Demonstrations are held every other day in all parts of the world. They are a media by which the public can voice their discontent in regard to issues that affect them. The demonstrations held in Kent University in 1970 were held for such purposes. The students were voicing their protests against the invasion of Cambodia by the American Forces which had been ordered by the president just days earlier. As the protests continued, the police presence was felt in the form of the National Guard from Ohio State. On that fateful Monday in May, the National Guard had been called in to contain the protests that had been staged by the students within the campus grounds. Without warning, the National Guard aimed and fired into the crowd of protesters.
It is unfortunate that students lost their lives and others suffered injuries during the protests. The National Guard was quick to dispel the rumors that they were violent towards the unarmed crowd of students by saying that the bloodshed was called for by the provocative behavior of the anti-war protesting crowds. This is wrong since the students were staging a peaceful demonstration that had not been planned to end in tragedy. It was not and still is not, considered a provocation when unarmed people stage a demonstration. There is no justification in any for the violence that the National Guard unleashed on these students. Some of the students who were injured by bullets fired by the National Guard were not even part of the protesting crowd; rather they were just walking past while others were just innocently observing the protests going on.
The violence at Kent University has also been taunted as having been caused by the intolerant attitude of the National Guard. This is an elite police force thus they may be used to fighting wars. There is no possible justification as to why trained army personnel could possibly raise their guns and open fire at unarmed protesting students seen chanting at the police. The intolerance attitude displayed by the police that day is a disgrace to the whole force, and a tragedy for those affected. When word spread about what had befallen Kent University, other universities and learning institutions took the cue and demonstrated against the shooting besides the role that The USA played in the Vietnam War. Public opinion was also affected by this news and support for the invasion dwindled.
The papers printed a special edition on that day bearing the story of the massacre that had occurred in Kent University and so was the case in the magazines. The leading paper even had the first page photo that went on to win the Pulitzer Prize of a gunned down student on the street. There were many transcripts given by eye witnesses as accounts to what they witnessed. It is sad that most of them said that they heard someone’s voice ordering the National Guard to take aim and fire at the students’. These statements and articles clearly show how merciless the police were and that they were only trigger happy. From an observation point of view, the use of the photographs in the papers supports the theory that the bloodshed by the students was, as a result, to the intolerant attitude displayed by the police. It is most unfortunate that innocent lives of budding students were lost just because trigger happy policemen could not contain themselves against the pressure from the campus students. The statements given by students who witnessed the shooting also collaborate the fact that the police were but too incensed by the students’ protests thus chose shoot live bullets at the crowd.
The political cartoons could not have enough of the situation mainly because it was the first time that something as horrifying as this was taking place in America. They pocked fun at the invasion of foreign lands policy imposed by the USA. They were trying to tell the shooting tragedy in the form of a comical strip and the results were hilarious. As much as people were condemning the sad incidence, the cartoon drawers were busy penning caricatures that made fun at the police who had shot the students also at how America would lose in the war.
None of the sources of information was convincing enough to make it look like it was the actions of the students that pushed the Special Forces to shoot at them. It may be because of the feeling of pity that one feels for students for what befell them or the lack of responsibility on the part of the National Guard. It was an unfortunate occurrence that led to nationwide mourning and the loss of confidence on the part of the National Guard by the entire public. The incidence also led to more and more people condemning the invasion of America into Cambodia. The public opinion is shaped by largely the story on the cover page of a newspaper that contains information. The issue at hand could be made or broken in an instance, by the way the media chooses to report it. If a particular story is chosen to run as a headline and it also contains some photos as evidence, then the news item becomes credit worthy in the eyes of the public. Sometimes allegations can be made on a subject, and the case is thrown out due to lack of competent witnesses.
This is an example of a case that shows that the media has the responsibility to cover events and bring to light any photos or other media collected that could bring the culprits to justice. For this case, the photos, especially the one showing a weeping runaway teenager crying over the body of a fallen student, brought the nation to a standstill.