History Doesn’t Repeat, It Weeps

Right-wing House Speaker Mike Johnson demands that Columbia University President Minouche Shafik sic the National Guard against peaceful antiwar protesters. That’s always worked out so well in the past…

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  • alex_the_tired
    May 10, 2024 7:01 AM

    Actually, it did work out well at Kent State. For the people who did the killing. No one was found guilty of anything.

    The civil cases went through the usual rigamarole of plea, appeal, etc., until it was all settled for a payout of $675,000 (about $5 million in today’s money) — chump change. The attorney, Joseph Kelner, was not pleased. “He had sought some $46 million in damages on behalf of students wounded and slain by the gunfire at the campus protest, according to an article by the Associated Press about the 1975 acquittals that is archived on Google.”

    Further, “In a 1980 book which he co-authored, The Kent State Coverup, the attorney contended that ‘one governmental agency after another had managed to suppress evidence and shield those responsible for the shootings in a monumental cover-up.’ And, he added, ‘The same process continued in the Cleveland courtroom.’ ”

    And as everyone’s replacement for journalism (Wikipedia) tells us about Kent State, “In the years that followed, U.S. military and National Guard personnel began using less lethal means to disperse demonstrators (such as rubber bullets) and changed its crowd control and riot tactics to attempt to avoid casualties.” What it leaves out because, hey, editors aren’t necessary, is that getting shot in the face with a rubber bullet can sometimes be lethal and can sometimes completely end the life the protester was able to live. So, mumbo-jumbo, it’s “less lethal.” Big deal. A physically deformed protester’s even better than a dead one for deterring others.

    All in all? I think that what the admin at Columbia understood going into this was that, yes indeedy, sending the cops in to rough-house the students was a perfectly safe tactic. No one who did the roughing up will pay in any significant way. Minouche Shafik has a string of highest-level credentials: director of the London School of Economics and Political Science., vice president of the World Bank, deputy governor of the Bank of England, and so on. On the BIG assumption that she loses her gig at Columbia (I doubt it), so what? She will have little trouble getting another job, and it won’t be night manager at Denny’s.

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