May 4th 1970: When the political becomes the personal

They are still coming for us, but they can’t kill us all.

My boyfriend, G, was one of the Kent 25. The 25s’ names were never released, but we knew who they were.

G is listed in FBI records as a high school student. He was not. He was an Army veteran, discharged  7 months earlier after a turn in Germany. Even though thousands of miles away from Viet Nam, the Army had taught G to hate the war.

G had been involved with the burning of the ROTC building on Saturday night.  To what extent I never knew. I know he was present at the shootings on May 4, He came to my apartment that afternoon and wept.

The Saturday after the shootings, G and a few of us held a memorial service for the dead and wounded  around the flagpole at the National Guard Armory on Schryoer Ave, in our hometown, Canton, Ohio, where some of the shooters were from. We were watched from the windows, and then followed by men in suits we assumed were FBI  Our service was small. Although hundreds of people had promised to show up, only seven did. Others said later they were “too busy” or “afraid.”

After G was secretly indicted (it wasn’t so secret after all) he fled to Montreal via an circuitous underground network through Erie, Pennsylvania, London, Ontario, and Vancouver. He stayed there, apparently with some Quebecois separatists, before returning to the US to face charges–which never came. He was instead arrested at the airport by the FBI and turned over to local authorities on a fugitive warrant for possession due to his arrest in the summer of 1969, along with about 20 others, at what used to be quaintly called a }pot  party.” Under Ohio’s old marijuana law, he was convicted and sentenced from 7-25, though no one from that party except his brother who was also a Kent 25er, served a day. G was released a couple years later when the law changed and he was grandfathered out

I could go on with G’s tragic life, but I won’t. Always troubled, the Kent State massacre was the real beginning of a spiral that could only end one way.

I believe that at least one of the leaders of the ROTC fire was an FBI informant.  There was plenty of evidence on him, yet he walked. I won’t mention any names. He was dangerous then, and if he’s still alive (I’ve looked for him), he can still be dangerous. Later, people he hung with ended up dead. Whether by his hand or the hand of his enemies is hard to say.

There is a lot about Kent State that remains unknown and will probably stay that way.

When Ohio ex-Governor James Rhodes, the butcher of Kent State, died a few yeaRs ago, I went to the State House where he lay in state in the rotunda. It was about an hour before he was hauled away permanently. I looked down on him, condemned him a happy trip to hell. Burn, Jimmy, Burn.

Rest in Peace






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