Our Modern-Day “Kent State” Moment
Today marks 50 years since the “Kent State Massacre.” If you’re unfamiliar with that tragic, fateful event, there are plenty of resources on the web for you to learn about it. The short version is that a group of unarmed protestors were fired on by Ohio National Guard troops, killing four.
What’s amazed me is that this touchstone of American history, an event that has largely shaped much of the succeeding half century, has barely received mention in the national press. I only found a few articles, an example of which is this one in the NY Times – and it was in the opinion section, not the news section. It was not that the National Guard opened fire on their fellow citizens that was so shocking and unsettling. After all, we had witnessed that during the riots of the Summer of 1968. But that was during riots. This was armed soldiers firing on unarmed protestors who had gathered peacefully to protest their government’s invasion of Cambodia during the Vietnam War.
I was 6 when Kent State happened, and I can still remember asking my parents why the soldiers shot the people. It’s a question that’s never been sufficiently answered. Not unlike the Boston Massacre two centuries prior, nobody even knows who actually fired the first shot – or has ever conclusively answered if anyone even ordered the shooting to begin. But imagine the nation’s trauma, if a 6 year old who didn’t understand much of the world around him was still able to grasp that soldiers shooting unarmed citizens was a pretty bad thing.
What has really surprised me is the stark hypocrisy in the media as regards Kent State to our modern world. Today, protestors are out in force across the country, in numbers not seen the turbulent times of the late 1960’s. Tens of thousands of our fellow citizens are in the streets, on the beaches, and at the state capitals trying to hold their government to account for what they see as an abridgement of their civil rights. And despite an incidence of government abuse of protest rights during our lifetimes, the media has focused on the fact some of these are coming armed to declare that they aren’t protests at all – they’re a veiled attempt at an armed insurrection.
This is ludicrous and displays the media’s inability to fairly and accurately report current events. Just as in 1970, these governors fear the protests. Just as in 1970, they have good reason to fear the protests. Then, the protests signaled a political upheaval that would cost many of them their jobs and political careers over the next decade. Today, the protests signal yet another political upheaval – one in which the “illiberal conservatives” are proving to be far more liberal than the “liberal” politicians who have led the charge to arbitrarily pursue “temporary safety” at the expense of “essential liberty.”
To expect citizens who protest a government that is stripping them of their civil rights, of the very protections that the Bill of Rights were designed to safeguard, to appear unarmed is to not understand the lessons of Kent State. An unarmed populace that challenges the legitimacy of their government is often, in the eyes of the government, engaging in rebellion. The lesson of Kent State was that when challenging the government, being armed is a requirement – if for no other reason than to defend yourself from the government.
The Founding Fathers understood this, and that is why they required the Second Amendment be included in the Bill of Rights. It’s just a shame the media forgot that lesson.
What a difference 48 hours can make
So, despite an economy that’s in the toilet and a solid 40% of the nation never buying your policies, you’ve managed to ride your personal popularity to a slight lead in the polls. Just to make matters more scintillating, the opposition seems intent on NOT winning the upcoming election. After all, how else do you explain their choice for nominee, a man who epitomizes many of the things most Americans personally despise? On top of that, the nominee has all the personality of flat white paint and switches positions so often even he doesn’t know which side of the fence to sit on.
If you didn’t know better, though, you would swear that Barack Obama has looked aver these gifts and decided he just doesn’t want to be President next year. It’s the only thing that makes any sense at this point. Otherwise, why would he be doing his best Jimmy Carter routine with less than six weeks until election day?
I’ve been traveling quite a bit over the past 48 hours. In a way, it’s probably a good thing – otherwise this blog would’ve blown up form all the posts. But to recap the events (in case you were hiding under a rock)
- On the anniversary of the September 11 attacks, mobs attacked the US Embassy in Cairo and the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. As it turns out, the attacks now look like the work of al-Quaeda (what a surprise) and it also looks like the CIA and Homeland Security tried to alert the administration and the State Department of the threat 48 hours in advance. The response? The administration ordered the Marine guards in Cairo disarmed and State relied on local security forces in Benghazi. The Embassy in Cairo was stormed and the American flag burned. In Benghazi, the US ambassador and three of his employees were murdered.
- It’s also come to light that President Obama hasn’t sat in on any of his security briefings since September 5th. I guess between campaigning, raising money, golfing and shooting hoops, he doesn’t have any time left for mundane things like, oh – doing his job?
- Yesterday, the Federal Reserve announced that the economy is booming along so well that it’s now launching QE3. Unlike QE1 and 2, this time it’s open ended. The Federal Reserve will print upwards of $85 billion a month (that’s roughly 6% of the total economy) until unemployment reaches some magical number, now assumed to be 7.5%. Of course, Ben Bernanke could change his mind and decide on some different number later. Regardless of how you feel about this latest round of quantitative easing (I’ll probably write more on it later), it’s hardly a ringing endorsement of the President’s fiscal policies.
- Yesterday, before the ink was even dry on the court opinion that the NDAA is unconstitutional, the Justice Department had already filed an appeal. Apparently, although holding foreign nationals and countries accountable for their actions isn’t part of this administrations repertoire, detaining American citizens indefinitely without a writ of habeus corpus is perfectly acceptable.
- Since the original attacks in Cairo and Benghazi, US Embassies in Yemen, Morocco, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tunisia, Lebanon, India, Pakistan and even London have been scenes of mob violence, while riot police and demonstrators have had a running battle in Cairo.
- And today, the President’s spokesman said (I kid you not), “This is not a case of protests directed at the United States.”
That last bit was the final straw. The Obama administration is obviously intent on throwing in the towel (and to Hell if he throws in the American people along with it). The question is, is Mitt Romney enough of a candidate to pick it up and run with it? I’m still not convinced he is. Until then, I’ll continue to support the only candidate on the ballot I see supporting American principles, values and commitments: Gary Johnson