Tuesday, September 07, 2021

55. Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf

A friend lent me this graphic novel (same person who lent me Trashed and possibly even the Dahmer one; an excellent resource).  I plowed through it overnight.  It is thoroughly researched and does an excellent job of capturing what life was like on campus and in the town of Kent in the days leading up to the murder of 4 students by the National Guard in 1970.  It's really infuriating to read. Both because of the ignorance and authoritarianism of the time but also to know that the same kinds of assholes still have power and voices in America today.

Emotions aside, a graphic novel was an excellent way to enrich and remind me of the details of what went down.  It also really captures the horror of what it must have like to first have your campus taken over by redneck soldiers led by armchair fascists and then to have them actually open fire and gun down fellow Americans.  It is a period from which I have absorbed a lot of cultural and historical material, but now that we are living in a similar time of rupture, I realize that I had always treated it with some distance.  It's very scary to see your society fall apart and this comic captures that well.  

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