I’ve been asked about this a couple of times, so here’s my take…

A new analysis of an audiotape recorded at the time of the May 4, 1970 Kent State shootings suggests — to at least one researcher — that pistol shots were fired not long before National Guard troops opened fire on antiwar protesters on the Ohio campus, killing four students.

In my experience, acoustic analysis is as much art as science, and any one expert’s claim should be taken with a grain of salt. What’s on the tape may be gunfire, and it may not.

Representative Dennis Kucinich is promising to lead an investigation into this new evidence, and that seems warranted. There’s a lot that’s still not known about what happened that day. In particular, Kucinich’s request for FBI documents relating to the Bureau’s relationship with Terry Norman, a Kent State student who was then working as a police informant — and who is known to have carried a gun to campus that day — is welcome.

But this new piece of data doesn’t add much to what we know, at least not yet. It’s an opportunity to ask some questions that have not yet received satisfactory answers, but so far it’s not much more than that.