About the Akron Beacon Journal’s 1970 Pulitzer Prize:
Only 20 days after the Kent State massacre, the Akron Beacon Journal published a journalistic sham of an “investigation” in a special report. Our local newspaper announced to the world a long-lasting, damaging falsehood by denying the Ohio National Guard shooters were issued a verbal command to “fire” upon unarmed KSU students during an anti-war demonstration only a few miles away from ABJ headquarters.
On May 24, 1970, our local newspaper set in stone the very foundation of the cover-up of murder at Kent State University — and was then awarded the Pulitzer Prize for journalism in 1970 which was an undeserved award and should be rescinded.
The ABJ ignored local evidence and eyewitness statements reported elsewhere, including:
“…Rick Levinger, a freshman from New York City, said he was to the rear of the firing guardsmen. He said he saw ’20 to 30 guardsmen walking away from the students, then suddenly turn around at them and open up’. Levinger insisted he heard one officer issue an order to fire. ‘I saw those guys turn and get on their knees after I heard the officer order them to fire’.”–Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper article: “Troops Lost All Their Cool”, by Joseph Eszterhas, May 5, 1970.
“’So when the Guard retreated, I followed them and found a position near the pagoda. I was the closest person to the Guard and I heard an officer give the order, ‘Turn around and fire three rounds’. He yelled so loud I could hear it very plainly’…’The story has never appeared in any public record. Could it be that the investigators haven’t wanted to believe that an order was given?’”–KSU electrician Jack Albrecht
And Ohio National Guardsmen themselves on the scene at the massacre:
At one point, Sergeant Pryor said, ‘If they rush us, shoot them’.–Ohio National Guard SP4 James E. Pierce, Troop G, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“…a few seconds prior to the firing by the National Guard troops he thought he heard a command to fire. He stated that this order may have been, in fact, part of a longer order which was muffled by the roar of the crowd.” –Major ___, S-3, C Company, 145th Infantry Regiment, Ohio National Guard, interview statement, May 10, 1970.
“Most people can remember where they were on Sept. 11, and some can remember where they were when President John F. Kennedy was shot. But others will never forget what they were doing Monday, May 4, 1970. For Matthew McManus, a member of the National Guard, it’s a day he will never forget. He said it is a painful subject. ‘It was a military operation, and we were following orders,’ he said.” –article: “Many Remember May 4 in Different Ways”, by Nancy Hopkins, Daily Kent Stater newspaper online, May 4, 2005.
“My unit for the most part refrained from firing. However several heard one of the commanders of the flank unit yell “Fire” and thought this meant them.” –Lieutenant Howard Fallon, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“Q) Did you hear a command or an order to fire?
- A) I thought I did. I can’t say where from…
- Q) Were you provoked into firing?
- A) No.
- Q) Why did you fire?
- A) …Something had to be done…I also thought I heard the word ‘fire’ and I did hear the others fire.”
–Sgt. Robert D. James, Ohio National Guard, statement to Ohio Highway Patrol, June 9, 1970.
“On 4 May 1970, while participating with my Company (A Company) in the mission…on the campus of Kent State University. I thought I heard the command to ‘Fire’…The firing had started on my left flank.” –Sgt. Roger A. Maas, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“While participating with my unit…I heard the order to fire…Before I fired after the order to fire was given, firing started on my right… –SP4 James W. Farriss, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“…I heard firing on our right. I heard the order to fire…Approximately 1000 students were participating at the time of firing.” –SP4 Robert D. James, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“While acting with my unit I fired 2 rounds of 30 cal M1 over the crowd in warning after a number of men fired and I hear the command to fire. I do not know who gave command.” –PFC Richard R. Shade, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“We were retreating between Taylor and Johnson Hall. At this point, an order was given to make an about-face and address the crowd. A command was given to use bayonets and rifle stocks upon contact. The crowd was too far away for this to be considered…At this point, the order to fire was given ‘Fire – above their heads.’ At this time I expended 1 round-up into the air…students were on the ground (one had blood on his jacket); one was being carried away… –Sgt. Lloyd W. Thomas, Troop G, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“We began to move rapidly back the way
“We began to move rapidly back the way we had come…the crowd starting towards us…We tried to stop them by kneeling on line and pretending to be ready to fire…At this time I heard a ‘command’ to ‘fire if they continue towards you’…I heard someone yell ‘fire over their heads’. At this point I heard rifle fire…there was a lot of firing going on…I noticed several people laying on the ground.” –Sgt. Dale Sholl, Troop G, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“On 4 May 70, 1215 hours, as Commanding Officer of Company A with approximately 30 troops were participating in an action to clear the campus of dissidents, when what appeared to sound like gunshots…Fourteen members of my unit, thinking that command to fire had been given, fired several shots…I ordered them to cease fire….”–Captain John E. Martin, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“…small arms fire broke out on our flank…The flank unit of which the majority were G Troop…took up kneeling positions and returned fire at onrushing students. The members of our unit, for the most part, refrained from firing. However, several heard one of the commanders of the flank unit [Troop G] yell ‘fire’…” –Lieutenant Dwight G. Cline, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“…My unit for the most part refrained from firing. However, several heard one of the Commanders of the flank unit [Troop G] yell ‘fire’ and thought this meant them.” –Lieutenant Howard R. Fallon, Company A, Ohio National Guard, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“When the firing happened, I felt I did not panic, held my ground, and obeyed my orders…I don’t feel they were people but ‘savage animals’.” –Sergeant James Pierce, Ohio National Guard, Troop G, handwritten statement, May 4, 1970.
“I thought I heard someone say, ‘Turn around and stand your ground’. At that point, everybody turned around…” –Ohio National Guard SP4 Lloyd Thomas, Jr, Troop G, Federal Kent State lawsuit trial testimony, 1970.