This year on May Fourth, it will be fifty four years ago that National Guard troops opened fire on unarmed anti war protesters at Kent State, killing four people and wounding nine. While many people will celebrate “May the Fourth be with you.” Day, this has been a day that for many years I have held as a Day of Remembrance for all the victims of the State from the beginning of this country. This clock I start from March Fifth, Seventeen Seventy at the Old State House in Boston when Crispus Attucks fell.

*Cue up Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” now*

Today across the country, there is a rising tide of dissatisfaction with the Status Quo and the answers that today’s youth that are being fed to them by the people that created the problems in the first place. There are many people fighting to be able to control who gets to say what and criticize who on campuses and how the respective school administrations handle that is on them but let’s also remember what happens when the State (at any level) decides what speech is disfavored. 

The State only has one tool at its disposal, and that is Force. When it comes to the State’s Disfavor, every Citizen turns into a nail. You don’t have to respect someone’s viewpoint but you have to respect (and defend) their ability to express it. In the big picture, the only “disinfectant” for distasteful views is sunshine and exposure. Hate and ignorance driven into dark reaffirming corners just lets them fester and grow.

The lesson that Society has not learned yet in trying to use the State to control anything was explained to us by Stanley Milgram and even then, most people don’t understand the true implications of that lesson. It’s not that two out of three Citizens WILL kill you if the “Boss” says it’s OK, it’s that each and every one of us is two thirds the way there to doing so ourselves. So every year on May Fourth, not only do I try and remember and honor the very long list of the Victims of the State, I also try and rededicate myself to remembering the real meaning of the phrase “Rule of Law”.

It’s not there to protect me from you, it’s there to protect you from me.

This Saturday, I hope you will join me wherever you are at 12:24 PM for a moment of remembrance and respect for the victims of that day and all of the others before and since.

Thirteen seconds. Sixty seven rounds fired. Four dead, nine wounded.

May we never forget. 



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