FOUNTAIN OF TEARS
by Michael Fairchild

[NOTE: The story below is an excerpt from the 1988 historical novel, A Touch Of Hendrix. For a quick background about the story, see the accompanying page: Trajectory of Intersections = Crossrown Traffic.]

Beginning in April 1970 an amazing chain of events transpired to imprint Jimi's legacy into history. While the song Woodstock by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young was climbing up the record charts, the three hour movie of that three day festival opened in packed theaters around the country. The marketing of Woodstock produced shockwaves in the straight world as back-to-nature, altered consciousness, hippie lifestyles became the height of youth fashion. None of this was promoted on television. The establishment appeared to have lost all control as the "underground" surfaced towards the mainstream.

1970 Earth Day in New York

The Student Mobilization Committee sponsored a week of demonstrations from April 13th through the 18th. A nationwide student strike on April 15th targeted Internal Revenue Service offices around the country. Reenactments of the Boston Tea Party were staged in Chicago, Des Moines, and Boston. In New York 30,000 people gathered in Bryant Park. A band of 100 militants interrupted the reading of the names of the war-dead and then prevented speakers from appearing. Eventually they took over the podium and led the crowd in chants of "Revolution Now!" In Berkeley the University was closed and declared to be in a state of emergency after two days of rioting following police attacks on students who tried to close down the campus ROTC building. The largest turnout occurred in Boston where more than 75,000 people assembled on the Common. Several thousand marched over to Cambridge where they smashed windows, set fires in Harvard Yard and chanted, "How're the nation's elite?" More than 200 people were injured as police battled with demonstrators through the night and arrested 35.

One week later Let It Be by The Beatles topped the charts on the first Earth Day.

After he observed the massive turnout for the November 1969 Moratorium protests in Washington, Sen. Gaylord Nelson (D-Wis.) proposed a nationwide teach-in on environmental problems. For the next four months a volunteer group coordinated the effort and on Wednesday, April 22nd, Earth Day was observed in more than 2000 American communities. Focusing attention on pollution, it was a middle-of-the-road demonstration designed for the family. So many politicians took part in Earth Day that Congress shut down on April 22nd. Senators and Congressmen fanned out across the country as all bands of the political spectrum jumped on the anti-pollution bandwagon (in words, at least). Fifth Ave. was blocked off in New York while 100,000 people gathered to demonstrate their concern for the environment and listen to radio broadcasts of John Lennon's new tune, Instant Karma:

Well we all shine on,
like the Moon and the Stars and the Sun...

In Washington, 1700 students marched to the Interior Department and poured quarts of oil on the sidewalk to protest oil spills in the ocean. Universities sponsored lectures on the fragility of the eco-system and hundreds of thousands of school children roamed through parks and city streets to collect tons of litter cast off by the consumer culture.

At dinnertime this night, Clyde Kinney complains to his parents, "They made us walk around and pick up garbage at school today."

"If they wanna beautify America they should make them hippie fags git a haircut," snarls Jack.

Mick curls his lip. "Hippies aren't ugly, the M.A.N. is"

"What man?" asks Cheryl.

"The Mean And Nasty!" answers Mick.

Henry tosses his chicken wing back on his plate. "Jumpin' Jesus Christ! Do we hafta hear this crap night after night?"

Claudia reproaches Mick, "We told you not to talk crazy around here!"

"Jack said America would be beautiful if hippies cut their hair. He's the one who's nuts."

Claudia drops her fork and slaps his mouth. "Don't you call us names!"

"You don't hafta hit me!"

"Don't talk back!" she yells as she swings at him again. He catches her hand and pushes it away. Claudia springs from her seat and grabs his collar. "HOW DARE YOU RAISE YOUR HAND TO ME! YOU UNGRATEFUL RAT!" she screams, yanking him off his chair and onto the floor. SLAP! SLAP! SLAP! "GET OUT OF MY SIGHT!"

Mick runs up to the attic. Straightening the collar of his shirt he turns on Clyde's radio. Almost Cut My Hair from the new CSNY album is fading out on WCFM. DJ Spacey Daisy reports in a tranquil voice, "There's been a lot of protest against pollution today, here's a little air freshener from Woodstock to help clean up the establishment." Like a breath of revolution Jimi's Star Spangled Banner sighed from the little transistor, followed by the cyclonic fury of Purple Haze. When the music ends Spacey Daisy announces, "Jimi begins a three month tour of the country this week. He'll be playing in more than thirty cities and at least three outdoor festivals." The news helps take Mick's mind off his savage family. He spends the remainder of Earth Day doing homework. Turning a page of his history book he listens to radio news about Viet Cong supply dumps in Cambodia and wonders what life is like in a place with such an exotic name. Credence Clearwater's Bad Moon Rising begins to play on CFM and chases away his thoughts of foreign lands.

