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BLOGGING FROM A TO Z

A 1970’s Time Capsule

NEWS AND NOTEWORTHY

Be sure to visit my Pop Culture post today as well.

The A to Z Challenge has dueling decades going on.  Check out the 1980s theme from a fellow blogger HERE

On February 4, 1974, Patty Hearst, the 19-year-old daughter of newspaper publisher Randolph Hearst, is kidnapped from her apartment in Berkeley, California, by two black men and a white woman, all three of whom are armed. Her fiance, Stephen Weed, was beaten and tied up along with a neighbor who tried to help.

Patty Hearst and Steven Weed before the incident

Patty Hearst and Steven Weed before the incident

Witnesses reported seeing a struggling Hearst being carried away blindfolded, and she was put in the trunk of a car. Neighbors who came out into the street were forced to take cover after the kidnappers fired their guns to cover their escape.

Catherine Hearst, Randolph Hearst, John A. Lester - Feb. 1974

Catherine Hearst, Randolph Hearst, John A. Lester – Feb. 1974

Three days later, the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA), a small U.S. leftist group, announced in a letter to a Berkeley radio station that it was holding Hearst as a “prisoner of war.”

SLA members: Kathleen Soliah, Nancy Ling Perry, Patricia Soltysik, William Harris, Patty Hearst, Donald DeFreeze, Emily Harris, Angela Atwood, Camilla Hall[1]

SLA members: Kathleen Soliah, Nancy Ling Perry, Patricia Soltysik, William Harris, Patty Hearst, Donald DeFreeze, Emily Harris, Angela Atwood, Camilla Hall[1]

Four days later, the SLA demanded that the Hearst family give $70 in foodstuffs to every needy person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles. This done, said the SLA, negotiation would begin for the return of Patricia Hearst. Randolph Hearst hesitantly gave away some $2 million worth of food. The SLA then called this inadequate and asked for $6 million more. The Hearst Corporation said it would donate the additional sum if the girl was released unharmed.

Bank surveillance cameras showed Patty Hearst as a participant

Bank surveillance cameras showed Patty Hearst as a participant

In April, however, the situation changed dramatically when a surveillance camera took a photo of Hearst participating in an armed robbery of a San Francisco bank, and she was also spotted during a robbery of a Los Angeles store. She later declared, in a tape sent to the authorities, that she had joined the SLA of her own free will.

On May 17, Los Angeles police raided the SLA’s secret headquarters, killing six of the group’s nine known members. Among the dead was the SLA’s leader, Donald DeFreeze, an African American ex-convict who called himself General Field Marshal Cinque. Patty Hearst and two other SLA members wanted for the April bank robbery were not on the premises.

Donald DeFreeze

Donald DeFreeze

Finally, on September 18, 1975, after crisscrossing the country with her captors–or conspirators–for more than a year, Hearst, or “Tania” as she called herself, was captured in a San Francisco apartment and arrested for armed robbery. Despite her claim that she had been brainwashed by the SLA, she was convicted on March 20, 1976, and sentenced to seven years in prison.

PattyHearstmug

She served 21 months before her sentence was commuted by President Carter. After leaving prison, she returned to a more routine existence and later married her bodyguard.

Patty Hearst married her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw in 1979.

Patty Hearst married her former bodyguard, Bernard Shaw in 1979.

She was pardoned by President Clinton in January 2001.

A happy Patty Hearst displays the executive grant of clemency as she leaves the Federal Correctional.

A happy Patty Hearst displays the executive grant of clemency as she leaves the Federal Correctional.

All images in this article are in the public domain. For any YouTube clips embedded in my posts, I am not the uploader.
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4 responses

  1. Liam says:

    Such a strange story.

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  2. This was the first I ever herd the term ‘Stockholm Syndrome’ in the news and I guess we will never know if it was the case here. I went to a SDS rally when I was in college (required for a sociology class) and it was interesting to see how people just ‘standing around’ got into the fervor once the rally got going.

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  3. It is definitely easy to get caught up in things. Thanks for reading.

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