Sunday, July 15, 2018

New Evidence in the Kent State shootings


A previously unpublished color photograph, taken seconds before Ohio
National Guardsmen killed four Kent State University students, has
just surfaced. And while it will not prompt anyone to rewrite the
history books, it does provide additional credence to those who suspect,
as a Justice Department summary of the FBI's investigation suggested
that the Guardsmen may have fabricated their story of self-defense.

The photograph was, taken by a then-Kent State junior, Larry Disbro, 
whowas one of the closest students to the Guardsmen as they 
ascendedthe hillside next to Taylor Hall. The photo confirms that no 
rocks were being thrown immediately before the Guard opened fire, 
as many soldiers testified under oath.

The photo was first published on a web site,,
supporting an Ohio history podcast by Alex Hostie, a Columbus 
attorney with a strong interest in Ohio history. For reasons that
remain unclear the photo has eluded the attention of investigators
for more than 48 years.

Disbro, a retired educational superintendent with the Mentor Public
Schools who was active with the KSU Alumni Association, 
apparently never tried to seek publication of his photographs. 
Disbro also provided me with his own account of what happened
on May 4, in which he stated he witnessed an officer with a riot
baton drop his arm before the troops turned in unison and fired
into the crowd.

Disbro's statement makes him the sixth witness to suggest the
shooting started after the late Major Harry Jones' movement of
the riot stick. Jones denied giving an order to fire at the 1975
wrongful death and injury trial. Jones denied giving an order and
testified that the only orders he gave the soldiers were to
"Hurry up" and "Stay in formation."

The baton, incidentally, was contraband National Guard
equipment loaned to him by a friend, Captain Ron Snyder,
a deputy with the Portage County sheriff's office, not only
lent Jones the baton, but a nontraceable .22 Beretta that
Snyder brought with him from his home.

The "Jones gave an order to fire" theory is just one of several
theories for the shootings. None have been conclusively

Saturday, July 14, 2018

The Kent State Shootings: Kent's May 4 Visitors Center


I was in Kent two weeks ago and had lunch with my old friend Dean Kahler. Dean was able to get me into the May 4 Visitors Center before its official opening tomorrow. 

I did not have any issue with the Center itself. I was disappointed that the university did not even acknowledge any of the controversies that made May 4 such a cause celebre, and by the way it treated the judicial aftermath almost as if the search for the truth and the struggle for justice were of little consequence. 

My feeling was that the Center at least provided a decent overview for new students and people who were not alive in 1970. It was exactly what you expect to emanate from a committee comprised of people with different points of view. There was nothing in the Center to offend anyone, and by the same token, it did not excite me. Maybe I have been writing about May 4, 1970 for too long.

What astonished me, though, was the Center's 43-page handout pamphlet  (This We Know).  I was so angry that I have not been able to write about it for two weeks. The book was written by Carole Barbato, Laura Davis, and Mark Seeman, three of the professors who made the Center possible. In telling the story of May 1-4, 1970, the pamphlet cited every other major account of the tragedy except mine. They did not cite any of the new evidence I uncovered, any of my arguments, and the professors did not even include me in their "Recommended Reading."

This was no oversight. If anyone doubted my suspicions that Kent State scholars were trying to negate everything I did, this is the icing on the cake.

The irony, of course, is that I have been the only person who has examined all the new evidence. I have been galluping so far ahead of the Barbatos, Davises. Seemans, and Jerry Lewises that I do not think any scholar at Kent State will ever catch up with me.

I am sure the reason the do not want to encourage the reading of my book is because of my criticisms of Kent State schiolars, who, after 42 years, are still taking baby steps when it comes to May 4. I am sure my reporting on the dishonesty of Jerry Lewis' (their go-to expert) has not helped. And the radicals "positively hate" me, as one alumnus put it, because I argued the students who committed crimes on campus should have been prosecuted too. Laura Davis is one of the faculty members who supported the student violence, and if you are not an ideologue, you are not welcome at Kent State.

I do not think there will ever be really honest history emanating from Kent State. The university has hired crisis management experts to improve their reputation, and tightly control the local press. They want to make sure that anyone not promoting Kent State ever gets a chance to be heard.

Dean and I discussed this, and he made the remark that someone at the university is out to get me. I swear: it seems like every dunce at that university is in confederacy against me. Of course, that was Jonathan Swift's definition of a genius. I know that I am not a genius; just a B-plus student who is far more clever, resourceful, and much more of a real scholar than any of these people at Kent State.