On the last day of April a heat wave hits western New York and greenery begins sprouting on bushes and trees around the Kinney house. After dinner Henry and Claudia drive over to the grade school for an Open House meeting between parents and teachers. Cheryl stays home with the boys and Mick is quick to sneak next door to visit Lane. "Your 'rents go to Open House?" he asks at the back door.

Band Of Gypsys album cover
Top-5 on charts, Spring/Summer 1970

"Yeah, they already split." Lane says. "C'mon, I'll show ya Jimi's new album." He leads Mick into the front room and lowers the TV volume, pointing to the coffee table, "There's the cover." The disc is already on the turntable. Lane walks over and applies the tone arm while Mick examins the jacket. Jimi looks almost dejected, he thinks, hunched over his Strat in the cover photo. The weird colors make his face appear to be covered with bruises. For a moment the notion that someone had roughed up Jimi crosses Mick's mind, but he quickly dismisses it. Who could threaten a superstar? he naively asks himself. While the boys listen to Jimi's Band Of Gypsys, Malcolm and Cliff stroll into the house and flop onto the front room sofa.

"Did you see the Woodstock movie yet?" Mick asks them.

"Yeah, but they left a lot of the best parts out," replies Cliff.

"They really butchered Jimi's set and the camera angles suck," adds Malcolm, glancing at the soundless TV. He sees the president pointing at a map of Southeast Asia. "What's Pig Nixon squealin' about?" Reaching over to the set he raises the volume as Lane lowers the stereo. They listen with rising anxiety as Nixon announces that 48,000 South Vietnamese troops and American aircraft had crossed Vietnam's boarder and invaded the neighboring country of Cambodia. Another 30,000 U.S. troops are following. As the president speaks, the skies over North Vietnam are raining bombs from stepped up B-52 raids. Malcolm and Cliff feel sick. Mick and Lane feel sick. Millions of Americans despair for the thousands of teenage boys who are being sacrificed to the capitalist god-of-greed. Pig Nixon calls for national unity against the enemy and the counterculture units against him, his brain-trained supporter's and their leeching war industries.

Malcolm tunes out the news and turns off the TV. Cliff stares out the window. Lane breaks the tension by raising the volume on Jimi's new album:

evil man make me kill ya
evil man make you kill me
evil man make me kill you
even though we're only families apart…

Malcolm reachs for the dial and turns the volume up all the way.

same way you shoot me down, baby
you'll be goin' just the same
three times the pain
and your own self to blame,
yeah machine gun…

Draft age teens nationwide ride Jimi's guitar-weapon alarm-siren like a twisting aural surf. This deafening channel from another world drains their aggression and soothes their despair.

after while your cheap talk don't even cause me pain
so let your bullets fly like rain…

Machine Gun from Fillmore East, NY - Jan. 1, 1970 -
version released on Hendrix Band Of Gypsys album April 1970:
Jimi Hendrix - Machine Gun (Live @The Fillmore East 1970)

The album release of Machine Gun couldn't be more timely. Violence over greed, that's the disease; the war in Vietnam, and now Cambodia, is just a symptom. Capitalist laws are tailored to profit-making and the laws make "free" greed driven men who reign terror over underprivileged victims. "Private possession" of part of the landscape is an arbitrary proclamation from armed and greedy men, chest-beating bullies who draw lines in the sand and dare others to cross. They rely on brute force to "defend" what they've confiscated. But it's the right of everyone to have equal access to all distributable resources on Earth. The wealth of p.i.g.s. has been stolen from us all.

Since the Experience broke up at the end of June 1969, Jimi had been gigging sporadically: the Tonight Show, Woodstock, a Harlem benefit, the Dick Cavett Show, the Salvation Club, and five concerts in New York with his new band. Now, with his Band of Gypsys album in the record shops, and the Woodstock album and movie craze in full bloom, Jimi begins a U.S. tour playing mostly Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in more than 30 cities. Musically, these are by far the greatest performances he ever gave and, ironically, they've received the least critical acclaim in retrospect. Almost every single recap and account of Jimi's career that has been fed to his fans has briefly glossed over the 1970 American tour as if it was a half dozen dull and poorly received shows. But recordings of more than two dozen of these shows have been collected and anyone who listens to them critically will conclude that 1970 was the most inspired concert period for Jimi as far as musical development is concerned.

