"Give me the liberty to know, to utter, and to argue freely according to conscience, above all liberties. Truth was never put to the worse in a free and open encounter..."
~ Milton
Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
~Benjamin Franklin

Reading:
A Fistful of Euros
Ahistoricality
Andrew Tobias
Angry Liberal
Archy
Avedon Carol
Back to Iraq
Bad Attitudes
Bark Bark Woof Woof
BlogAfrica
Cliopatria
Common Dreams
Counterterrorism Blog
Cursor
Daniel Drezner
Eric Alterman
European Democracy
Fablog
Hellblazer
Hugo Schwyzer
Hullabaloo
In The Dark
Informed Comment
Jesus' General
Madelaine Kane
Mahablog
Mother Jones
Obsidian Wings
Off the Kuff
Opinions You Should Have
Orcinus
Pacific Views
Pen-Elayne
Political Animal
Prometheus 6
StoutDemBlog
Talking Points Memo
TalkLeft
TBOGG
The American Street
The Common Ills
The Washington Note
War and Piece

Book Reviews
The Emerging Democratic Majority (Judis & Teixeira)
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them (Franken)
Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot (Franken)
The True Believer (Hoffer)
Still Being Bushwhacked

All Book Reviews
Race, Gender, and Sexuality
You Got My Support. But.
Even Endangered Penguins Do It
Jesus Wept
Not Quite Right (with caveats)
Unforeseen Racism?

All Race, Gender, and Sexuality
Campaigns and Voting
killmenow
Not News. Olds. And Truths.
November 4, 2008
Anyone?
Pay Attention

All Campaigns and Voting
Lecture Circuit
It Was 40 Years Ago Today
July 2, 1964
Pledge
May 14-15, 1970
The Erotica of Bare Knees

All Lecture Circuit
Media
The Liberal Media, At It Again
Fairly UNbalanced
P.S.
What's this?
OHMIGOD

All Media
Big Brother
Shoulda' Guessed
Where did my country go?
You know what you never thought you'd read?
Not in his name
Sleight of Hand

All Big Brother
World O'Blog
It's Vocabulary Time!
They wrote it
Mighty-fine blogging
Other People Said....
Phillipines

All World O'Blog
Aimless Ranting
So, I'm thinking with half my brain
Do You Know Peter?
Long, Little Privacy Rant
My Takeaway
If I Had It To Do Over Again

All Aimless Ranting
Archives
November 24, 2013 - November 30, 2013
November 03, 2013 - November 09, 2013
December 09, 2012 - December 15, 2012
October 07, 2012 - October 13, 2012
May 06, 2012 - May 12, 2012

All Weekly Archives


Electioneering
Open Secrets
Political Wire Exit Polls
Politics1
Polling Report

Information
American Research Group
Center for Democracy and Technology
Center for Public Integrity
Center on Budget and Policy Priorities
Congressional Report Cards
Death Row Roll Call
DebtChannel.org
Democracy Now
Economic Policy Institute
FairVote Colorado
Foreign Policy In Focus
Global Exchange
Human Rights Watch
Independent Judiciary
Inequality
Institute on Money in State Politics
Institute for Public Accuracy
JobWatch
Lying in ponds
Media Reform
Media Transparency
Move On
One World
Open Democracy
Pew Research Center
Project Censored
Public Citizen Health Research Group
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute
Take Back The Media
The Urban Institute
WHO Outbreak News

Connections
XML & RDF
Peevish for PDA



Blog Directory


Search








Credits
Powered by Movable Type

Site Design by Sekimori





All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

May 04, 2004
First, they came forů.

Neighborhood barbeques and adults gossiping on the patio with cold drinks while surrounded by a mob of shouting, running, laughing children. It was always summer and there was always someone turning the crank on the ice-cream maker. Except on those rare and wonderful occasions when someone decided it was a popcorn or pizza kind of evening.

Sunset started around 8:00 on the plains and it lingered for hours until children, exhausted from too much fun but still protesting, "it's not even dark yet!" were shooed off to bed.

There were Saturday afternoon bandstand concerts, "Art in the Park" weekend for the local amateur, and neighborhoods where everyone knew you, your family, and what time you were expected to be home for lunch.

We had a creek for getting muddy in. A stand of trees just deep enough to be labeled "the forest" by Robin Hood and his faithful, albeit occasionally mutinous, followers.

We had a meadow liberally sprinkled with butterflies, wildflowers, and in the very center, the shade tree so necessary on hot, August days. Sidewalks for chalking, streets for bicycles, wagons, and skateboards, and a corner store with an ice-cream fountain that served the best French fries and the most amazing cherry Cokes in the world.

Then we had Kent State.

The world came into sharp focus when I saw pictures of us, Americans, shooting us, Americans, here in America.

I didn't know that could happen.

I didn't understand how that could happen. No one I asked could explain how that could happen.

Maybe if it happened today, Kent State would barely register on brains coarsened by decades of television and movie violence interspersed with news reports of seemingly endless wars around the world, but back then, it was different. I could have sworn I felt the entire world change.

My understanding of life, the universe, and everything was altered because in one moment I understood that police (the only people I knew who wore uniforms) were shooting kids a lot like me.

And then the television was calling them "bums" or "scum" but I could see the kids on the television screen and they didn't look like bums. They just looked like kids, except they were screaming and running and falling down.

The thing is, as I reasoned out slowly and carefully in my unsophisticated 12 year-old mind, if no one could explain how or why that could happen, then no one could be sure it wouldn't happen again.

Any ordinary, sunny spring day...it could happen again.

When I got older, of course, I understood that the difference in age and maturity between those students and the National Guardsmen was minimal. They weren't "police" they were inexperienced kids panicking in a situation none of them knew how to handle, but that doesn't change the original emotional impact.

Maybe because of that experience, I've never been one of those who thinks that "rights" are something that, once granted, are a permanent gift. I think they have to be guarded. People with guns can be the ones that protect you, but they can also be a danger.

You can't erase all of those barbeques and bowls of home-made ice cream and Saturday afternoons in the park that easily. I still have a belief in the fundamental goodness of human nature. In spite of everything.

But I also remember Kent State.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:24 AM


Comments

Initally, I thought they said shooting at "Penn State" and my heart was in my throat because my sister was in her first year there.

Later, when I went to Penn State, I wandered across the lawn at Old Main and wondered how I would react if armed troops were there. At the time, I knew I would be on the lawn to confront them.

Odd, isn't it, how Kent State, full of white kids, get remembered but Jackson State, a HBC, isn't.

Posted by: Eva Whitley at May 4, 2004 07:01 PM