Argument Against Nonviolence

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Throughout history, a cataclysmic sets of events has left an indelible mark on the history of the United States. From the bloodbathed fields of Gettysburg, PA. in the Civil War to the nuclear bombs dropped over Japan in World War II, violence has persisted in the United States as a means to an end. Even today, as rogue terrorist groups claim to fight in the spirit of religion, violence is employed as a means of coercion. Consequently, violence has become a conditioned response in times of crisis in America. However, two men, Gandhi and King, juxtaposed against this position, laid the framework for effective nonviolent resistance years ago. For Gandhi and King, nonviolence wasn’t a passive form of resistance; rather, it was an active form of…show more content…
On Thursday April 30, 1970, President Nixon announced that United States ground troops would cross the border from Vietnam into neighboring Cambodia, which caused students on campus to lead demonstrations. Then, on Friday, the students continued to actively voice their opposition, leading to thousands of other students at campuses across the nation to join them in their cause. However, early in the morning that Saturday, things began to get out of hand with students returning to campus intoxicated. The students were throwing beer bottles, vandalizing property and incited a riot. Over the course of the next couple days, the organized demonstrations gave way to campus wide chaos. Until, Mayor Leroy Satrom made a request to Governor James Rhodes for National Guard troops to quell the protesters. Subsequently, the crowd remained determined and began to confront the guardsmen, leading the situation to spiral out of control. In response, the guardsmen began firing shots at the crowd, shortly after noon on Monday, May 4, killing four and wounding nine (Kent state…show more content…
Both King and Gandhi cautioned that violence breeds more violence, that nonviolent means must be enforced to successfully accomplish their goals. King illustrates this best when he said: “Never could I advocate nonviolence in this country and not advocate nonviolence for the whole world. That’s my philosophy, I don’t believe in the death and killing on either side, no matter who’s heading it up. Nonviolence is my stand and I’ll die for that stand.” (Nojeim 207). Still, Kent State students were successful in regards to being able to draw national media attention to their cause through their demonstrations. In fact, the aftermath of what became known as the “Kent State Massacre,” led to an even bigger demonstration held in Washington. Though the students failed to a great degree by employing violent means to redress change, the event had an everlasting effect on future student protests according to sociologist Jerry Lembcke: “The very effectiveness of the student movement’s mobilizations against the war in Vietnam wrought other changes that mitigate a repeat of that era’s radicalism. Disasters like Kent State taught administrators to never say never to student demands.” (Lembcke). Even though nonviolent means turned to violent means, the Kent State protest illustrate the ugliness of violent means and the need for effective
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