In the light of President Nixon's decision to send American troops to Cambodia in 1970, Kent State ignited student- led protests that lasted for days. What started as a peaceful rally in the commons eventually turned into a violent protest with students vandalizing property and fighting police officers. Dave Weber was a part of the planning committee for these rallies. National Guard troops were ordered by Governor Jim Rhodes to neutralize this chaos and it eventually resulted in four student casualties in the early afternoon of May 4th; one of which was a female student who was not a part of the protests.
One day Mr. Weber and his friends were gathered around watching an important message from the president. President Nixon's message was that he needed more troops for Vietnam and was ordering a draft. He also said that he was ending the student affirmative. Mr. Weber and his friends found this to be unfair and unjust, so they decided that they would start protesting. Mr. Weber and his friends had a few protests. Some were symbolic. For example, they held a rally where they buried the constitution to symbolize the death of the rights in America. Other protests were them just stating their rights from the constitution and other documents. For clarification, Weber was never a leader of a protest but was friends with leaders of protests. He, however, did help plan protests and supported his friends' rallies.
The day of the shooting was an important day for Dave Weber as he was finishing up exams that day; nothing too eccentric for him. He and his fiance at the time were looking for something to do in between exams so they decided to head to the library and do some studying before hand. They saw the protesters get riled up and things started to escalate. Mr. Weber and his fiance had finally arrived at the library but quickly realized they were unable to study with all the shouting and other noise so they thought it was best they should just leave campus for a bit. After they left the building, they walked past the National Guard and all the protesters. They had just gotten over the hill past the protesters when they heard gunshots. The gunfire lasted about 10 seconds and would turn out to be extremely traumatizing. Two of Weber's colleagues were near him and both hit the ground purely out of instinct- they had already been to Vietnam and that's what they were trained to do. One of the two friends didn't get up for 3 hours. Weber and his fiance left Kent immediately and returned to their homes.
Although Dave Weber did not have any direct involvement in the protests the day the shots were fired, he helped plan them. He expressed the leadership qualities of courage and character. He and his friends stood for what they thought was right and were not afraid to exercise their right of assembly and freedom of speech. Weber was an example of someone who made the effort to be the change he wanted to see in the United States. He and his peers did, in fact, make an impact later on. Many colleges and universities later were inspired by the example of Kent State and began their own protests.
This event presents a fine illustration of the lack of trust Americans had in the national government during this point of the war in Vietnam and, perhaps, the widening of government power. Many Americans were in strong opposition to the United States' involvement in Vietnam. The way civilians saw it, it was a war between two sides on the other side of the world in which the government decided to intervene without a just reason. The way the government saw it, their political influence on the world was at stake and they needed to stop the spread of communism. A lot of the news, movies, and music of the early 1970's reflected the current situation. Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Neil Young wrote a song with the famous line "Four dead in Ohio". These events were the height of the Cold War in the US and they created a divided nation.