known, had as their mascot a wild boar—favorite hunting game of the British. College fraternity initiation rites also included shackled hands and blindfolded victims being subjected to extreme deprivation and fear—common torture tactics done in the name of fun. According to Haldeman. young Nixon created the initiation ceremony, which involved digging up the corpse of a dead boar and eating its raw meat on the spot.

Also found in Nixon’s past are the illegal acts of burglary and wiretapping. According to Brodie, in June 1936. Nixon joined in a break-in of the Dean’s office at Duke University to take a look at the grades.

Government as Agitator and Arsonist

There was a gap of 24 hours between calling off the strike force in New Haven and calling the National Guard to Kent State, the second of three fallback positions pinpointed. That was enough time for Ohio to ready for action. “Kent State was chosen as the site on very short notice … this would mean that an FBI man would have been flown up to Kent Slate just before the shooting,” says Hal Dorland. The evi-dence points to the government as provocateur and arsonist in the burning of the ROTC building at Kent State University on May 2, 1970.

On the evening of May 1, rioting ensued in the town of Kent and the National Guard was called. This riot may have been aided in part by government provocateurs—some of those arrested either worked for the FBI and police, or subsequently identified others who were later arrested. One student who incited to riot from the rooftop of a house on Main Street was the son of a policeman. According to William Gordon in Four Dead in Ohio, there were at least two people involved in the rioting known to have worked for the government, one of whose name was the same as the President of the United States: Richard Nixon.

The National Guard was called Friday. May 1 st, onto the Kent State campus due to the rioting in downtown Kent Friday night; yet. the burning of the ROTC building on campus Saturday. May 2nd is given as the official reason The National Guard was called. To complete the scenario, the ROTC building needed to burn.

On May 1. 1970. Nixon made his famous reference to student protesters as ‘bums and arsonists’ at a Pentagon brief-ing. His complaint became a prophecy fulfilled; the ROTC building at Kent State burned down ihe next day. “There had to be Pentagon approval for the government to burn its own [ROTC] building.” says Richard Jaworski, former high school teacher of slain student Allison Krause. Jaworski surmises that burning the ROTC was one of the topics at that Pentagon meeting, and that was why the topic of arson was on Nixon’s mind. He was telling the public that those who burn buildings are bums, and he was building his case against the ‘bums’ in case any were shot.

On the Kent State campus on Saturday, May 2. various persons tried to set the ROTC shack on fire but were unable to do so. “Someone said they tried to light the curtains on fire with a ‘Zippo’ lighter,” says Ruth Gibson, a campus radical who was at the scene. “It didn’t work.” Accord-ing to Charles Thomas in Kent Four. FBI agents with two-way radios were seen and heard in the darkness saying, “The kids are having a hard time getting the shack on fire.” Kent Slate campus police finally drove the protesters away and surrounded the building. After protester Ruth Gibson and others fled to the other side of campus, they were shocked to see the ROTC build-ing engulfed in flames in the distance. According to witnesses, it was a professional-looking job with flames shooting up through the middle of the building.

The burning of the ROTC building at Kent State remains an official enigma; no one was ever convicted for its destruction. Students reported seeing many new faces on campus that day; people who looked like students asking for directions to various dormitories. The appearance of unknown people, ‘outside agitators,’ on the campus that day lends credence to the theory that the agitators were government provocateurs who had entered the campus to help riot and ensure the ROTC build-ing would burn.

Storm Troopers off the Right

By Friday, May 8, 1970, the country seemed to be on the verge of a civil war. The student movement, inflamed by the slayings at Kent State, went on its last rampage; demonstrations occurred at half of all colleges and universities in the country, twenty-six of which were marked by brutal clashes between students and police. Julie Nixon, unable to empathize with her peers, and perhaps planning her own consolidation of power, pre-dicted on May 4, 1970 that because of the student rebellion the “right wing will take over.” (National Archives) “Julie [Nixon] was totally devoted to her father, she was like a boy—a cold fish,” according to Dr. Hutschnecker.

Julie’s eerie prophecy was fulfilled when Nixon’s own ‘storm troopers of the New Order,’ the construction workers—came out to do his bidding. May 8, 1970 in New York City has been compared to Germany’s ‘Night of the Broken Glass’ in 1933, when Hitler’s storm troopers attacked the Jews. The “hard-hats” surged onto Broadway Avenue in Manhattan and attacked anyone who looked “subversive” to them. (Newsweek, 25 May 1970) The “hard-hats” disrupted city-sponsored memorial activities for the four students killed by the National Guard at Kent State. Seventy persons were clubbed, punched, and beaten. An elderly woman shouted at a hard-hat to stop attacking someone. She was knocked to he ground and spat on by a hard-hat. Police looked the other way. Nixon, photographed wearing a hard hat. congratulated the organizer of the riot. William Brcnnan. inviting him and other ‘hard hats’ to the White House on May 26, 1970 for their “very successful parade” in New York, which Nixon said had been “for the country.” (National Archives: The Nixon Papers)

The LOSS off a sanctuary

The phrase “denial to the enemy of access to a sanctuary” was one of Nixon’s key stated goals in Cambodia. According to Frank Mankiewicz in Perfectly Clear, “Denial of access to a sanctuary” came to mean not only enemy strongholds of soldiers, but came to include destroying homes of civilians. The goal of clearing out all the sanctuaries also came to mean for Nixon destroying the concept of the university campus as a sanctuary. College campuses had previously been considered off limits to a state agency such as the National Guard, and especially off-limits as regards shooting weapons at civilians.

