Events of tragic violence occur with such commonness today that they are greeted most frequently either with a callous indifference or a generalized despair. Yet to thoughtful observers, there is an essential difference between those tragedies attributable to extremist and criminal factions, and those which result from overbearing acts of the agents of government themselves. Jackson State and Attica are only two of the most recent examples of events that test the strength of our modern commitment to the standards of government behavior our heritage had led us to expect. Even among the recent instances of tragic government violence, however, the sustained military rifle barrage against unarmed students scores of yards away, which took place at Kent State University on May 4, 1970, holds a singular place. Kent State has already become, and will long remain, a more poignant and significant recollection than any other single incident in our recent national life.
David E. Engdahl,
The Legal Background and Aftermath of the Kent State Tragedy,
22 Clev. St. L. Rev.
available at http://engagedscholarship.csuohio.edu/clevstlrev/vol22/iss1/5