Monday, May 08, 2006

The Hard Hat Riots

On May 8, 1970, four days after Ohio National Guardsmen killed four students and wounded nine others at Kent State University, protesters in New York City were set upon by angry construction workers screaming things like “Love it or leave it!” and “Kill the commie bastards!” So began the "Hard Hat Riots."

There was at least one contemporary news account of workers being offered bonuses by their contractor employers for taking time off to "break some heads." Interestingly, several of the workers came to the Wall Street demonstration from the nearby World Trade Center construction site.

Although the Kent State shootings are generally accepted as tragic today, there were many contemporary law-and-order voices that heartily approved of them at the time.

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