The Day the 60’s Died … in a Gallop poll taken after the Kent State murders in 1970, 58% of the country believed the students were at fault. Just 11% blamed the National Guard. One woman interviewed on camera stated, “They were warned and I'm sorry they didn't kill more.”
It had to do with the anti-Vietnam war sentiment that snowballed after President Nixon announced we were involved in Cambodia as well as Vietnam. It was an illegal war launched against a neutral country under the guise of protecting American troops. The North Vietnamese were using so-called sanctuaries along the Cambodian-South Vietnam border to attack American troops. The American response was an overkill that devastated an entire nation and left the grounds fertile for revolution--an offshoot of Mao’s Cultural Revolution that led to the Khmer Rouge and their killing fields. I covered that topic in a thesis paper for an International Law class at Brooklyn College. Much of my reference material came from the brilliant William Shawcross book called Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Cambodia. I also used several of Noam Chomsky’s books on American Imperialism throughout South America and Southeast Asia.
So what does all that have to do with the price of eggs, Knucks? What it has to do with is the idea so many have expressed of late regarding the officer in South Carolina who turned over a desk with a 16-year old girl in it, then threw her the length of the floor into a wall. She refused to put her cell phone away. The students at Kent State refused to disperse. Eric Garner dared to argue with the police about to arrest him for selling “loosies” (cigarettes). Sandra Bland refused to put out her cigarette, etc. The list goes on.
Rather than an “attack” against the police, what so many on the right prefer to label any attempt to hold accountable those wearing badges who act outside the law, it is a question I wonder about of late. Have we returned to a 1970 mentality, wherein anti-war demonstrators were often met with violence at the hands of both the police and some of the public? Are we returning to a society that demands we love it or leave it? Are we swallowing a police state mentality? Are we supposed to accept our death as a legitimate response from those wearing badges and/or uniforms when their demands aren’t met? And how fast does our acquiescence have to come before it’s deemed taking too long and bullets fly without accountability?
In 1970, the American mindset was clearly split. Those on the left protested to end a pointless and illegal war. There was a draft at the time and people had a bigger investment at stake—their lives. Those on the right saw those protests as disrespect toward their country. Anyone remember the 1970 movie, Joe? It was tough to watch, yet brilliant.
Today there are many who feel the 16-year-old girl in South Carolina who refused to turn off her cell phone “got what she deserved.” She’d refused several requests to turn off the phone and/or leave the classroom. She was at fault, no one doubts that. But after a resource policeman respectfully asked her to leave and she refused a number of times, he turned her desk over, then lifted and hurled her the length of the floor into a wall. And then he arrested her. Someone in the classroom filmed the incident and the policeman was suspended, then fired. Most people agree it was in indefensible reaction. The kid may have been 100% wrong in her refusal to obey authority, but the policeman’s response was overkill. And some believe that such disrespect for authority demands a reaction, no matter how excessive. It is a “don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” attitude that somehow conflates a refusal to turn off a cell phone and/or a refusal to put out a cigarette with a criminal act, except the reaction often suggests it is a violent criminal act deserving of the most severe reaction.
Watch the Kent State documentary and decide for yourself.
And/or watch this one about the illegal bombing of Cambodia.
The result of our bombing a neutral nation state (Cambodia) permitted the rise of the Khmer Rouge (the “killing fields” Khmer Rouge) … sound familiar? Think the Iraq war and ISIS …
If you still feel the cop in the video did nothing wrong, and/or if you side with the National Guard who shot four students at Kent State, then why not just mow them down with machine gun fire the next time? Remember the civil rights protests and/or riots of the late 1960’s? Remember those from the last few years? Should the authorities start mowing down all those who break the rules? Should the Air Force have strafed those who participated in the Occupy Wall Street movement?
If I’m not mistaken, this country was formed after illegally taking it from the indigenous population that was doing fine and dandy on their own. Our forefathers (and I hate using that term) broke all the rules and revolted violently for the sake of their independence.
And the FACT of the matter is that without cell phone videos, none of these acts of excessive violence by the police would even be an issue.
Doing the right thing by American Vets … Mike Callahan up in Rochester, New York, is giving more than the political lip service we so often hear from politicians on both sides of the aisle. While John McCain and Bernie Sanders actually try to legislate improvements to how American veterans are treated, Mike Callahan is offering them jobs. From his Facebook page: Please let Veterans know we are hiring as well as anyone else that may be interested in plowing this winter.
Mike owns and runs Callahan’s Lawn Care and Property Management, Inc. up in Rochester, New York. He also writes for the industry periodical, Lawn & Landscape Magazine. So, any Vets looking for work in the Rochester area, Mike Callahan is doing the right thing by you. Go Mike!
SNHU MFA news … Merle Drown’s wonderful novel, Lighting the World, has a book trailer put up by his publisher. Take a look see below. It’s a wonderful book we reviewed here back in March. Click on the link for the review.
*STARRED* REVIEWS ABOUND …
Diane Les Becquets’ new novel, Breaking Wild, received a *STARRED* Kirkus review and is now available. Read the review here.
“A transcendent, breathless exploration of the darkest depths of loneliness and the unbreakable human spirit.” –Kirkus Reviews
Pratima Cranse has nailed two STARRED reviews, one from Kirkus and the other from Publishers Weekly … "Easygoing Vermonter Andrew discovers the complexities of spirituality and sexuality in this heartfelt debut. . . Moments of wry humor compliment Andrew's subtle changes as he realizes there are no easy answers, perhaps not even one right answer. Readers will cheer him on as he makes a path to find his answers. A stellar voice to watch." —Kirkus, starred review
“Cranse’s compassionate debut astutely conveys the joys, heartaches, and angst of coming-of-age.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
Get it here.
Not only great reviews, but a second printing has been called for with Richard Adams Carey's incredible telling of the violence inflicted on a small town in New Hampshire back in August of 1997.
Second Printing! GREAT news, amici, for a GREAT writer, teacher and person.
Read our review of In The Evil Day here.
Get the book here.
AJ+ does it again …