Matthew Whiteside is a junior broadcast journalism major taking the “May 4th, 1970 and Its Aftermath” course at Kent State University.
When I signed up for the course May 4, 1970 and Its Aftermath I figured we would take some looks into what took place. Little did I know that by the time I leave I could pass myself off as a private investigator.
From what I heard about the course, it basically concentrated on a big project due at the end of the semester and not much before then. Now, usually when students sign up for these types of classes they don’t put much effort into the work and expect to get an easy “A.”
Now, I must admit I usually fall into that mold as well, but after seeing all of the cover-ups and drama, one could make a case that there are almost as many holes in the story as the Kennedy assassination (I know — bold statement).
This week, the class focused on two readings that further convoluted the mystery behind what actually caused the Ohio National Guard to open fire on that fateful Monday morning. The readings: The Kent State Coverup and the Justice Department summary of the FBI report looked at different quotes from various guards and tried to analyze what actually happened.
There were two parts to the class. During the first half, we looked at the FBI report. Each student was assigned three questions from the report. The questions were then discussed with the class. Some main points discussed were: the number of students on the commons, whether or not the guard ran out of tear gas, the protestors’ demands, the role of the Students for a Democratic Society and whether or not the guards’ lives were in danger.
During the second half of class we were split up into groups of three and picked interesting points from the Kent State Coverup. During these sessions, it was discovered that a gun was planted on a student, Jeffrey Miller. During the court hearings some questions were not allowed to be asked. The most interesting thing though is the FBI determined that the guards were not in danger of losing their lives.
This week taught me that no matter how many readings and different sources we investigate to find the real truth about what caused May 4. The unfortunate reality is with all of the different players and outside influences, we may never get the answers we deserve.