Woodstock

In the spring of 1970 the new Woodstock and Band Of Gypsys albums were the first records of "live" concert music from Jimi and they contain his infamous version of the Star Spangled Banner and his anti-war masterpiece Machine Gun. These records transformed his public image by singling him out as the personification of creative non-violent protest. To appreciate the historical intersection of this politicized image with the anti-war movement, we must fathom the tragic urgency which consumes the counterculture in May of 1970.

The morning after Nixon appeared on television he goes to the Pentagon for a briefing on the Cambodia invasion from the Joint Chiefs. Leaving that meeting he speaks to reporters:

"You know, you see these bums blowin' up the campuses; listen, the boys that are on the college campuses today are the luckiest people in the world."

By nightfall Stanford University is undergoing the worst riots in its history. At Ohio State the National Guard is called out and a student is shot by a gun carrying Guardsman. At Kent State in Ohio students burn down the ROTC building. Student editors from eleven major universities meet in New York to issue a call for a nationwide student strike. The National Student Association and the Moratorium Committee also call for a nationwide university strike starting immediately; within hours more than a hundred colleges and universities announce participation.

All through the second weekend of Jimi's tour in early May, demonstrations flare across the country to protest the war's escalation. While bombs rain on Cambodia, the counterculture blares Machine Gun and the Star Spangled Banner from loudspeakers, "the way it really is," as Jimi said. In homes, in concerts, and in movie theaters he represents the resistance. The unprecedented power of his playing had made him the musical head of the anti-war culture and his politicized image is now fully exposed to mainstream culture. By 1970 rock music has assumed exaggerated and powerful influence on the thinking of the baby boom generation. Jimi's new records are more than a mere thorn in the side of parents who have to hear the music that their kids play. It's the war industries that take even closer note of rock music's effect on their ability to continue the war, and after Monday, May 4th, the establishment's concern increases dramatically.

Protests against the invasion of Cambodia are bitter and volatile on campuses. Students are completely fed up with the absurdity of old men ordering young guys to die for the paychecks of racist good-ole-boys. The government is an instrument of evil men. Draft age people are compelled to abandon their peace-and-love stance of recent years. A courageous resistance movement dedicates itself to the bombing of governmental/military/industrial targets. The Senate Subcommittee on Investigations cited 4,330 such bombings over the past year alone - an average of more than nine a day. The establishment turns turgid with paranoia and resentment; it is their "right" to wage war against poor Asians who seek collective equity. When draft age victims resist the p.i.g.s., the M.A.N. is ready with mercenaries. No one's gonna spoil their blood-money orgy without gettin' hurt. Those who were brutalized and killed in attempts to obstruct greed-drunk militarists are the unsung heros of the Vietnam War.

Burned ROTC Building Set the Stage

On Monday, May 4th almost all American campuses host some form of denouncement of the Cambodian invasion. But at Kent State University in Ohio, student assembly is banned after the ROTC building was burned on Saturday night. The M.A.N. had to suppress student outrage over draft laws that made profit-bait out of teenage boys. Students are expected to pay tuition to universities and have school officials - their employees! - dictate silence in response to an unfair draft (disproportionally black) that threatens the lives of all college age males. But at Kent State the administrators are not responsible for calling out the Dogs on Saturday. University President Robert White was in Iowa delivering a speech on Saturday. None of his administration is even consulted on the decision to move in six hundred M-1 rifle carrying troops. That decision is made by Ohio Governor James Rhodes for very political reasons; Rhodes is the Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in a close primary election which is to take place on Tuesday. In a ploy to gain Ohio votes by cracking down on student protesters, Governor Rhodes essentially gives the Dogs a license to kill. On Sunday night Guardsmen herd Kent State students into their dormitories. This is not what these kids pay the University for. They fight back; 69 of them are busted and a girl is stabbed by an M-1 bayonet. Most of the Guardsmen are working class youths about the same age as the students, most of them have been called away from civilian jobs in the Akron and Canton areas. Many working class soldiers resent students from the privileged class. Their latent rage is easily aimed at any target the M.A.N. designates. Many of them are trained to hate what they subconsciously crave. They seek violence and destruction as sensory substitutes for hidden drives they can't satisfy. Envy and frustration stirs these pawns of capitalists; it's the M.A.N.'s game and it's a pattern that elitists have benefited from all along. Military "personalities" are prone to be conditioned; they need to be told what to think and feel. And the M.A.N. is there to tell them.

