The Kent State shooting was one of the worst shootings in United States history. The Kent State students were peacefully protesting the bombing of Cambodia in the Vietnam War. The Ohio National Guard was called because of a supposed fire the students started and interfered with. Then the native guard fired warning shots and threw tear gas at the students the next day at the common when they were peacefully protesting. Ultimately, the Ohio National Guard fired shots at the students and killed 4 of them. The Ohio guard should not have shot innocent, unarmed college students who were peacefully protesting. The Kent State Shooting was one of the worst shootings in the US, and should not have happened.
The Ohio National Guard was originally called for crowd control, to calm the crowd, which they did, but in doing so they shot many bullets which injured 13 innocent students.. Over the 4 days the students were protesting. In the end when the National Guard was called it ended in tragedy. As Constance Rambo states, “What started out as a peaceful protest culminated into 4 days of unrest that ended in tragedy.” This helps show that the students were peacefully protesting and should not have been shot at for doing so. The day before the students interfered with the firemen doing their job which resulted in the guard being called. That’s when the anxiety escalated. As Rambo states in his project, “When protesters interfered with the ability of the firemen to fight the fire, the National Guard used tear gas and arrested protesters.” Although the students did interfere with the fire, the Ohio National Guard did not need to be called. The police could have done their job. The students were unarmed and threw rocks while yelling at the guard. The guard then shot at the crowd instead of using more tear gas or trying to talk to them, Instead the mayor overreacted. Rambo states in his paper, “As the National Guard tried to disband the crowd, discord grew with rock throwing and yelling as the guards were trapped on a field for approximately 10 minutes. Only after the guards returned to the top of a hill, twenty-eight of the more than seventy Guardsmen turned suddenly and fired their weapons.” This verifies that the students only had rocks to use and no guard members were hurt. Firing at the students because of that was unnecessary. Instead they could have thrown tear gas or talked to them. The students did start fires and start vandalism the days before, but they did not need get fired at or even killed by the Ohio Guard.
The day in question the Kent State students were peacefully protesting in the common, the bombings in the Vietnam war was when the Ohio Guard started to fire. The Kent State shootings were a major point of controversy for the Vietnam War and why the students were killed. Ohio History Central states, “When the Guardsmen shot and killed four students on May 4, the Kent State Shootings became the focal point of a nation deeply divided by the Vietnam War.” The students were peacefully protesting until that moment when the guard started to fire at the students. The mayor aggravated the crowd when they were already causing trouble, after that they went back to peacefully protesting at the school. As it says the text by Ohio History Central , “Tensions remained high, and Governor Rhodes further escalated them by accusing the protesters of being unpatriotic.” Just because the students protested and aggravated the mayor, the mayor did not need to provoke the students and cause them to fight back. Ultimately leading to some students getting shot. The students were peacefully protesting until the moment when the soldiers advanced and threw tear gas, that’s when the students started to take action. It states in the Ohio History Central, “Eventually seventy-seven guardsmen advanced on the protesters with armed rifles and bayonets. Protesters continued to throw things at the soldiers. Twenty-nine of the soldiers, purportedly fearing for their lives, eventually opened fire.” The students were peacefully protesting until the guard threatened them, and threw tear gas. That’s when the students fought back and the guard fired at the crowd. Not only did the Kent State shooting not have happened but the students did provoke it in the days before by vandalizing, starting fires, and fights.
The students the days before did vandalize and start fires. They peacefully protested at the school and because of the things they did the days before there was a state of emergency called over a protest. The students were protesting at the school, but the days before the students were chanting slogans and interfering with firefighters trying to put out a fire. The May 4th Task Force Members says, “Many in the crowd chanted anti-war slogans, and a bonfire was set in the street. The crowd also blocked traffic for about an hour and then moved toward the center of town.” The students were causing trouble in town, but did they actually harm anyone, no, so no one needed to get shot. They also did break windows and other things that would a be a part of the government or “political targets”, that’s when the national guard was called. As it shows in the May 4, 1970 Chronology, “Some members of the crowd began to break windows. Primarily ‘political targets’ were attacked, including banks, loan companies, and utility companies. After being informed of the events, Kent Mayor Leroy Satrom declared a ‘state of emergency’ and arbitrarily ordered all of the bars closed.” The Kent State students did break into buildings the days before the shootings, but did not hurt anyone, so there did not also need to be called into a state of emergency. The guard was manipulating the students to go to the school so the guard could gather them there and to help the students not cause anymore trouble, but that’s where the trouble started. As the May 4th task force states, “The riot-act was read and the police proceeded to clear the area. People inside the bars were ordered to leave, forcing hundreds more into the streets. The crowd was herded toward the campus with tear gas and nightsticks, actually in the opposite direction to which some of them lived.” The guard did manipulate the students and force the students to school, away from some of their homes, to which they then fired at school. Not only did the Kent State shootings not need to be a state or emergency but they did not need to happen.
The Kent State shootings were a horrible shooting, and should not have happened. The Kent State shootings were also a very important part of the Vietnam War history. The shootings all happened because of the bombings of Cambodia in the Vietnam War. This is the reason the students started to protest, which led to the shootings. The Kent State shootings are one of the worst shootings of US history, because 2 of the 4 students that were shot and killed were just innocent students walking to class. Even if those students were doing anything, they were most likely just peacefully protesting.