Four Dead in Ohio–A Letter to Obama



Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,

We’re finally on our own.

This summer I hear the drumming.

Four dead in Ohio.

(Lyrics by Neil Young)


Today is the anniversary of Kent State.  Because of that, Mendocino resident, Laurel Krause, wrote a letter to President Obama asking him to help her family understand the truth of what happened to her sister and three other young students who were killed there.  I’m reprinting it here.

Dear President Obama,

Last week my mother Doris Krause urged me to write a personal letter to help you understand the May 4th Kent State Massacre from a mother’s perspective, one parent to another. Voicing my reluctance to write again, I said, “I’ve written to President Obama more times than I can count.”

But Mom insisted, “Laurie, I want you to write about our family and how we’re similar to President Obama’s family. Let him know what happened when Allison went to college at Kent State, how she was shot dead protesting the Vietnam War by the National Guard on her campus. How afterwards your dad fought for the rest of his days, for Allison’s death to ‘not be in vain’ and how, even today, we have lost every Kent State battle for truth about Allison’s death.”

My 86 year-old mother, Doris Krause, was born and raised in Lorain, Ohio, growing up during the depression. When she was 20 years old, she married my dad Arthur just as he returned from service in WWII. Art and Doris Krause had two daughters, Allison and me.

In September of 1969, my big sister Allison went away to college. Allison was a smart, beautiful, loving, funny freshman enrolled in the Kent State University Honors College. She was deeply in love with her boyfriend Barry and was popular on campus. Allison had a special quality nearly impossible to describe, a compassionate, gorgeous, full-of-life young woman who seemed to have it all.

On April 23, 1970, our family celebrated Allison’s 19th birthday together in Kent, Ohio, going out for dinner. It was the last time any of us saw Allison alive.

Ten days later, our family life and world were torn apart forever. We heard about trouble at Kent State, then that Allison had been hurt. Frantically we searched for information on Allison but all the Kent phone lines were cut. Hours later we heard that Allison was dead on arrival at the hospital, killed by National Guard bullets. 

Mr. President, there were no officials from Allison’s school, the state of Ohio or the National Guard to help us at the hospital when we identified Allison’s body on May 4th. Instead, at the hospital where her body lay still, we heard men with guns mutter to us, “they should have shot more.”

The 10 years following Allison’s murder were filled with lawsuits from the lowest courts in Ohio to the U.S. Supreme Court. I was going to college yet remember the government’s staunch resistance to our lawsuits and the utter unwillingness to share evidence or any reports on what happened to Allison in the May 4th Kent State Massacre. In 1979, the court cases ended with a settlement based on civil rights.

During my family’s pursuit of justice for Allison we were constantly hounded by the FBI. Our phones were tapped, threats were made to my father, agents took pictures of us where ever we went. This harassment finally culminated in my father being offered a bribe. In the presence of author Peter Davies, my father was told to name his price for dropping his case, “One million, two million?” It was made clear that the bribe was coming through the Ford Foundation, and if he refused it, his job at Westinghouse and our family’s freedom would be in serious jeopardy. My father was furious and obviously turned this down in no uncertain terms, but the threats had a chilling effect on us. Every facet of our lives was ripped apart by Allison’s death and the endless harassment by our government.

Since May 4, 1970, the U.S. government has never allowed the Krause family to know the facts or see the evidence related to Allison’s murder on her Kent State campus.  The truth at Kent State remained buried until recently in the examination of the Kent State Tape.

The Krause family rejects Attorney General Holder’s refusal to open a proper, impartial, independent investigation into the Murders at Kent State. We agree with Congressman Kucinich on Kent State, demanding the 2012 Department of Justice disclose their full report leading to their decision to close the books on Kent State again.

Two years ago, I began phoning the Justice Department about the new evidence found at Kent State, as the statute of limitations never lapsed on Allison’s murder. Mr. President, AG Holder’s Department of Justice refused my calls and kept sending me to the civil rights division even though Allison died at Kent State.

Last week’s Department of Justice letters on Kent State do not mention the loss of life on that campus, continuing this government ploy to deflect murder by pointing to loss of civil rights. A violation of Allison’s civil rights turned into homicide when they fired the bullets that took her away from us.

On May 4, 1970, just after noon as students were changing classes and a protest was called, the National Guard shot live ammunition at Kent State students. Our Allison was more than a football field away at 343 feet from the guardsmen that shot her to death. Since then, we have never learned what Allison did wrong to meet such a tragic, violent end. Our original call for ‘Allison’s death to not be in vain’ has been scrubbed from the history of the May 4th Kent State Massacre.

Coming back to what Mom asked me write to you, President Obama, she shared how, “The First Family is almost identical to the Krause family.” If this happened to your family President Obama, how do you think you’d survive this onslaught?

Last week Alison would have celebrated her 61st birthday. With the 42nd anniversary of Kent State approaching on May 4th, we continue to stand for Truth and Justice for Allison. We hope no more American families will bury their young as we did after Allison’s unnecessary and unwarranted death, with zero accountability by the May 4th Kent State Massacre perpetrators. 

Please do not allow another Kent State anniversary to pass without truth and justice for Allison Krause and her fellow murdered classmates Jeffrey Miller, Sandy Scheuer and William Schroeder.

No More Kent States,

Laurel Krause
Kent State Truth Tribunal


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