Ruins of the ROTC Building

Kent State students organize a demonstration for noon on Monday. Guardsmen are ordered to place their M-1 rifles in "lock and load" - ready to fire positions. A jeep carries three of them with fixed bayonets and a campus policeman with a bullhorn. They leave the ranks of the troops and drive onto the Commons - a large rectangular grassy plot surrounded by buildings. One side of the Commons slops up to a grove of trees atop a knoll. Four times the jeep circles the perimeter of the rectangle as the cop shouts through his bullhorn, "Attention all KSU students! You have five minutes to leave this area! Leave this area immediately!"

P.I.G.S. Pass Gas

"One, two, three, four - we don't want your bloody war!" chant the protesters, waving clenched fists. The jeep stops and troops with fixed bayonets move forward. Tear gas canisters are launched into the crowd. Students move back and reform at the top of the knoll overlooking the Commons. Several of them charge down and scoop up the gassing shells to fling back at the troops. Someone rings a tower-bell and the clarion sound rallies the students to run down the hill shouting, "The campus belongs to the people!" and "Sieg Heil!" More troops march into the area and students line the rooftops overlooking the Commons as the crowd of demonstrators below swells to 1000. The entire field is covered with grey haze that forces the teary eyed students to split up and run behind the administration building on the knoll. Troops pursue them as they run down to a practice football field. The crowd now numbers 1500. Thirty guardsmen form in regiment order with their backs to a fence along the football field. Students surround them on three sides. A freek in a green headband carries a green flag on a pole and leads a crowd of 100 towards the encircled troops; some in the crowd toss stones the size of golfballs. Most of the guardsmen are out of throwing range, but a few are struck. Their homicidal urges are unleashed. They retreat to the top of the hill and open fire. There were no warning shots nor any verbal notice given. Within 13 seconds 6l shots are fired at the unarmed students. The war comes home to America.

At first people assume that blanks are being fired. It's unthinkable that troops would discharge such a barrage of bullets at students pelting stones. But 15 victims fall to the ground, some of them mere spectators. The target closest to the guardsmen is 71 feet away, the farthest away is shot from a distance of 730 feet. Students look around in shock as the satiated trigger-criminals retreat from their orgy.

Sandy Scheuer was a 20 year old student from Youngstown, Ohio. She was a pretty girl with long dark hair who lived off campus and liked to cook. Her friends looked strangely at reporters who asked about her politics. "She was concerned about what happened, but like everybody else she didn't know what to do about it." said her roommate. Another friend said she was, "the little sister of the fraternity. I guess you could say she was the comic for all the kids." Sandy was on her way to speech therapy class with Sharon Swanson when they were caught in the swirl of disorder. They hid behind cars. "Sandy must have thought it was over and stood up." Sharon said, tears streaming down her cheeks. "I saw her lying there, hit in the neck." At her funeral service the rabbi said that her parents called her Gittel, which means "goodness."

Jeffery Miller was from Plainview, Long Island. He too was 20 years old and for a while he dated Sandy Scheuer. Jeffery was a transfer student from Michigan State who enjoyed tennis and sports. "He didn't really want to go to school," said a friend, "he did, but he didn't." Another friend described him as "concerned, but he wasn't an activist." He was learning to play the drums. On May 4th Jeffery Miller was on his way to class when his skull was split open by a National Guard bullet. He lay in a pool of blood on the sidewalk, his eyes were crossed and blood poured from his nose and mouth. In his wallet was a railroad ticket for Long Island and on his notebook he had printed "Rocky for President in '72" (Nelson Rockefeller - conservative mogul Governor of New York).

Allison Krause was a freshman from Pittsburgh who had just celebrated her 19th birthday. She was most frequently described as "beautiful". She was of medium height with dark curly hair and a proud, Indian-like face. Her main concern was her boyfriend, Barry. She planned to transfer to a college in Buffalo because Barry was going to do so. Allison and Barry were on their way to class when they heard shots ring out. Barry dropped to the ground but Allison hesitated to look around. Her books tumbled out of her arms when she was hit in the left shoulder and bled to death in her boyfriends arms before anything could be done. By all accounts she had no interest in politics, she only believed in peace.

