A report from a reader in Ohio:
I’m a graduate student here at Kent State, and I’m a touch shocked and alarmed at what the weekend has brought to this little town.
First, as you may or may not realize, May 4th is the yearly commemoration of the shootings back in 1970. Fittingly, the campus anti-war movement scheduled a rally for Sunday to follow the normal ceremony… which was of course denied for “safety reasons.” (What, the ROTC on maneuvers this weekend?)
Then, as the weekend rolls around, the town falls under martial law. Saturday and Sunday afternoon, access to the campus is severely restricted (think police officers guarding all of the roads on campus). Kent Ohio is, literally, a 15 minute drive from east to west. In 5 minutes on the road Saturday night, I see 5 police cars (do we even HAVE 5 police cars in this po-dunk town?), 2 of which have pulled an offending vehicle off the road. Add to this an inexplicable raid on a townhome complex that evening…
Finally, the big day comes, and somewhere between 100 and 200 armed police, many in full riot gear, meet the relatively few protesters (I can’t find an estimate of how many anywhere…) who decided to assemble anyway, under belief that the first ammendment actually means something. 12+ arrests insue (add these 12 to the 7 already arrested in the past month for peaceful protests). One individual who was arrested was sitting in the parking lot in which students were gunned down in 1970, sitting beside one of the monuments to the deceased. Just sitting there.
I’m not going to say that the protesters were completely well behaved some were not. But 200 ARMED police in riot gear at a peace demonstration here at Kent State? Did someone lose their mind, or is it just me?
Perhaps I’m just overreacting. Perhaps. But why didn’t any of this make the evening news? I’ve only found 3 local Ohio news links to the story… and, let me tell ya, I was more than a little afraid of “the law” this weekend. Welcome to America.
(Update) More here. (Ironically, when I clicked the link, there was an ad at the top for…the National Guard.)