Mississippi Violence

There is a slightly hollow ring to Governor Barnett's attempt to blame the Sunday night riots at the University of Mississippi on "inexperienced, nervous, and trigger-happy" Federal marshals. His pious requests for law and order have not undone the many years of demagoguery and defiance.

At the same time, Attorney General Kennedy's statement that Federal authorities were not prepared to deal with the situation because they had accepted the Governor's assurances that "law and order would be maintained by the state police" is a little hard to believe. Last Sunday was certainly not the time to start depending upon Barnett's pronouncements. Three thousand troops were eventually required to quell the disturbance. Had enough of them been on hand at the University from the start, instead of a mere 400 marshals who were hardly trained or equipped for riot control, the arrival of James Meredith might have been far less bloody.

In short, the fact that Governor Barnett's actions over a long period helped to bring on the recent disorders should be little reason for the federal authorities to congratulate themselves. They must share the blame for what they had the power to prevent.