THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRAZY GET READY FOR SOME WEIRD STUFF HERE WE GO KIDS, I had to do some serious research to get all the facts for this week’s story straight, but we’re talking about how Patty Hearst got kidnapped and the court’s response. Think back to your days in America History class, remember that guy William Randolph Hearst the guy who pretty much invented mass media in America and controlled everything that was printed, so yeah that were flooded with CA$H. His son, Randolph Apperston Hearst, was the father of our star, Patty Hearst.
On February 4, 1974 Patty, at the age of 19 Patty was living with her fiance Stephen Weed in an apartment while attending UC Berkley. It was just a casual night, they were reading and chillin’ when there was a knock at the door, the fiance opened the door to a group of men who came into her apartment knocked out Weed and blind folded Hearst. She was then beat with a wine bottle, kidnapped, and trapped in a closet for 57 days.
Her captors were the Symbionese Liberation Army. They literally made up the word ‘Symbionese’ it doesn’t mean anything. Dictionary.com defines it as it is outlined in the groups manifesto … I swear to God, google it and only her kidnapping shows up. Anyway, the SLA was a radical activist group led by Donald DeFreeze who had escaped from prison in 1973, It has been assumed it was a terrorist group established for the sole purpose of social revolution through violence, only two years before the kidnapping a bomb factory affiliated with the SLA was found by police and in November of 1973 the SLA shot and killed the superintendent of Oakland schools with bullets laced with cyanide.
So the SLA took pictures of Patty with machine guns, and sent pictures and voice recordings to her parents saying she was okay but they needed to help feed the poor, requesting $70 in food to be distributed for every person from Santa Rosa to Los Angeles.
BUT somehow the Hearsts could not afford that much, but they could afford $2 million. So they started distributing food to the poor throughout Oakland. The food was distributed by the Black Muslims, formerly run by Malcolm X, and turned into a riot more than 10,000 people showed up and fought over food. So the SLA demanded $6 million more, but the Hearst’s could not afford it, so they did not release Patty.
But here’s the cool part. When they let her out of the closet and took the off blind fold, she loved all of her captors. Classic Stockholm Sydnrome. Awesome. (But not really). Only two months after her kidnapping, a voice recording from Patty was leaked worldwide in which she claimed she had voluntarily joined the SLA and her new name was Tania. After that, she became involved in SLA criminal activity such as bank robbery and extortion.
Just before the tapes went out, she was seen having helped the SLA rob the Hibernia Bank in San Francisco. About a month later, on May 17th, the FBI was given the location of the SLA headquarters. The FBI raided and threw poisonous gas canisters into the home, killing DeFreeze and four other SLA members, but Patty was not in the house.
The heiress was eventually found by the FBI on September 18, 1975 and she was sentenced to 35 years in prison after being convicted for bank robbery. Thankfully, she was released in 1979 by Jimmy Carter who reduced her sentencing to less than 2 years and was pardoned by Bill Clinton in 2001.
Even though Patty had been raped, kidnapped, coerced, isolated and brainwashed she was still found guilty. The prosecution suggested Patty had had prior relationships with the SLA and had taken planned her own kidnapping. There is no evidence to support this theory.
This is an interview of Patty with Larry King, it’s kind of heart breaking hearing how the police did very little to help her, and even more they were actually trying to find reasons to arrest her.
This story shows the interesting establishment of cult culture beginning in the 70’s that have been a strange phenomenon in American culture for centuries, but gaining widespread support in the recent decades, along with ideas of psychological effects of kidnapping on hostages. But it also brings to light a juxtaposition in what we think of as the wealthy elite being pardoned for all crimes, yet Patty was still found guilty after obvious abuse.