Ohio
By Maureen

Disclaimer: Music is by CSN&Y, fic is by me, no money of course. This is based on a true story at Kent State University back in the 70's and while I don't think it needs a mature rating, I could be wrong, so you've been forewarned.

***

The boy with the dred-locks and face of a pretty-boy was passing out fliers to everyone that walked past him. His clothes were ratty and old, the faded green paper-thin shirt hung off his lean body. Catie took the proffered flier when it was thrust at her and shoved it in her pocket without looking at it.

Idly she wondered why he wasn't in the military like everyone else was. Ever since the war with China broke out two years ago it had seemed as though everyone had enlisted. Tyler, Val and Hank were in the medical corps and last time she had received a letter from Val it said they were all in various parts of China that the US had taken control of. Val couldn't be more specific in case the letter was intercepted or monitored.

Catie pulled the flier out of her pocket, skimming it quickly. There was going to be a peaceful anti-war protest on the main quad later that day at noon. Fair enough, she'd go. She hated this war and hated that she too was actually going to officer cadet school while she was in college. Everyone was enlisted right and there seemed to be no end in sight.

Sighing she sat down on a bench in front of the library, glancing down at her outfit, or, more importantly, her lack thereof. She was wearing basic air force camouflage, the standard uniform of officers in training. Almost every student still on campus at Virginia State was in OCS. Her long black hair was pulled back in a braid and pinned to the nape of her neck. Gone was her makeup and jewelry. All she wore now were tiny silver studs in her ears.

How odd it was, she reflected, that she was the only one still in college now. Of the all the bleacher junkies she was the only one who had gone to college and the super squad had dropped out for the war.

Opening the front pocket of her backpack she pulled the letter out the last that Jamie had sent her. It was short and uninformative but all his letters were. He had joined the navy on his 18th birthday and had left for basic a few days after graduation. He had looked smart in the picture he had sent her from the end of basic, all serious and military. Shaking her head, she pulled the Polaroid photo out of the envelope and thought how dumb he had looked with his head shaved. Thankfully he had been able to grow his hair back to where it had been before he enlisted and he looked so much better now.

The picture was of him and two of his navy buddies on deck of their ship, the USS Carney. Jamie looked cute in his dungarees, smiling with his hands making peace signs for the camera. Peace. What they all wanted.

Catie headed towards her dorm room and quickly changed out of her uniform and into jeans and a red t-shirt. She was no where near the prep that Val was but she had begun to dress more 'normal' since, as an officer cadet, uniqueness in and out of uniform was frowned upon. Her roommate was already gone, leaving a note saying to join her at the rally.

Catie headed out again, surprised at the hundreds of students on the grass. Not all of them could be in college, Catie thought to herself, not with so many gone right now. Riot police were spaces around the group and when Catie looked up she saw more police in riot gear up on the roofs of the surrounding buildings. This is a peaceful protest; Catie thought to herself, why are they expecting a riot?

She wandered around the crowd looking for her roommate and finally found her sitting with some other friends on the outside. "Hey," Catie said, sitting down with them.

"Hey," they replied, waiting for something to start. After a few minutes the guy with the dreds pulled out a bullhorn and began to speak about the war, the deaths and killing and how the US was losing badly. How he asked, could a government be so stupid, sending their children en mass to die for their own mistake? If Bush had only apologized to China for that plane as the Chinese culture dictated they would never have had a reason to go to war in the first place!

Tin Soldiers and Nixon comin'
We're finally on our own
This Summer I hear the drumin'
Four dead in Ohio

For nearly three hours they sat on the green, different people telling stories against the war and government over the bullhorn, the police never wavering. Catie sat there and listened to it all, agreeing with every word. So far, she had been lucky. None of her friends had died, yet, but that didn't mean much. They could get posttraumatic stress syndrome, depression, or who knew what chemical goodies the Chinese had prepared?

Got to get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should a been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

In the peripheral of her vision, Catie saw the police on the building crouch down, but thought nothing of it. They had merely changed positions to be more comfortable. Before she could realize what was happening, tear gas canisters exploded above them. Instantly, Catie tried to keep her nose and mouth covered and get out of there, she knew it would turn ugly quickly. Her eyes watering and burning, she tried to get away from the now riotous mob. She had no defense against the police and a bullet pierced her chest. Catie fell to the ground and within seconds she realized that not only was she going to die, but that the police were firing on the crowd.

La - La

"Jamie," she whispered, not registering the screams of fear around her. "Save me."

Got to get down to it
Soldiers are cutting us down
Should a been done long ago
What if you knew her and
Found her dead on the ground
How can you run when you know

Nearly an hour later the police responsible for the shooting had been arrested and more police had arrived along with paramedics and news crews to clean up. Only 10 people had been wounded, and although 10 was too many, the police were amazed that out of 61 bullets fired only 14 had hit people.

Four died that afternoon, Catie and the boy with dreds among them. She was awarded the rank of lieutenant posthumously and Jamie, her listed next of kin was given the Air Force Cross and the Meritorious Service Medal for her deeds.

Tin Soldiers and Nixon comin'
We're finally on our own
This Summer I hear the drumin'
Four dead in Ohio

When Petty Officer First Class James Waite spoke at her funeral he asked, "Have we come to such a state in this country that a young girl has to be shot because she disagrees deeply with the actions of her country? I hope those at the protest were not killed or wounded in vain."

***

A/N: --the USS Carney is a real destroyer ship in the Navy; I picked it because I thought the name was neat.
-- PTSS is a real disease that is possible to get after ANY stressful/dangerous situation, although most commonly found in war veterans.
-- This fic is not anti-Chinese, I merely used this current "situation" with the "detained" crew from the US "weather plane" that collided with a Chinese "weather plane" on the Chinese border recently.
-- Jamie's speech was paraphrased from a news release by one of the fathers of a female victim of the Kent State shooting during a peaceful anti-Vietnam rally and was used without permission with only the utmost respect intended.