70’s Agitator Randy Garner Discusses Kent State Shooting & Political Assassin Target in Tucson

John Cleary was one of nine students wounded by Ohio National Guardsmen. [Kent State University Libraries. Special Collections and Archives. KSU News Service]

Randy W. Gardner, age 60, was a former mental health therapist for thirty years. He was shot  at the 2011 Tucson Safeway shooting (1) time in the foot. This was Gardner’s second brush with death. Gardner was a liberal 60’s/70’s hippie rioter, who was heavily involved in protesting against the Vietnam War at Ken State University. AZ Central reports , It was only much later, as he lay on the ground with a bullet wound in the right foot that his mind hurtled back: May 4, 1970. Kent State University.”

“Here I am again,” he thought, “dodging bullets.” “As a sophomore at Kent State, Gardner had joined a group of students protesting the Vietnam War, when members of the Ohio National Guard suddenly opened fire. He sprinted toward a field and “hit the ground” to avoid the bullets. Later, he discovered four of his classmates were killed, including a girl from his English class. More than four decades later, his political inclinations would once again throw him into a landmark national tragedy.”  

The following interview was republished from Kent State University Library Archives. This is Gardner’s recollection of the Kent State Shootings & his role in being an “outside agitator.” In 2011, he was again shot at during the Tucson Safeway shooting, admitting his political inclinations could have made him a target in AZ Central. 

When he begins to discuss the Tucson shooting (Last half-hour), he talks about how we need more gun control and multiculturalism in America.