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June 29, 1970

Violence Forms

JAMA. 1970;212(13):2255. doi:10.1001/jama.1970.03170260051013

Violence is a way of life—more so at some times than at others. Now is one of those times.

Violence is not unique to our present civilization, nor is war a necessity to its expression. In fact, involvement of the United States in the war in Southeast Asia has become a reason for violence on campuses throughout the nation. With the entry of US troops into Cambodia early in May, campus violence accelerated—reached one climax at Kent State University, Ohio. There, following a night when 3,000 students had torn up the town and set fire to the ROTC building, Governor James Rhodes ordered out the National Guard. In the ensuing confrontation, the guardsmen defended themselves against rock-throwing students by shooting into the crowd. Four students were killed, 11 wounded. And the nation mourned.

Nearly always, the perpetrators of violence believe that their acts were justified. Steele1 notes that this