William Schroeder of Lorain, Ohio was a handsome, husky 19 year old who wore his light brown hair cut short. He was an Eagle Scout at age 13, was good at basketball and was second in his ROTC class at Kent State. At Lorain High School he played varsity basketball, was captain of the cross country team and graduated with an A-minus average. "This kid was not a radical," said a Loraine police inspector who had known him for 15 years. In 1968 William won a scholarship to the Colorado School of Mines. He transferred to Kent State in 1970 so he could major in psychology. His parents described him as an "extra special son" who never got into trouble. They said he hoped for peace but wasn't the type to take part in a demonstration. William was merely watching the disorder when a National Guard bullet struck him in the left chest. Friends called him an "all-American type" who was quiet and enjoyed playing the trumpet.

Dean Kahler of East Canton, Ohio was permanently paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet. Ten other students were wounded, three of them critically. People shout for ambulances. Hysterical students scream, "Kill the pigs!" A professor weeps. In ten minutes the dead and wounded are taken away. Crying onlookers are incoherent with rage. A despairing kid jumps up and down in the roadside pool of Jeffrey Miller's blood. The crowd disperses from a nightmare and the university shuts down.

National Guard riot training regulations require that all guardsmen on duty be given written rules that stipulate when they can open fire. Riot troops are instructed to "aim low to disable rather than kill." Troops are instructed to use only the minimum force necessary and the rules say specifically to "avoid bloodshed." The criminal Ohio guardsmen quickly concoct a story alleging that a sniper had fired a shot at them from a rooftop. They claim that a sniper was spotted by a police helicopter before they opened fire. But the following day Highway Patrol official Major D.E. Manly said, "There is nothing in the log on the sighting." Manly stated that if patrolmen in the helicopter circling the campus had seen a gunman it would have been recorded. No evidence was ever produced to suggest a sniper had fired at the guardsmen. In addition, Gen. S.T. Delcorso stated, "No one gave an order to fire." (Years later a recording is found of the incident and it contains a voice clearly ordering the troops to open fire.) Even if a sniper had been present, National Guard regulations specifically require that, "Snipers should be engaged only on order and by a single selected marksmen or firing team. Laying down a barrage accomplishes nothing constructive and endangers the lives of innocent bystanders...Full fire power by small arms is employed only on command of the senior commander."

A presidential commission later found the guards' action unwarranted and in 1974 eighteen of the Kent State killers were indicted, but all of them were acquitted. Nixon's pawns wanted to sympathize with the guarddogs. Protesters are nothing but a thorn in the side of a gluttonous monster that prospers from the war. After eight years of litigation the U.S. government pays the families of the four dead students $675,000 to split among themselves and a note of regret.

Within hours of the killings the news spreads across the country by radio and TV bulletins. Eighty percent of American colleges and universities experience student strikes. Over 500 campuses cancel classes, 51 of them shut down for the remainder of the semester. More than four-million students take part in demonstrations against the murders and the Cambodian invasion. These demonstrations are unprecedented in scope and the resulting violence is unparalleled by any previous crisis in the history of American education. Arson and bombings flare on dozens of campuses and 30 ROTC buildings are burned to the ground. The National Guard is called out at 21 universities and thousands of enraged students are busted during battles with police.

Jam at Village Gate Club NYC on Night of Massacre

At 4:30 on Monday afternoon Malcolm Tent emerges from his history class at the University of Rochester. He and his classmates hear angry declarations echoing from a loudspeaker and walk quickly towards the crowd noise. Over a thousand students are gathered in front of the Fredrick Douglas Building to hear accusations delivered by a protester with a black armband. "We mourn the murders at Kent State. Responsibility for the deaths lies with our national leaders. They plunged the country deeper into the morass of the war and then when students gathered to call for peace, they responded with soldiers carrying loaded weapons," said the speaker. A chill runs through Malcolm as he realizes the killings can happen here. He joins the chants of "Peace Now!" but notices as many clenched fists as peace signs waving over their heads.

