Tuesday, June 17, 2008

RIP: Robert Stamps

A survivor of the Kent State Massacre. From the Columbus Dispatch.
AKRON -- Robert Stamps, one of nine Kent State students wounded in the Ohio National Guard shootings that killed four other students 38 years ago, died in Tallahassee, Fla., of complications from pneumonia, his wife said.

Stamps, an observer who was sympathetic with anti-war demonstrators, was struck in the lower back on May 4, 1970, while fleeing tear gas and gunfire during a protest against the U.S. invasion of Cambodia. He rode in the same ambulance as Allison Krause and Jeffrey Miller, both of whom died of their wounds.


And of course we have the obligatory musical tie-in.



How can you run when you know?

Indeed.

10 comments:

steve simels said...

I actually think that's their best record.'

More to the point, can you imagine any comparably big contemporary pop star rushing out an angry topical song in response to something the government is doing today?

Seriously -- that song was on the radio within like ten days of Kent State.

thomas said...

Thanks-
Willie Nelson had and anti-bush war song out quickly, as did Neil Young.

Anonymous said...

steve simels said...

More to the point, can you imagine any comparably big contemporary pop star rushing out an angry topical song in response to something the government is doing today?


Well, Springsteen, of course (not sure if he counts as contemporary or not, though). Maybe Kanye West, too.

steve simels said...

NEil Young doesn't really count, as he is obviously part of CSNY.

As for Springsteen, if you're referring to that song about Amadou Diallou -- it wasn't actually released at the time. He played it live and it was controversial but it wasn't on the radio.

Anyway, none of those other songs were top ten hits. "Ohio" really had an impact...you just know somebody had told Nixon there was a song on the radio that opened "Tin soldiers and Nixon coming..."

Bet it stuck in his craw bigtime...
:-)

TMink said...

A friend of mine, Bill Price, was there but not wounded. He was at the protest, and did see people falling, shot on American soil by American National Guardsmen. It haunted him his whole life.

Rest in peace.

Trey

peter spencer said...

Was Stamps the one who ended up in a wheelchair? The obit says he was bedridden for his last years, from lime disease caught at a commemorative event. Sounds like he had a tough life.

I'm from Erie, PA, not too far from Kent, and, at the risk of sounding contrary, I've always felt sympathy for the Guardsmen. They were just a bunch of poorly trained, poorly led farm boys and I'll bet most of them felt pretty bad about the whole thing afterwards. It's also worth mentioning that for the previous two days a couple of thousand hippies (not all of them KS students) had burned and looted downtown Kent, injuring quite a few Gaurdsmen in the process. You can see how in a confused scene it would be hard to tell what was going to happen next and what to do. The captain in charge was only in his early twenties himself. The people to hold accountable, it seems to me, are the people that got us into Vietnam in the first place: John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

Brooklyn Girl said...

The people to hold accountable, it seems to me, are the people that got us into Vietnam in the first place: John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson.

I'm not going to blame them for something that happened long after one of them was killed and the other one had left office ...

And by 1970 there was a lot more being protested than just the war, even though that was the most important issue. It was a period of intense social upheaval, and Nixon handled it in the worst way possible ... he took hostile, aggressive action against his own people (remember his enemies list?). Yes, the Guardsmen should have been better trained, but whose fault was it that they weren't?

steve simels said...

Actually, it's been documented that Nixon was on the phone with the governor of Ohio the morning of the shooting. No record of the conversation, of course.

Draw your own conclusions, but I personally believe Nixon told him to tell the Guard to open fire. Bastard knew it would pretty much put an end to the anti-war movement, and it pretty much did.

MJConroy said...

I lived in Cleveland at the time, so I still remember seeing it on the LOCAL news that day.

Some years later, I lived a couple of doors down from the sister of Governor Rhodes - the guy who was on the phone with Nixon. I trusted him less than Tricky Dick, so Steve, if it was intentional I think the buck stops there.

Regardless -- Neil Young would go in my personal hall of fame for that song alone !

Anonymous said...

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