Politics, personal lives intersected for those close to Kent shootings

Anita and Larry Rutledge of Dellroy speak with Dean Kahler before Thursday's panel discussion about the May 4, 1970 shootings at Kent State University.

NEW PHILADELPHIA – The May 4, 1970 shootings that killed four students at Kent State University were both personal and political for six panelists who spoke about the subject at the library last week.

East Canton’s Dean Kahler spoke calmly when he talked about milking cows on the family farm, being a conscientious objector to all wars, and the shot in the back that left him a paraplegic.

He said he “went through Hades” while recovering from injuries that included broken ribs and resulted in the removal of his left lung.

“Kent State was a watershed in my lifetime. I really had only one bad day at Kent State, and that was May 4th,” Kahler said in a matter-of-fact tone. “I’m lucky to be alive. I’m very thankful to be alive.”

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But his voice broke and he spoke haltingly when he said that until his father died in 2016, he regretted that his son was shot with the same kind of rifle he carried during World War II in the South Pacific.

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