Looking back at the Kent State shootings should lead to considering two questions relevant again today: Why did things get so bad? How do you walk back from that level of public anger?
The walk back from Kent State and the shootings shortly afterward at Jackson State in Mississippi took time, more protests and more anger. Minds didn’t fully change, but more people started to listen to each other, perhaps shocked by how bad it could be.
Fast forward to America 2020: The level of anger seems to be rising. The level of listening to each other is falling. Maybe if we remember Kent State, we can start to work on flattening that curve as well.
Carole McNall is an assistant professor in the Jandoli School of Communication at St. Bonaventure Univetrsity.