Thirty-seven college and university presidents draft a telegram to Nixon which reads, "The American invasion of Cambodia and the renewed bombing of North Vietnam have caused extraordinarily severe and widespread apprehension on our campuses. We share this apprehension. We implore you to consider the incalculable dangers of an unprecedented alienation of America's youth." Five-hundred National Guard troops are called to the University of Maryland where 2000 rioting students are dispersed by repeated barrages of tear gas. Maryland's governor imposes a curfew and declares a state of emergency after four persons are hospitalized and 107 arrested. Three-thousand students roam through Syracuse University, breaking windows and setting up blockades to prevent faculty members from coming on campus. Police remove a firebomb from the campus bookstore before it explodes. At the University of Wisconsin the Guard is put on alert when hundreds of rioting students smash windows and set fires. A supermarket is destroyed by flames as students cheer. In San Francisco 1500 demonstrators storm into City Hell and demand that the Board of Supervisors call for the impeachment of Nixon.

Jimi in St. Paul on Eve of National Guard Attacks in Ohio -
and Film of His Memorial Jam for the Kent State Slain
Played Just Hours After the Massacre:

At Berkeley students overturn and burn ROTC trucks and then march to the chancellor's office to haul down the American and California flags and burn them. The flaming banners are raised to half-staff while the crowd chants, "Burn, Nixon, Burn!" At Washington University in St. Louis 2000 students celebrate the burning of the Air Force ROTC building. They block firemen who try to reach the fire and shout "Let it burn!" ROTC buildings are occupied by students at the U. of Nebraska, U. of Virginia, Central Michigan University and Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. At the University of California at San Diego 200 demonstrators shut down the space research lab for nine hours.

At midnight Malcolm and Cliff join 200 other U of R students in front of the administration building. Cliff smashes through the windows and opens the doors to let everyone in. The crowd seats themselves in the main hallway and begins an informal discussion without anyone acting as the leader.

"I think we should decide why we're here." says a soft spoken girl with wire-rim glasses and short black hair. Others begin to vent their feelings.

"To shut down the university!"

"To burn down the university!"

"Right on!"

"But the violence at Kent State shows us how the war has spread inside this country," the girl with the glasses counters, "the American people have to demand an end to it."

"Burning their universities will convince them," points out a black militant.

"Washington would love to see the campuses burn and disperse student protest," she counters again. "We can accomplish more by shutting down the school and forcing administrators to pressure Washington for a change in policy." The majority present agrees with her and decide to occupy the building through the next day.

A rap session continues for an hour before Malcolm and Cliff slip into one of the offices where students are huddled around a radio. A joint is passed around as they listen to CFM reports of other unfolding demonstrations. After the news the station airs Machine Gun. "Shit. Man, I forgot to tell you in all this drag," Cliff exclaims to Malcolm. "Marty called last night and said there's a festival in Philly on May sixteenth and Hendrix is headlining with the Grateful Dead and Steve Miller."

"Far out! My last exam is on the fifteenth."

"Mine too, we can leave right after."

The two of them stay with the sit-in all through Tuesday and prevent school officials from entering their offices. There hadn't been any violence at the U of R and to keep it that way the administrators decide against calling the cops. Local news reporters show up to cover the incident and a student spokesman made a statement before the occupiers disperse. The past 24 hours have been the bleakest day of the peace movement.

The days that follow are frustrating for Mick as he repeatedly hears the Kinneys praise the National Guard. This is the p.i.g.s.' brightest hour as Nixon's braintrained pawns see Kent State as their cue to intimidate protesters. Mick senses danger and dares not interfere with the crazed celebration. He listens to the family with unexpressed horror, while silently cheering reports of rampaging students. From this deeply divided America he comes to understand how civil war can happen.

By the end of the week record breaking heat succumbs to record breaking cold in Rochester as temperatures plunge into the mid 20s. On Friday Malcolm, Cliff and a van full of their friends leave town to join a mass march on Washington. Tensions have reached fever pitch all over the country. At noon in New York hundreds of students gather on the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial near Wall Street - the heart of corporate America. A mob of flag-carrying construction workers from a nearby site push aside the few cops present and attack the student protesters. The rampaging construction workers use their orange and yellow hard- hats to strike demonstrators as well as bystanders; 75 people are injured and 11 of the demonstrators are hospitalized. The "hard-hats" then invade City Hall where Mayor Lindsay had ordered flags flown at half staff on this "day of reflection" for the Kent State dead. The hard-hats demand that the flag be raised to full staff and one of them climbs up the building and hoists the City Hall flag to full staff. The man is seized by police but then released when a city councilman comes to his defense. A mayoral assistant lowers the flag back to half staff and the construction workers start chanting "Lindsay is a red!" When the flag is then raised a second time they sing the Star Spangled Banner, out of key. Whipped into a patri-neurotic frenzy, one of the hard-heads notices a peace-banner hanging from a window at nearby Pace College. The crazed gang storms the college, smashing windows, attacking students and burning the banner.

