Special Collections and Archives

Beth Petrequin, Commentary

Special Collections and Archives

Beth Petrequin, Commentary

Beth Petrequin, Commentary

Submitted via email, May 1, 2000


It was a very difficult time in our nation's history and tensions were extremely high. It is evident in the other oral histories I have read. The thing I remember about the shootings was the shock at "guns" on the campus at a time when free thought and expression were being born. So many people were trying their wings at saying what they really thought without consequence. The pendulum had swung too far, however, because people were getting hurt by the verbal abuse. What had typically been a nonphysical form of protest became quite frightening for the residents of Kent and the surrounding communities. Words were converted into actions that were perceived to be threatening, burning tires, rowdy students, and some people were spreading rumors and/or truths about looting of stores in the small town. A town which had seen riots in some of the major cities around the country the year before. So the townspeople were afraid, the students were scared and this translated into fear for the National Guardsmen who appeared on the scene, many the same age as the students and truly many of them in the National Guard because they did not want to go to Vietnam to shoot people. It all added up to a lot of fear...