The recurring theme of denying sanctuary was repeated in a press conference given by Ohio Governor James Rhodes in Kent. Ohio on May 3. 1970, the day before the shootings. “There is no place, there is no sanctuary, no place off limits … it is over with in the Stale of Ohio.” In comparison, in the White House’s Summary of the President’s Report on Cambodia, one result of the Cambodian bombing operation was that: “…we have destroyed the psychological security of his sanctuaries forever; we have dam-aged his armies and destroyed his plans—and we have not a damn thing to apologize for.”

Speaking of his planned raid on Cambodia. Nixon asked of his advisors, “Could we take out all the sanctuaries’.'” In his Memoirs, Nixon wrote, “Knock them all out so that they can’t be used against us again. Ever.” The Cambodia invasion was termed ‘Operation Total Victory’ (emphasis added] by H.R. Haldcman. Nixon’s closest aid. Haldeman wrote in his diary on May 3, 1970, the day before the Kent State shootings, indicating it was not just Cambodia on his mind but student protesters, “We’ve created division—drawn the sword, don’t take it out—grind it hard…We have to go on [the] offensive against peaceniks.” (National Archives)

The loss of a sanctuary was a familiar theme in Nixon’s child-hood, because he never felt safety or approval in his own family. “He begged for approval from his mother.” states Dr. Hutschnecker, but he never got it. The reason Nixon came off so poorly on television was that the ‘eye’ of the camera represented, to him. the disapproving eye of his mother. After appearing on TV, his mother would tell him he did a “terrible job.” Nixon grew up so deprived of love that he found displays of affection foreign and nauseating. He wrote of his mother, Hannah Nixon. “She never indulged in the present-day custom, which I find nauseating, of hugging and kissing her children or others for whom she had affection … she could communicate far more than others could with a lot of sloppy talk and even more sloppy kissing and hug-ging. I can never remember her saying to any of us. ‘I love you’—she didn’t have to!”

As Chrystine Oksana writes in the ritual abuse recovery book, Safe Passage to Healing, “Violator’s need for power may be insatiable. It likely stems from unmet emotional needs for secu-rity, which were denied them in childhood, probably by their own families…. Rage and hate are discharged through violence, sadistic attacks on a victim … killings of animals, children, or adults.”

When he was six or seven years old, young Richard was caught swimming in the irrigation ditch near his home, which his father had forbidden. As Brodie writes. Frank Nixon hurled Richard in the water again and again shouting “Do you like water? Have some more of it!” Nixon may well have thought his father was trying to drown him.

The onset of multiple personality disorder is between birth and eight years old and is the result of the prolonged stress of having one’s life threatened. The use of near drowning has been used as a tactic for creating multiple personalities. Nixon’s mother was not much help in protecting him. When in a rage, Frank Nixon would wield butcher’s knives and cleavers, and even a gun. Hannah Nixon would say to her husband Frank, “It’s all right to use that to scare somebody with, but don’t fire it at anybody.”

Ohio Governor Rhodes went on to threaten more losses of sanctuaries. After the shootings of May 4, 1970, he went on the radio declaring that if there was any further trouble at Kent State, he would close down the University and turn the grounds into a mental institution. Yet the government took refuge behind the sanctuary of ‘law and order,’ and blamed the students for their own deaths.

Sexualized Rage of the Haters Middle

America both despised and envied the sexual freedom enjoyed by the young; proclivities they also practiced, but secretly and hypocritically. “The students … have no one but themselves lo blame for the tragedy of May 4th … We, the people of Ohio saw with our own eyes, on television, the hordes of filthy hippies throwing rocks and shouting obscenities at the National Guardsmen … we saw the stinking long-haired freaks bashing in downtown store windows and destroying the property of oth-ers,” wrote an anonymous writer to the parents of a slain student signed only: ‘The People of Ohio.”(Yale Archives, Kent State Collection) The hater’s repressed sexuality is projected onto the ‘”dirty” hippies, thus sexualizing the trauma reenactment. “They ought to be horse-whipped,” was a common reaction in Kent, Ohio, especially of the women, to the lifestyle of the students.

