Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Art Gallery - William Schroeder (2003)

Written in 2003

William Schroeder was one of the four students shot dead by National Guardsmen at Kent State in May of 1970. This painting is among a series of five -- with a similar visual theme -- remembering Kent State and its four victims.

By remembering what happened then, we reflect on the power of free speech, war and peace, the right to dissent, the power of the state, and excessive force by police and the military. In 2003, these are again important issues in America.

That a significant number of Americans do not remember or know about Kent State is telling; also a bit chilling. In our age of computerized, instant-access, global information, Americans are ignorant about the world around them. To be so chronically uninformed is to court tragedy; to forget past tragedies is to invite future ones. The legendary American Attention Span (what is it down to now, five seconds?) ensures that we will be more easily entertained and disctracted by something else. Probably some crummy reality show on Fox.

Not to bring everybody down, drowning in tragedy, but sometimes, history is important. Take a moment to remember William Schroeder, and Allison Krause, Jeffery Miller, Sandy Scheuer, and what happened on May 4, 1970. Then get off the couch and learn what's happening in the world around you.

And turn off that damn TV.

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