>New analysis of an audio tape recording, of events at Kent State 40 years ago, reveals what seems to be a command to fire. New technology has revealed a voice crying “Guard!” and shortly after that “All right, prepare to fire.”
An article by John Mangels in the Cleveland Plain Dealer includes this:
Most of the senior Ohio National Guard officers directly in charge of the troops who fired on May 4, 1970 have since died. Ronald Snyder, a former Guard captain who led a unit that was at the Kent State protest but was not involved in the shootings, said Friday that the prepare-to-fire phrasing on the tape does not seem consistent with how military orders are given. “I do know commands,” Snyder said. “You would never see anything in training that would say ‘Guard, do this.’ It would be like saying, ‘Army, do this.’ It doesn’t make sense.”
Which lead me to wonder — is it possible the order did not come from a guard member, but from somebody else nearby, having a bit of “fun”? That, in their fear and confusion, the guard members mistook that voice for one of their own and fired? They all claimed to have acted spontaneously, which may well be a lie, but this theory wouldn’t change their motives for perjuring themselves. All pure speculation on my part. I freely admit I know absolutely nothing about Guard procedure. Mr. Snyder claims he does, however.
Digby posts the news together with pertinent quotes from Rick Perlstein’s book Nixonland, and remarks how one forgets that America’s meanness is nothing new. After having read what people were quoted as saying right after the shootings (“The score is four / And next time more”, “If they didn’t do what the Guards told them, they should have been mowed down.”) it really wouldn’t surprise me if there had been a few infiltrators egging the guard on to do some damage. Much like those sports fans yelling “Tase him!”
All this has started “Sympathy For The Devil” running through my head now.