Before Barbara Walters became co-host of 20/20, there was Dorothy Fuldheim. Fuldheim was the first woman in the nation to anchor a television news broadcast, as well as, host her own television show. In her more than forty years at WEWS-TV based in Cleveland, Ohio, she would gain international attention when she was able to obtain interviews with both Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini before the start of World War II. Her hard-hitting questions guaranteed viewers were only getting the truth from elected officials and other dignitaries. Though she was an international celebrity, Fuldheim almost lost her standing after making controversial statements about the deaths of four students at Kent State University in the 1970s.
During the time of the War in Vietnam, students took to the streets and protested America’s involvement in the situation. As tensions grew daily between students, university administrations, and law enforcement agencies, the breaking point occurred on May 4, 1970 at Kent State University in Ohio. As students rallied against further deployment of troops in Vietnam, the Ohio National Guard shot 67 rounds of ammo in under 13 seconds, killing four unarmed students and wounding nine others including one who was paralyzed for life. Fuldheim, the fiery red-head, took to the television and made the statement, “What’s wrong with our country? We’re killing our children!” Since she inference to the deaths of the unarmed college students as murder, many viewers felt she was being disrespectful to the National Guard.
As more officer involved shootings of unarmed teens becomes a regular in national news, it seems as though Fuldheim’s question will not be answered anytime soon. Our children are being killed and the outrage by the masses is directed to the child and not the officer. Questions such as, “Why didn’t he just listen to the cop?” or “Where were his parents?” or “If he wasn’t so angry maybe the officer wouldn’t have to have pulled his gun?” ring out after every incident. The sad reality is it is justified for police to shoot and kill unarmed teens, but it is not justified to question their actions.
It is not just police shootings, we send our children to fight in wars instead of spending more educating them. We feed our children junk instead of ensuring they are living healthy lifestyles. We devalue their future potential instead of investing and nurturing the best of them. If it is not the police, it is our community who is killing our children. This cycle of injustice against our children has to stop.
When Dorothy Fuldheim stood up for the victims of the Kent State shooting, many called for her resignation. But her managers believed she was right. Still today, if Fuldheim were still alive she would still be right. “What’s wrong with our country? We’re killing our children!” #ijs