After the Plain Dealer op-ed was published, Chic Canfora, the sister of Alan Canfora, wrote a scathing letter to the editor of the Plain Dealer, which conveniently sidestepped what I wrote: that the Canforas were dishonestly misrepresenting the views of the parents of those killed, who are no longer alive and are unable to speak for themselves. Chic accused me making "personal attacks on good people," which I thought was both funny and ironic since Alan had been doing precisely that for at least 36 years.
As the Donald Trump of Kent State, Alan has repeatedly attacked people on all sides of the political spectrum, including:
The Plain Dealer ended the controversy there, but if they had not, my rebuttal to Chicy's mishegas* would would have been:
Obviously Chic has a very different definition of what constitutes a “good person.” I do not believe “good people” talk wistfully about “our revolt,” as her brother recently has, or fabricate out of whole cloth claims there was an order to fire at the students at Kent State (“Right here. Get set. Point. Fire.”) They do not tell juries they were never activists and then brag about it when they are not under oath.
“Good people” also do not lie to or refuse to cooperate with the FBI about what they did and where they were on May 4, 1970. They do not have a 36-year-long history of viciously attacking anyone who disagrees with them, however slightly; and they do not lie about speaking for the parents of the dead students, as they are doing now and did in the 1980s when they sought a memorial on campus.
“Good people” do not tell reporters they were surprised for only being indicted for second degree rioting.
They do not establish dubious money-raising “educational charities,” and then spend most of that money on concerts and flowers; and then publicly claim they are voluntarily donating their services while telling the IRS they intended to pay themselves $30,000 a year.
I do not believe that “good people” publish the Ohio National Guardsmen’s home addresses and then urge their fellow activists to harass them at their homes. That site was removed from the internet after the Plain Dealer started asking questions, but that is what I call vengeance. It is all documented in my book, which Chic and Alan do not want people to read.
Due to space limitations, I am not even going to get into the question of whether or not her brother’s provocations on May 4 were the final straw that broke the soldiers’ backs. I just want to say there were plenty of people who truly deserve to be honored for their real “search for the truth,” but their names certainly are not Alan or Chic Canfora.
* Footnote: I like to throw in Yiddish words every now and then because it brings out the Canforas' true colors. Alan cannot bring himself to admit three of the four fatalities did not celebrate Christmas. His mother was even more uncomfortable with Jews. I stopped going to the annual commemorations in 1984 after I sat a table the night before with Sandra Scheuer's mother, Sarah, and Alan's mother, Rosemary. Sarah started rambling on and on about a Bar Mitzvah she recently attended, and Alan's mother started literally shaking like a leaf at all the Jewish references. ("Shake, shake, shake; shake, shake; shake" . . .) " Thanks, K.C. and the Sunshine Band, for capturing that moment,)
For more information, read my blog post, "The Alan Canfora Story: The World's Oldest Living Student Radical," Part One and Part Two
Even though the Plain Dealer op-ed resulted in more than 60 requests for ebooks, the Daily Kent Stater refused to tell Kent State's students that books were available for free. They would not write a story after I sent them a press release, and again refused to publish a guest column about the donation. The Stater used to publish guest columns all the time. When I complained the Stater's adviser, she told me my donation was not news. That, of course, was complete and utter bullshit. It was also insulting beyond belief. Do not tell me that not even one student, faculty member, or alumnus would have been interested in reading a free book about the most important event in the university's history, and one of the most shocking episodes in recent American history.
This blog is written by William A. Gordon, a Kent State alumnus and the author of "Four Dead in Ohio" and three other books. It offers commentary on the still unfolding developments in the Kent State shooting case.