The Kent State Truth Tribunal–Flowers are Better Than Bullets
“Flowers are better than bullets.”
Kent State 1970
…[O]ne particular guardsmen caught our eye. He stood quietly alone, a lilac in his gun barrel. Taking me by the arm, Allison walked over to him. His name was Meyers, and unlike many of the soldiers we had met that day, Meyers wore a pleasant smile, and when he spoke, he did so with a gentle compassion. He said he did not want to be guarding the campus, but when asked why he didn’t leave, he looked at the ground and shyly said he couldn’t.
Disturbed at the pleasant rapport one of his men was enjoying with us, an officer slowly strolled over and placed his arm around Meyers’ shoulder. As we watched…, Meyers’ face tightened up, his back straightened and his smile completely disappeared. The officer, yelling in Meyers’ ear, ordered him to identify himself and his division. Meyers did so, and as we watched the fear swell in the young Guardsmen’s eyes, the officer began
O: Doesn't your division have target practice next week, Meyers? M: Yes, sir O: Are you going there with that silly flower? M: No, sir O: Then what is it doing in your rifle barrel? M: It was a gift, sir O: Do you always accept gifts Meyers? M: No, sir O:Then why did you accept this one? No answer O: (Holding out his hand) What are you going to do with it Meyers? Meyers feebly began to remove the lilac O: That's better Meyers. Now straighten up and start acting like a soldier and forget all this peace stuff.
Realizing the officer would merely throw the lilac away, Allison grabbed it from his hand … . As the officer walked away, Allison called after him ‘What’s the matter with peace? Flowers are better than bullets!’
The next day, she returned to protest.
She was killed by National Guardsmen along with 3 other students.
Michael Moore’s site is running live webcasts for the next 4 days with testimony from witnesses, victim’s families, participants in the Kent State protests. This Kent State Tribunal is formed to seek not punitive justice but “the restorative justice that comes from collective sharing and healing.”
Show your support for this peaceful attempt by donating at the link above or by becoming a fan on Facebook. They have interviews with witnesses and victims recorded today and more will be coming over the next few days. They are calling it a live event with coverage on Moore’s site and Facebook running all day.
The Kent State Protest was response to America sending soldiers into Cambodia. See here for one veteran’s response to the protesters then and now.
Photos from Kent State Tribunal Facebook site (there are many more excellent images.)