The Kinneys watch the Evening News and hear New York's Police Commissioner say that no arrests had been made during the hard-hat riot because police were "outnumbered".

"Why didn't they call out the National Guard?" asks Mick.

"For what?" quips Jack. "Those guys did what any patriotic American would do." That's what any idiotic American would do, Mick mutters to himself. He listens to more reports of right wing violence.

"At the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque today at least nine people were hospitalized with bayonet wounds after a confrontation between students and National Guard troops. New Mexico State Police moved onto the campus this afternoon and arrested one-hundred-and-forty protesters who had been occupying the Student Union Building since Wednesday. After the students were removed from the campus, two-hundred National Guardsmen advanced on several hundred more students outside the building. The stabbings occurred when troops ringed the building to keep demonstrators away. Among those stabbed was a TV news cameraman. A University doctor said that the cameraman 'probably would have died if the chest wound had been an eighth inch deeper.'"

"See, they only call out the guard on protesters," notes Mick.

Claudia orders him to shut up. "Those rabble rousers deserve what they get," she sneers.

He turns to the TV and lets the next report answer for him:

"A throng of protesters swarmed into a tense and apprehensive Washington today for tomorrow's demonstration that may top one-hundred-thousand persons. White House officials and rally organizers worked out a compromise whereby the demonstration will be held on the Ellipse, a huge elm-lined circular park just south of the White House. On Capitol Hill solemn students lobbied in conference rooms, auditoriums, corridors and in Senator's offices and urged an end to the war through legislative action. Others set up camp in Lafayette Park directly across from the White House. Organizers promised to carry their protest to 'the doorsteps of Mister Nixon's house', but the White House has been cordoned off so no one can get closer than a block's distance. Mrs. Nixon and other members of the family who could hear chants of 'Seig Heil!' outside the White House left for Camp David until the demonstration is over."

Mister Nixon's Out House, Mick thought to himself. He prays that demonstrators can reach the Out House pole and raise the Viet Cong flag. Later that night he lays in bed listening to CFM: "Hendrix continues his tour in the mid-west this weekend with concerts tonight at the University of Oklahoma. Tomorrow he'll play the Auditorium in Fort Worth and on Sunday the Arena in San Antonio." Mick thinks of Jill at the University of Oklahoma just before falling to sleep. He dreams of a huge rock festival on the Out House lawn with the white-columned veranda used for a stage. He sees the VC flag wave overhead with Pig Nixon and his piglets held captive inside as Jimi blasts their little brains with the Scar Mangled Banner.

What did happen at the Out House the next day is not too far removed from Mick's dream, in spirit anyway. Nixon, unable to sleep as thousands of protesters surround his pen, flees to the Lincoln Memorial at 5 a.m. Secret Service agents are alarmed to see their Pig wander out of his limo-cage and start rapping to eight disgusted demonstrators. A crowd gathers to hear the King of Babylon babble on incoherently about surfing and sports. "It was unreal," said Ronnie Kempler after she listened to him. "He wasn't really concerned with why we are here."

"I hope it's because he's tired, but most of what he's saying is absurd," said Joan Pelletier. "Here we had come from a university that's completely uptight, on strike, and when we tell him where we're from he talks about football!"

"He didn't make sense," said a Syracuse student named Lynn Shatekin. "People would ask him questions and he would talk about something else."

Nixon returns to the barricaded Out House and watchs televised football while the week of mounting demonstrations comes to a climax. By mid-day 130,000 protesters are amassed on the Ellipse across the street. As temperatures break into the mid-8Os the throng begins to look like a rock festival. Dozens of people are busted for swimming nude in the reflecting pool. Cops use tear gas to disperse bands of militants who try to tip over buses parked bumper-to-bumper around the Out House. Five-thousand uniformed troops are placed on alert in the city. Some of them pass gas at the Justice Department when pelted with bottles and rocks. The powerful loudspeakers set up on the Ellipse are easily heard inside the Out House. Jane Fonda appears onstage to welcome the crowd by shouting, "Greetings fellow bums!" In front of the platform a black man is roped to a 13-foot cross. One of the perspiring freex who holds up the cross tells reporters, "He's up there to show that Nixon is crucifying the American people."

