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Crime United States

Audio Analysis Brings New Revelations From Kent State Shooting 289

a_nonamiss writes "The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting today on new forensic analysis by audio scientists Stuart Allen and Tom Owen on a recently discovered audio tape from the Kent State shootings. The analysis suggests that four shots from a .38-caliber pistol were fired 70 seconds before the National Guard opened fire on a crowd of student protesters, killing four and wounding nine others. The alleged shooter, student Terry Norman, was hired by the FBI to take photos of the protesters. It has been known for some time that he had a .38-caliber pistol on his person the day of the shootings, but he has always claimed that the gun was not fired during the protest, a claim that was backed up in sworn testimony from authorities at the time."
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Audio Analysis Brings New Revelations From Kent State Shooting

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  • by elucido ( 870205 ) * on Saturday October 09, 2010 @11:00AM (#33845240)

    If it was Hoovers blackmailing rogue "evil" FBI, the same FBI that was doing cointel pro and using urban warfare tactics on the weathermen and black panthers, this is an FBI that could have easily incited this. They call them agent provocateurs. Their role is to incite violence. [] []

  • Re:Cause and Effect (Score:3, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 09, 2010 @11:18AM (#33845340)

    70 seconds seems like a substantial delay between an action and a provoked response

    Not really. It sounds like just about enough time for the chain-of-command to relay an order down to the troops to clear out the area with force.

  • Actual story (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sara Chan ( 138144 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @11:20AM (#33845362)
    Here is a direct link to the actual story in the Cleveland Plain Dealer: "Kent State tape indicates altercation and pistol fire preceded National Guard shootings (audio) []"
    --it should have been in TFS.
  • by bcmm ( 768152 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @11:40AM (#33845466)

    The article states that there is video evidence of Terry Norman being chased by someone claiming he shot someone, running away and handing his gun to an officer that opens it and states that it's been fired 4 times.

    Read more carefully. While the officer was seen opening Norman's gun by a camera crew, it seems they weren't filming at the time. The reason the new analysis is interesting is that it contradicts the FBI's claim that that gun was not fired, while matching up well with eyewitness accounts ("oh my God, he fired four times") which were made by people with no knowledge of the tape.

  • Re:Cause and Effect (Score:3, Informative)

    by multisync ( 218450 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @12:02PM (#33845556) Journal

    It sounds like just about enough time for the chain-of-command to relay an order down to the troops to clear out the area with force.


    Indeed. From TFA:

    The audio tape also contains what Allen and fellow forensic acoustics expert Tom Owen believe is a command ordering the Guardsmen to prepare to fire ... Terry Gilbert, a Cleveland attorney who is advising Canfora, said their primary interest is the apparent order for the Guard to fire, but that the new revelations about the confrontation and pistol shots "add an interesting dimension because of the role the FBI might have played in the chain of events."

  • Re:Cause and Effect (Score:1, Informative)

    by john82 ( 68332 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @12:16PM (#33845644)

    Remember that May 4th was not an isolated day. The tension had been building for several days. It actually started three days earlier on May 1st. The stand-off between "students" and various law enforcement orgs included throwing bottles, rocks and bricks at law enforcement. Btw, the "students" weren't all enrolled at Kent State.

    So it wasn't just a case of the Guardsmen opening fire, for no reason, on peaceful demonstrating students. Should the Guardsmen been there at all? Probably not, but that was the decision Gov Rhodes made when the Mayor of Kent asked for help controlling the situation. Just understand that the "students" were part of what happened. It's not as black and white as it's been portrayed.

  • Re:70 seconds ??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by leonardluen ( 211265 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @12:40PM (#33845784)

    First definition i found for "sniper" - "a marksman who shoots at people from a concealed place"

    I see nothing in that definition that indicates what style of gun they need to use. granted revolvers aren't accurate at long range but that doesn't preclude them from the definition above.

