A Louisiana State University fraternity issued a formal apology to the Kent State University family after its members hung a sign from the frat house that read, “Getting massacred is nothing new to Kent St”. The sign was on display in time for the home game at LSU against Kent State.
Someone really thought this would be funny? Even with a lot of testosterone and a lot of sports-inspired school spirit, someone thought this would be funny? Sure, it’s possible that alcohol was involved. (I never belonged to a fraternity, so I can only go with what I’ve heard about them from friends who were members; stories they’ve told me over the years leave little room for doubt that alcohol may well have been part of the equation here, although anything is possible.)
Four Kent State students were killed and nine others were wounded on May 4, 1970, when the Ohio National Guard opened fire on students as they were attempting to disperse a Vietnam War protest on campus. The precise reason for the first shot remains unclear, but a total of 67 shots were fired and the event was labeled the Kent State Massacre.
Even 43 years after the event itself, joking about such a tragedy is no laughing matter. For most people, that is likely common sense. One would think that even on a college campus, considering the fact that it was college students who died while attempting to protest, there would at least be some degree of reverence for the fallen students, especially when one considers how important the right of free speech tends to be for college students.
In the apology, the students admit that the sign was a poor attempt at humor, then add:
We, as young college students, did not grasp the full scoop of the tragedy and it’s long lasting effects. This is not how we would like to represent our fraternity as well as our school, and we certainly hope we did not put a negative spin on your school’s visit to Louisiana State University.
I see no reason why “young college students” couldn’t grasp the full scoop — or even the full scope — of the tragedy and its painful memories. Someone reportedly called LSU Police about the sign, and the fraternity removed it as soon as police showed up and asked that it be taken down. It’s a shame it actually took police to make that happen.
At least the apology came relatively quickly, as well.