Dr. Ronald Roskens, Vice President for Administration at Kent State University 1969-1970. served the Nixon Administration’s propagandist purposes by appearing on televi-sion talk shows at the behest of John Ehr-lichman and Jeb Magruder, members of Nix-on’s inner circle. (National Archives) Kent State University was aptly rewarded for its complicity in the shootings in the Fall of 1970 by receiving a $20,000 federal justice study grant for a new law-enforcement center, and since 1970 many more foundation stones have been laid. Ron Roskens was later  rewarded by the Republican Bush Administration by being appointed lo head the Agency for International Development, a cover for CIA activities. Roskens received  this post after having been fired as Chancellor of the University of Nebraska for inviting young men to his state home for alleged sexual purposes. On his board of “chancellor’s advisory committee” was the infamous Larry King—tied to a child abuse, Satanism, and ritual abuse cult that involved the upper echelon of Nebraskan society, according to former state Senator John W. DeCamp in his book The Franklin Cover-up.

Sex was the main topic on J. Edgar Hoo-ver’s mind when he met with top-ranking officials of the Justice Department to discuss a federal probe of the shootings at Kent State. “At its end, Hoover took over and talked about only one topic: his belief that one of the coeds had been sexually promiscuous.” Hoover’s own sexuality, which included sex with young males and secret transvestitism, was hidden to the outside world at the time.

Evidence of sexual abuse existed in the home Richard Nixon grew up in: Nixon’s parents tried to raise his younger brother Arthur as a girl. They dressed him as a girl and gave him a girl’s haircut. Cross-dressing a child or verbally denigrating a child’s gender is ‘gender attack’—a form of sexual abuse, accord-ing to sexual abuse author Wendy Malt/. Witnessing such abuse in the home would have made Nixon unsure of his masculinity, and caused him to prove it through extreme violence expressed in a secretive or deceptive way. Frank Nixon, (Nixon’s father) was known to be sexually aggressive, jealous of his wife, and ‘hot.’ Writer Jessamyn West, who was a friend of the family, remembers visiting the Nixons as a small child and sleeping in the same bed as Hannah and Frank Nixon. “These were the days when families worried more about food and less about Freud,” was the only comment biographer Edwin Hoyt gave to that arrangement.

Nixon exhibited several common characteristics of abuse survivors, among them: high-risk-taking behavior, a lack of proper boundaries, living in a created fantasy world, being promiscuous or having an aversion to sex, suicidal tendencies, extreme rage, an inability to trust, solemnity, rigidly controlled body movements, and existing in a state of hypervigilance. (Roth)

‘It Speaks as a Dragon’

The typical reaction of many Americans to the Kent State shootings was that ‘they should have killed 400 instead of four.” At the same time, people insisted the incident was either an accident or self-defense. State officials in Columbus. Ohio, received 13.000 letters in the two months after the ‘accidental’ shootings, saying that more students should have been shot. Therefore, was it referred to as an accident simply to avoid responsibility for premeditated murder? If 400 should have been shot, would that be 400 accidentally shot? If the shooting was an ‘accident,’ why is it claimed that 400 should have been shot? Claiming two incompatible opinions simultaneously might indicate that the person making the claims is mentally splitting (a defense mechanism), is lying, or both. Splitting is “distorting truth because of a desire for order, closure, and control”—an evidence of immaturity.

Nixon requested daily reports of the FBI investigation into the shootings, and he could depend on America to view the shootings—through their ever-present lens of denial—as an accident. Four dead and nine wounded in a thirteen-second barrage of firepower are an awful lot for an accident. “Military personnel fire only upon command—especially in a riot control situation,” states former Army Sergeant Leroy Howard. A command to fire would have been the most likely scenario to describe what happened at Kent State—when the National Guard wheeled in unison and at once all fired their weapons together. Immediately after the shootings, students spontaneously ‘sat down’ on the field in protest of the killings, and were threatened with mass slaughter by a machine-gun mounted on a jeep if they did not disperse. Would the ensuing mass slaughter have been an accident as well?

Daniel Ellsberg, former special assistant to Assistant Secretary of Defense, claims that the American government has been lying about its civilian targets since WWII’s bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, both of which were civilian centers labeled for the public as military targets. Americans extend their habit of mental dissociation, splitting, and denial to the dragon-like aspect of their government because it provides them with an idol to worship, and a never-ending source of material good things. American selective attention is also apparent in the fact that both Presidents Nixon and Johnson campaigned as ‘peace candidates’ yet escalated the Vietnam War once they took office.

“[The conspiracy to kill students] went much higher—all the way to the top in New York City,” claims Hal Dorland of the Kent State shootings. New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller paid an unpublicized condolence visit to the parents of slain Kent State student and New York native, Jeffrey Miller, on May 10, 1970. Jeff Miller’s mother suspects Rockefeller was either feeling guilty for the deaths or was on a spying mission for Nixon. In addition, an individual with ties to the FBI offered a million dollar bribe, to be provided by the Rockefeller-funded Ford Foundation, to the parents of slain student Allison Krause to not pursue plans to have a major motion picture made about Kent State, because such a project would have sparked more inquiry into the shootings.

©Katie Klemenchich. The author may be reached at [email protected]. For more information about the Kent State murders, see