ohio : reloading for bear

by Art Chantry ( art@artchantry.com)

in light of what happened this weekend with “occupy oakland”, i want to share with you this little book i found at the goodwill store. it’s called “i was there (what really went on at kent state)” by “former national guardsmen” ed grant and mike hill (pub. by c.s.s. publishing, no copyright date). it’s one of those little crackpot “tell at the REAL truth” type books that thrive in the alternative press world. i’ve not read all of it, but only browsed it, because i find i just can’t read some books like this. i’m too emotionally involved with that period of the past. it just plain hurts too much to actually give these guys their ‘fair and balanced’ voice.

AC:by the way, i picked this up because i loved the brilliantly incompetent typography. all the spacing is top notch crazy. i love the way that big type virtually slams into each line. it reminded me of type experiments by robert massin in the bald soprano. but, this is sheer incompetence doing the same thing beautifully.

i know that’s not “pc” of me and certainly not very liberal. but just because liberals seem to think they always have to include everyone and let everybody have their say – even though the right takes exactly the opposite position and try to destroy anybody who disagrees. personally, i’m not a ‘nice pc’ liberal at all. i find i hurt too much inside to let these monsters bully me any more. so, that’s why i haven’t read all of it. mentioning that is a disclaimer. i’m not fair or balanced at all.

the contents are (obviously) written by a couple of the national guardsmen who were in the ‘firing squad’ at the kent state protest that resulted in the direct shooting deaths of several non-violent protesting students in 1970 on kent state campus in ohio. it’s full of “shocking new photos” and takes the position that the protesters were criminal radicals and bent on the destruction of everything the USA personally held dear. besides, they were violent and attacking the guardsmen with – flowers or something. one of the guardsmen (see cover) was actually an infiltrating spy as well (that guy on the cover is two photos of the same guardsman. one is a ‘hippie’ disguise). maybe he was even an instigator, depending on how your read this slop. they take the position they were defending themselves, country and gawd! them damn hippies deserved to be shot!


a number of years ago, i actually got the opportunity to visit kent state campus (met people like paul sahre there when he was still a student, for instance). i was taken (by request) on a tour of the location of the incident. my guide (i forget who it was. sorry) showed me the layout of the ‘battle-lines’ and locations of all the movements as they occurred. it’s a little hard to see the layout clearly, because trees had been planted in the years since (getting quite large), and some minor construction and landscaping has altered the place.

but, one thing in particular remains firmly locked in my memory. very near the site of the shootings, there is a big abstract modern sculpture standing nearby since the early 1960′s. it’s built out of battleship plate steel, 1-2 inches thick solid steel, very much like those big metal plates you see used in roadwork to temporarily cover construction pits so traffic can pass over it freely during off hours.

my guide took me up to the sculpture and pointed out a hole drilled completely through the plate steel in one corner. he said it is apparently a bullet hole. it’s never been traced to a single gun, though, and whether it’s actually from that dreadful day or some other event, no one really knows. but, it is there and it showed up at the time of the protest. it’s on the student side of the battle line, not the guardsmen side. to be able to pierce a hole through metal like that (no bending or distortion, either. just a clean drill) means that an extremely powerful armor-piercing round was inside those rifles. why? nobody knows. somebody decided to arrive that day fully loaded for bear, as if they expected to be attacked by sherman tanks. the fear must have been profound in side the skulls of those ill-trained ‘weekend warriors”.

the massive arrest and fighting in the streets at occupy oakland this weekend signify the beginning of the end to non-violent protest by the new movement. basically, they got fed up and began to fight back. for a movement proudly and stubbornly dedicated to non-violent protest, this is a BIG deal. in the minds of the rest of america, this movement just entered the crazy stage. violence will become part of what happens from now on, i imagine. sure, it will always have it’s peaceful protesters and demonstrations, but the potential for overreaction, fear and hatred by both teams has just risen by an extreme huge notch. the end point will be easy to predict.

it really makes no difference at all “who started it” (it’

atently obvious the power structure with all the cops started the violence. the protesters simply got fed up and angry and fought BACK.) however, from now on EVERYBODY is going to be guilty for what happens. it’s just how these things work.

jackson state happened just a few days later after the kent state shooting. two more students were shot. buckle up, kiddies. it’s going to be a bumpy ride.


AC: oh, and i when i said the “fear must have been profound inside the skulls of those guardsmen”? i was actually being a nice ‘fair and balanced” pc liberal. the other scary reason for loading up with armor -piercing rounds is that one bullet can travel through an entire crowd, killing multiple times and wounding even more before it runs out of energy. some of those guys in the guard could easily have been psycho killers out for a fun afternoon and getting away with it. that’s the worst case scenario – government sanctioned murder for fun. but, i didn’t say that….

…well, if you go back and look at neil young’s actual political history, you’ll see he’s a right wing libertarian or something. for instance, he was a big supporter of both reagan AND nixon. so, when he says something like that, well, i don’t really know exactly what he means any more….

…two places. one is the song ambulance blues which he wrote in a fit of regret (for supporting the wrong man and being betrayed by him) that he had the day nixon was forced out of office. the other is an old nixon campaign poster i snagged from the republican party offices back in ’68. it’s a psuedo-psychedelic hippie poster that has a big drawing of nixon surrounded by all his pop culture supporters (sports stars like wilt the tilt and movie stars like clint eastwood). neil young is prominently displayed in full buffalo springfield fringe….i’ve read that ambulance blues was about nixon’s resignation so many times, i’m surprised at your time line. perhaps it was written about an earlier event in the middle of watergate and not the resignation? dunno. but, ambulance blues is about nixon….


i finally found my (battered) copy and guess what!? he’s not there. i have no idea why i thought he was. perhaps i have it mixed up with some other poster or perchance it’s that pesky old altzhiemer’s kicking in again. so, basically, i’m wrong, you’re right and i stand here with crusty yellow egg yolk on my face. i’m going to check around and try to figure out if i mixed posters or just was fulla shit. my bad.

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