Submitted via email, October 28, 2000
As I was only 10 years old at the time and had no political interest at the time the most impressive thing to me was from the news. My parents watched the news religiously every day. I hated it but we only had one tv and not much reason to leave the room when the news was on. I noticed what to me appeared to be U.S. military firing on young people who didn't seem much older than myself.
I asked my parents "Why?" and the only response I got was "they were speaking their mind." Perhaps they were too stunned to go into it any deeper, I don't know. All I know is that I was totally frustrated by this. I became more determined than ever after that day to let no one ever tell me to 'shut up'.
The freedom of speech became the only thing I knew of the constitution. I knew from this that our government can't be trusted. I had already been influenced to non-violence by watching the 'flower children' putting flowers in the guns of government officers and was strongly reinforced in my decision, by the 'Kent State affair'. They were my hero's. To me these were the strongest and bravest people in the world, that they were willing to die for their beliefs without any hope of defending themselves. I always wanted to be like them, strong in my beliefs and willing to die for what I felt was important.
Since reaching adulthood, I have learned to fight injustices with the laws and the constitution; but I still own no gun. I cringe when my young son pretends that he has one (his father and I both refuse to give in to his owning even a toy gun). I still abhor violence and relate better to animals than to humans. At least with animals you can usually understand what to expect from them. My distrust of the government has been reinforced greatly over the years too. I feel the statue of liberty should have remained the tarnished old relic it was , instead of the dolled up **ore she is today.
Just my memories and how it has affected my life growing up. (Now age 40)