Students from Columbia, Pratt and New York University carry blood drenched animal organs in a circle around the Washington Monument and chant, "End the Agony! End the Pain! End the Murders!" The west end of the Ellipse roars with cheers when hundreds of people march into the crowd with banners reading, "Federal Employees for Peace" and "Federal Bums Against the War". More than 300 draft cards are collected and brought to the platform to be burned.

At 4 p.m. marchers carrying rows of coffins lead the procession up 15th Street towards the Out House. The crowd has their best chance to stage a sit-down when they reach H Street. But because this demonstration has been organized in just 10 days (six times faster than any previous march on Washington), the organizers didn't have time to agree on a plan to direct a sit-down. Fearing a massacre by federal troops, the street marshals discourage people from entering H Street where the sit-down would have been most effective. Marshals also discourage small groups from staging separate sit-downs and, instead, lead the procession to Arlington Cemetery. Several thousand people follow the coffins to the Out House where one coffin is pushed over the bus barricade. Cops pass gas and militants trash the streets; 300 busts result. Most of the people are waiting to join in a mass sit-down but the lack of direction leaves them unclear about where or when it will happen. As things turn out, the crowd simply disperses at Arlington Cemetery. Despite the atmosphere of tension and anger, the overall demonstration is ironically peaceful.

At dusk Malcolm and Cliff join hundreds of militants at George Washington University. Under rows of Viet Cong "enemy" flags, they march to DuPont Circle chanting "Ho Ho Ho Chi Minh - NLF Is Going To Win!" (NFL = National Liberation Front of "enemy" North Vietnam, headed by Marxist leader Ho Chi Minh). Along the way they hurl bricks and rocks through plate glass windows of banks and savings and loan associations. D.C. cops attack them with their familiar magic wands and Cliff gets clubbed on the head. Malcolm grabs his arm and leads him stumbling down a side street. They'd received their share of abuse. It's time to go home and heal until the next round.

The following day 200,000 people gather in a Paris park. A government official calls it "the largest expression ever seen of the French people's determination to bring an end to American aggression...against the odious massacres ordered by Nixon." Throughout the weekend West Berlin is wracked by protests against the Cambodian invasion. Outbursts on Saturday leave 261 cops injured; 24 of them are hospitalized along with 30 demonstrators. On Sunday a West Berlin firm called General Leasing is firebombed by militants who mistakenly think it's American because of its English name. Also on Sunday, 500 Canadian demonstrators stage a "symbolic invasion" by marching 21 miles across the boarder into the U.S. - the same distance American troops have penetrated into Cambodia.

During the coming week Manhattan becomes a battleground for protesters and counter-demonstraters. On Monday thousands of hard-hats and longshoremen rally on Wall Street in support of the war. On Tuesday students from six eastern universities gather to protest while police hold back construction workers trying to attack them. On May 20th the Building and Construction Trade Council of Greater New York sponsors a pro-Nixon rally at City Hell for 60,000 men. The next day 20,000 anti-war protesters demonstrate in front of City Hell and try to march to Bryant Park. Police intercept them and a battle breaks out; l6 persons are injured.

Divisiveness in America has reached its deepest level since the Civil War. Truong Nhu Tang, himself a victim of civil war, recognizes this when he writes in A Vietcong Memoir:

"The American bombing and invasion of Cambodia largely accomplished its immediate goals (I barely survived it myself). Nixon and Kissinger justified it then and later as an operation that gained an essential year of time. Yet this 'victory' arguably did more to undermine American unity than any other event of the war. The American leaders braced themselves to weather a storm of protest that would, they thought, eventually subside. But how does one judge the cumulative effects on one's own body politic of ingrained distrust and ill will? To achieve a year or so of dubious battlefield grace, Nixon and Kissinger incurred a propaganda defeat whose effects are still apparent (fifteen years later) and, to the extent that they have entered the American national psyche, may well be permanent. Whatever the facts of who infringed first on Cambodian neutrality, the significance of that engagement was that it helped separate the American leadership from its internal support and instilled among many Americans a lasting skepticism about their government's morality. It was - to Vietnam's revolution and to the revolution's that have followed Vietnam - an enduring gift."

(continues...)