Joe Walsh Recalls The Horror Of Kent State Shootings
via The Late Show with Stephen Colbert/YouTube
He Wrote A Statement For Its 50th Anniversary
50 years ago on May 4, 1970, unarmed college students staged a mass protest at Kent State University in Kent, Ohio after the United States military forces bombed the neutral Cambodia. Twenty-eight National Guard soldiers open fired and killed four students and injured nine others – some of whom were just passersby or not even protesting.
At the time, rock icon Joe Walsh was a student there and the incident caused him enough trauma to drop out of school and instead, pursue a career in music with his first band – the James Gang. He went on to find success as a solo artist and eventually as a member of the Eagles. But even if he’s already a household name, he admits it wasn’t something anyone truly got over with.
He wrote: “Today is May 4th and it marks 50 years since the shooting at Kent State University. Those of us who were there remember that day graphically, when our classmates, our friends, got shot down. We were naïve young people who had left our parents’ nest and were just starting our lives by going to college and furthering our education. And we were peacefully demonstrating but because of a total dysfunctional authority trying to handle a situation they didn’t understand, it mutated into elevated emotions and anger, chaos and fear escalated into violence.
“It was a long time ago but the reason it is so important and should be remembered is because history repeats itself — and we are as divided as a country now as we were then — and people demonstrating have no chance against people with guns. The solution then, as it is now, is to be able to peacefully assemble and understand each other and accept our differences, without fear, without hatred, without violence.”
Walsh was supposed to perform with David Crosby at a benefit concert to mark the 50th anniversary of the Kent State Shootings but was canceled because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Eagles’ Hotel California tour will also be moved to September.