FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Person Who Deciphered the Order to Shoot at Kent State

by

Stuart Allen died on November 22, 2016. I learned of his death by way of an email from Laurel Krause, whose sister Allison was gunned down by the National Guard on May 4, 1970, just after the noon hour during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia during the Vietnam War.

Stuart Allen would not like to be called a hero, although he certainly was one. Stuart was both an audio and video expert, with degrees in both fields and worked out of his lab and business in New Jersey that offers expert analyses of that kind of data. Stuart often worked for law enforcement, including the Justice Department and the FBI.

In 2010, both Stuart and another forensic audio expert, Tom Owen, provided information at the request of the Cleveland Plain Dealer (“New analysis of 40-year old recording of Kent State shootings reveals that Ohio Guard was given an order to prepare to fire,” May 9, 2010) about a new analysis of the famous Strubbe tape, a recording of the events that led up to the death of four students and the wounding of nine others during a demonstration against the U.S. incursion into Cambodia.

The tape that Stuart analyzed, and the results with which Tom Owen concurred, yielded dramatic new information. Using state-of-the-art forensic audio tools, one of which was developed by the Soviet KGB prior to the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Stuart found that a sequence of orders was given to the National Guardsmen as they reached the top of Blanket Hill on the campus of Kent State University, turned in unison, and fired 67 times at unarmed student demonstrators below the hill.

These are the words that shed new light on the history of that horrific day and gave new meaning to the search for the historic truth about the events of that day.

“Guard”… “All right, prepare to fire!”… “Get down!”… and finally “Guard!”…is followed by the fusillade of lethal bullets.  It took seventeen seconds for those words to change history forever.

Alan Canfora, one of the students wounded as a result of the Guard’s gunfire, located the tape in 2007 in a Yale University archive and called the two audio experts’ findings a “major development.”

Barry Levine, a Kent State student whose girlfriend,  Allison Krause, was killed in the volley of gunfire, said, when informed of the tape’s new analysis, “How do you spell bombshell?”

I interviewed Stuart Allen on two occasions while working with an issue related to the new analysis of the tape with fellow writer and author of Four Dead In Ohio (1995), William A. Gordon.

I was taken at how unassuming Stuart Allen was as we talked about the contents of the new analysis of the Strubbe tape. Stuart wanted only to make a contribution based on his scientific expertise so that history would record the exact words uttered on that fateful day in May 1970 in Ohio. He donated a significant amount of time to the analysis of the tape and its presentation. He donated his expertise to educate those interested in what history actually will ultimately record about that day that took place over 46 years ago. Stuart emphasized how important he felt about getting that history right.

In Albert Camus’ novel, The Plague (1947), a character in a scene that can only be described as existential, struggles to get a simple description correct as a writer, and after torturous revisions of his narrative, and when he is satisfied with his simple offering, exclaims, “Hats off, gentlemen [sic]!” thinking of how his writing will be greeted.

There was nothing affected about Stuart Allen as there was with Camus’ struggling character, but the revelation of “Hats off, gentlemen and gentle persons!” is perhaps one of the best ways to honor Stuart Allen and his work!

Howard Lisnoff is a freelance writer.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

April 25, 2017
Russell Mokhiber
It’s Impossible to Support Single-Payer and Defend Obamacare
Nozomi Hayase
Prosecution of Assange is Persecution of Free Speech
Robert Fisk
The Madder Trump Gets, the More Seriously the World Takes Him
Giles Longley-Cook
Trump the Gardener
Bill Quigley
Major Challenges of New Orleans Charter Schools Exposed at NAACP Hearing
Jack Random
Little Fingers and Big Egos
Stanley L. Cohen
Dissent on the Lower East Side: the Post-Political Condition
Stephen Cooper
Conscientious Justice-Loving Alabamians, Speak Up!
Michael J. Sainato
Did the NRA Play a Role in the Forcing the Resignation of Surgeon General?
David Swanson
The F-35 and the Incinerating Ski Slope
Binoy Kampmark
Mike Pence in Oz
Peter Paul Catterall
Green Nationalism? How the Far Right Could Learn to Love the Environment
George Wuerthner
Range Riders: Making Tom Sawyer Proud
Clancy Sigal
It’s the Pits: the Miner’s Blues
Robert K. Tan
Abe is Taking Japan Back to the Bad Old Fascism
April 24, 2017
Mike Whitney
Is Mad Dog Planning to Invade East Syria?    
John Steppling
Puritan Jackals
Robert Hunziker
America’s Tale of Two Cities, Redux
David Jaffe
The Republican Party and the ‘Lunatic Right’
John Davis
No Tomorrow or Fashion-Forward
Patrick Cockburn
Treating Mental Health Patients as Criminals
Jack Dresser
An Accelerating Palestine Rights Movement Faces Uncertain Direction
George Wuerthner
Diet for a Warming Planet
Lawrence Wittner
Why Is There So Little Popular Protest Against Today’s Threats of Nuclear War?
Colin Todhunter
From Earth Day to the Monsanto Tribunal, Capitalism on Trial
Paul Bentley
Teacher’s Out in Front
Franklin Lamb
A Post-Christian Middle East With or Without ISIS?
Kevin Martin
We Just Paid our Taxes — are They Making the U.S. and the World Safer?
Erik Mears
Education Reformers Lowered Teachers’ Salaries, While Promising to Raise Them
Binoy Kampmark
Fleeing the Ratpac: James Packer, Gambling and Hollywood
Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail