Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Defacing a Tragedy

Perhaps you've not yet heard. Nine people who were protesting the Iraq War on May 4, 2003 in Kent, Ohio were arrested. Today, two years later, on the thirty-fifth anniversary of the tragedy, they've sued the city of Kent on grounds of unconsititutional arrest. (WKYC reports)

The nine who were arrested are individually asking for $50000 in damages. One must ask the question: Why did they wait two years to file this suit? They waited the sum total of two years to effect this suit. Not only that, but they chose a noted anniversary to file it. Do those who were personally affected by this tragedy 35 years ago feel vindicated in the filing of this suit? Has this day which has been used for years to honor those who were killed been morphed into a day when people can "get back at the man"? It used to be a badge of courage for protestors to be carted away to jail. They had sacrificed themselves to the convinction of their beliefs, and they were proud of their actions. Now, these protestors want to have it both ways. They want the badge of courage, plus financial compensation because of the pain and suffering that they endured.

One of the claims that is thrown at President Bush perpetually by some students of Kent State (and every college and university in the US) is that he is getting some sort of kickback for taking us to war in Iraq. Would it be fair to say that these lawsuits are using May 4 to get their own kickback, playing on the event for their own personal gain? Even if they lose their case, they are going to gain some level of status, perhaps even making it to the national stage if the AP picks up on the story. National tragedy + People suing = Public interest.

This ought to be a day where we remember those who have given their lives for our rights, when we remember the importance of the rights that we have, and the high price that can be paid for an error in judgment. It ought not be used in a way to gain attention for a few protestors, and forget the tragedy itself.

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