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Scott Lax Blog

Kent State: May 4, 1970 Remembered

Today is the 40th anniversary of the massacre of four students and the wounding of many others on the campus of Kent State University.

While members of the National Guard pulled the triggers, it was the toxic atmosphere in the country during the Vietnam War, and in particular, of particular government leaders in Ohio and Washington that provided the cause (the illegal invasion of Cambodia) and the match that lit the fuse (a hostile and confrontational approach to protest) that sent those bullets flying.

Concerning the National Guard, as with the War in Vietnam service people, I have always respected the fighting men and women of America who went there -- and stayed here -- and fought for what most of them thought to be a just cause. And I have mourned for their deaths and woundings; for those of the students at Kent that day; for the innocent civilians that were destroyed in Southeast Asia as a result of this horrible war.

So I wrote about it in a stay-at-home war novel, which begins three months after Kent State, called THE YEAR THAT TREMBLED. The Tyler Davidson and I produced the feature film of the same name (and which begins just before the events of May 4, 1970), which was written and directed by Jay Craven. Then I adapted my novel for a play that was staged at University School in October 2003.

Should you have interest in this event, and what it did to the psyche of America, certainly I hope you check out my novel and the movie. (Both are available on the Home Page, with links that take you to where you can buy or rent them.) But you can research this event yourselves, as well. You can draw your own conclusions.

My continued sympathies to the real victims of this tragedy and their families: Jeffrey Glenn Miller, 20 years old; Allison B. Krause; 19 years old; William Knox Schroeder, 19, years old; and Sandra Lee Scheuer, 20 years old. My sympathies, too, to the National Guardsmen who have had to live with this - it wasn't their choice - and to more than 58,000 American service people killed and hundreds of thousands wounded; the millions of Southeast Asians killed; and to all those who suffered, some who continue to suffer to this day.

I hope we can make something of this. As the character, Casey, at the end of the my book, movie and play says, "I'm trying. I'm writing."

I happen to agree with Casey. In our modern world, it's easy to forget. The job of writers is to let us not forget. Read More 
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