Anonymous Male -- Tape 6:A:1
Transcribed for WWW by Lisa Whalen
May 6, 1997
Hello, I'm anonymous, and the date is April 29th, 1990. I'm here to talk about May 4th, 1970. I was a sophomore in high school in Portage Lakes at the time. I was hitch hiking from Portage Lakes to Chapel Hill, to visit a friend. At Burton road in Tallmadge, I had been picked up by this guy in a pick-up truck who explained to me that, if I was trying to go to Kent that, unless I was a resident, I would have a hard time getting in. I at first didn't understand, and when he had explained to me about the students at Kent being shot, I had the thought of -- well, that that's what they had deserved. But the more that I had heard about it later on, the more I felt ashamed for that thought. I myself, at the time, was against the war. But being kind of isolated as I was, I wasn't sure exactly which side was which side, so to speak. A friend of mine, his brother was in the military, and he'd come home one time, and we had a pretty good party. And at the same time, I didn't realize, you know, exactly what was going on. As far as peoples ideas of the war, I didn't realize a lot, that the older people did not necessarily care for the ideas of the younger people. I just assumed -- myself, I was having problems at home, but I just assumed it was just part of growing up.
Later on, I -- after I was married, I worked at a hospital, and met someone there who lived here in Kent. I had had bad attitudes towards authority, I mean, I, at the same time, still had resentment towards police, towards National Guard, of course. And I saw and still see a lot of the people who were involved with things like the Democratic National Convention in '68, and a lot of the demonstrations as being heroes. My friend brought me to Kent, and kind of showed me, gave me a tour of where things had happened, and talked to me about them. It was an interesting interview with him, because I was able to ask him different things. And he showed me the parking lot where the students were found, and where the National Guards had fired from. It was kind of a sad memorial for me then, it wasn't anywhere near May 4th, but I kind of felt honored, that he was bringing me here. And at the same time I began to realize that the residents of Kent really didn't seem to have much -- good ideas towards the people that would have been involved with that. And there again, I was surprised that the -- I couldn't understand , totally, what had happened.
It was just a couple of years ago that I had found out about the riots that were downtown. I had no pain of heart when I heard about the ROTC building. I didn't realize that it was all wood, I still had, in my mind that every building that was for this type of situation was brick. (Laughs) How would they -- how would they be able to tear down a brick building, you know? Like I say, they were heroes to me. I laugh about it because, I guess, it's insane at times that I -- I wish that I was there.
I don't know. I kind of feel a regret and guilt that I was not old enough to be involved with that. I know when I find out that certain people were in certain situations, I think, "Wow! There was always something about the guy that I respected." An example being Scott Simon, on the weekend edition, on WKSU, the --
[Interviewer] The National Public Radio Station?
Yeah, NPR. I mean, whenever I found out that he was in Washington, I thought, "Wow, no wonder I had so much respect for the guy!" That -- that would have been something to have experienced. I mean, to be able to -- to have had the emotion, and the -- in a situation like that, being the person that I am, I keep things to myself. I mean, whenever someone's coming at you, you have to let your emotions out. And that would have been an interesting situation, to have been able to experience what these other kids had experienced. What they were experiencing was -- I didn't even have, what I thought would be the priviledge, or honor, to be able to go to Canada. You know, I had my route mapped out.
[Interviewer] Because the draft was cancelled?
The draft was cancelled, yeah. Myself, I was never in the military. I don't regret that. I have to laugh about it, one time, wanting to join the military, they wouldn't accept me. It was not for my military service, it was for other reasons.
I -- I -- even now, I'm not able to sit down and read things about -- about the actual situations here at Kent. I become rather emotional. My nephew goes to school here now. He brought home a paper that was published about the events and the situations here at Kent. And just to sit down at my sister's house, and to read through it, I wasn't able to do it. I took it home and even still, I had to read parts of it at a time. Just get up, and walk away from it, because of it stirring up emotion in me. I --I don't know if it's sympathy only, or if it's anger that -- that the people were put into situations like that. Not only the students, but the National Guard. I mean, I'm sure that a lot of them, if not some of them, had such a tearing inside of them whenever they were told that they had to shoot. I'm sure that this is something that they were -- because of them being in the situations that they were in, that they were given orders, that this was something they had to do, because it was -- they were told, you know. If they could have just dropped their guns, and not shot at all, yet at the same time, it was something that they had to deal with, and that later on -- I'm sure even now, I'm sure a lot of them probably have problems with it. It isn't something that it -- that they had too much of a choice to do. It -- its -- at times, I hate even admitting that. Those little bastards. Why the hell couldn't they have dropped their guns?
I know that when Rhodes ran for governor last time, that had such a spark in me that I regretted very much that the Democrats were only offering us Celeste. But I had to vote for Celeste. I mean, it was -- I could not allow myself, even if the polls were showing me that Rhodes was going to be the winner, I had to vote against him. The spark of that in me, its just, "Oww, we can't allow him to be able to get in there." That -- that was it, I mean, I -- I wish now that I -- that I would have been able to have seen things a lot clearer politically. I'm hoping now, after looking at some of the things down on the second floor, that I'll be able to -- to keep my mind open, and eyes to where they can see. That I won't be kind of, stepping over myself, or slapping myself in the face, because I've done such-and-such politically. I regret even my political votings in the last fiteen years, looking back at them. But I'm looking forward to this week.
[Interviewer] Why? You're talking about the May 4th week, coming up?
The May 4th week coming up. I -- I'm wanting to allow myself to -- to be around, that way that, maybe it will help. And for myself to be able to see and sit down and read something about the incident, without -- without it being so- tearing. It isn't that I don't want to lose my frustration about it, but yet at the same time, I don't want -- I mean, I'm not able to sit down and even read what was in the paper today, without having to stop in the middle, and get up and go get coffee for a while, and go back and sit down and read it after the emotions cleared. I'm hoping that somehow, that I'm able to -- maybe this is ridiculous, and actually opposite of what I've just said, but I'm hoping that I'm able to not be so angry about it. That coming here, seeing the memorial, being involved with some of the things maybe happening, that that may help -- helping me to be more relaxed when I'm facing other -- the future May 4th's that are coming up. Just like, some of the things that I've read downstairs, like they said, it's something that we won't forget. And it will always be there, but at the same time, I think that I should be able to deal with it in a different way than what I do.
[Interviewer] Can you think of anything else you'd like to add?
I was hoping that you might have some questions.
[Interviewer] Well, you did say that you hadn't even been involved in the May 4th issue until very recently. Is there something that turned you around?
Something that has helped, I think, is that I'm more to myself now than I was. You know, I've always had thoughts, and like in the past, maybe, ten years or so, I thought, "May 4th is coming up. I'd like to go to campus and see what's going on." I'd never actually gotten myself to do it. Like within the last five years or so I've been divorced. I don't have as much, I guess you could say, responsibilities of you know, a wife and child to take care of. That's given me some freedom, and it's also helped in giving me time to be thinking of things, that I'm more -- like I say, again, more to myself, and I have more time to actually give thigs thought. And I do things rather slower than hving to have it done right now, or whatever. I'm just more relaxed. If that makes any sense.
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