Kent State versus Virginia Tech

This past couple of weeks, I have been looking at the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and have made a chart to compare it to what occurred at Kent State. Each event in itself was horrific and drew the attention of the nation. Each incident was covered in the New York Times. The fact that both incidents occurred on a college campus and involved innocent people being killed, the reasons for each were different.

Kent State resulted in four deaths and eight injuries at the hands of the National Guard. According to the New York Times, the gunshots were fired after a protest rally that resulted in tear gas. Ohio National Guard’s defense was that there was a sniper gunshot and the protestors began to storm around the guardsmen. The FBI was called in to investigate the violence and the campus was shut down until the incident began to clear up. The newspaper article identified the issue that was presented and why the National Guard was on the college campus in the first place. At the time of the rally, the war was expanding into Cambodia and raised tension among the college students. There was a government building that was burned down shortly before the incident in Kent State.

Virginia Tech was caused by a single man with a gun. The shooter began his killing of two students who were heading to class. Then visited a science building where the rest of the victims plus the shooter’s body was found. From the article that I found recently after the shooting, the gunman was unidentified. Students that were interviewed stated that his motive was an attempt to find his girlfriend.

There were more comparisons between Virginia Tech and Columbine, such as it occurred the same week with an eight year difference. A strong similarity to the Kent State massacre was the reaction of the public and the effectiveness of the nation. The FBI was used in an effort to identify who the killer was and the president gave his condolences for the everyone that was affected by it. The newspaper article’s description of both Kent State and Virginia Tech gave the description of blood-stained pavements/sidewalks. How both incidents were depicted and described showed the seriousness of what happened. Although the Kent State article had a tone of blame towards the National Guard and the Virginia Tech, a tone of sadness and despair, both represented the level of safety there is on college campuses and the impact each had on history.


2 thoughts on “Kent State versus Virginia Tech

  1. This is a really great post comparing Virginia Tech with Kent State. All of your comparisons are valid points. Something interesting to think about though is the comparison of the weapons used in each case. The shooting at Kent State obviously held much different weapons from those used by the shooter at Virginia Tech. It would be interesting to see if the media had a certain sway one way or the other on the weapons used during each attack. Another thing to think about would be the delayed response after the event. Obviously people feel differently about Kent State now than they did immediately following the shooting, the same can be said about Virginia Tech to a degree (people realize that the shooter was not necessarily acting purely out of aggression but instead was not mentally stable). It would be interesting to note the changing attitudes toward both events as time passes.

    Hope some of this offers inspiration for your topic, good post!

  2. C – This is an interesting comparison, but I also think there’s quite a few dissimilarities, obviously. It would have been helpful if you provided the links to the articles you used because clearly we know the VT shooter’s name today. The way your post is written it makes it sound as if it’s still a mystery.

    More generally, I think your post points to the fact that college campuses have been the scene of mayhem and violence via gunfire. I agree with JK that the issue of weapons would be a good way to go. Do you know why the NG came on campus with live ammo? That’s an important issue. Check the FBI report.

    Good work!

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