  • by kevinNCSU ( 1531307 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:07PM (#33845912)
    No one, the Ohio National Guard included, is debating whether the guard opened fired and killed protesters. This is unequivocally true. The question here is whether sometime before the guardsmen open fire if someone else in the crowd fired shots contributing to the shooting by either riling the crowd towards violence or causing the guardsmen to feel threatened and thus clear the area with violence or both.
  • Re:Does this mean... (Score:3, Informative)

    by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:22PM (#33846020) Homepage

    They're Neil's lyrics -- and why would he need to revise them? She's still dead on the ground.

    And this Terry fellow could very well be described as a Tin Soldier. ...that said, I'm still not sure what the President's orgasms had to do with that shooting.

  • Re:Cause and Effect (Score:5, Informative)

    by multisync ( 218450 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:24PM (#33846040) Journal

    It doesn't mean it was HIS .38 firing. That's hardly an uncommon caliber.

    More from TFA:

    Some witnesses claim they saw Norman fighting with several students and waving or pointing his gun

    TV footage shortly after the shooting shows Norman running toward a cluster of Guardsmen and police, pursued by a man who yells that Norman has a gun and has shot someone. The TV film shows an emotional Norman hand his pistol to a Kent State patrolman and describe an assault by protesters.

    The TV reporter and sound engineer say they saw a Kent State detective open the pistol's cylinder and heard him exclaim off-camera that it had been fired four times. Officers' written statements contended it was fully loaded and unfired.

    The new analysis of the audio recording lends credibility to existing evidence that Norman fired *his* gun. It's no longer just a case of his word against that of a bunch of hippie protestors, and warrants the further investigation that is now taking place.

  • by Suki I ( 1546431 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:44PM (#33846214) Homepage Journal
    Neither. The article says he would sell pictures to the FBI after events. Freelance photographer.
  • Re:70 seconds ??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @01:57PM (#33846316)

    There isn't much way to distinguish caliber that precisely (unless the same ammo is fired AT you from a distance day after day).

    Further, .38 Special RIFLES have been available for many years before Kent State. It's an OLD (1899) cartridge. If you hear the report, and it's not outgoing, it's not unreasonable to assume it's incoming.

  • by couchslug ( 175151 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @02:03PM (#33846370)

    It's worth pointing out that in those days, there were no non-lethal weapons that were very effective. A rifle and a bayonet deter only by credible threat of use, and when that doesn't work, the operator either loses the field or uses the weapons.

  • Re:70 seconds ??? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Antique Geekmeister ( 740220 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @02:58PM (#33846742)

    Well, yes. If you make the barrel of a pistol 2 feet long, you start looking like Jack Nicholson as the Joker handling it. You'll increase the muzzle velocity and reduce the tumbling, so your maximum range will increase. Of course, since your hand always wobbles somewhat, even for a skilled shooter with a 2-handed grip, your grouping will be awful at significant distances, even if your bullets and barrel are the equivalent of a rifle's.

    A quick search shows pages like this (, which lists the effective range of a typical Marine side arm of about 25 meters, and similar pages show the M-16 as having an advertised effective range of about 550 meters for a point target. A 2x scope is great for shooting varmings: not so helpful for shooting at troops several hundred feet away.

  • by arthurpaliden ( 939626 ) on Saturday October 09, 2010 @04:59PM (#33847398)
    Was hit in face with a rock. Lost an eye.
  • by Hutz ( 900771 ) on Sunday October 10, 2010 @12:40PM (#33852596)
    Actually, the tape was well known and was used in the original investigations. This is a copy [] that was made by plaintiffs lawyers and then placed in an archive.

    There doesn't seem to be much information I could discern as to where on the campus the recording was made (a dorm window). Nor does a 20-year-old cassette copy of a 40-year-old reel-to-reel make me put much faith in the information that was "revealed" through unknown audio processing.

You know, Callahan's is a peaceable bar, but if you ask that dog what his favorite formatter is, and he says "roff! roff!", well, I'll just have to...