Friday, July 31, 2015

CNN 70's: "Reign of Terror: Terrorism at Home and Abroad": this came as much from the secular ultra-Left as from Islam

CNN continued “The Seventies: One Nation Under Change” (Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman) with “Reign of Terror: Terrorism at Home and Abroad”  link here
The hour long episode stresses that national awareness of terrorism started in 1970, particularly with the hijacking of four planes headed toward the Middle East, leading to the implementation of security screening at airports, which would not change significantly until after 9/11 in 2001.  There indeed a “September 11, 1970”.

The documentary briefly covered the attack on the Munich Olympics in 1972, by Black September.  Wordwide, attacks on civilian populations within the Middle East escalated sharply in the 1970s, including an attack on a school in northern Israel.  “Munich was so shocking because we televised it.”
Toward the end, the documentary briefly covered the Iran hostage crisis starting in 1979. 

But much of the terrorism was secular.  There was a massive explosion in Greenwich Village in 1970, eventually attributed to the Weather Underground. 

The worst case from an individual perspective may have been the kidnapping of Patty Hearst by the ultra-Left Symbionese Liberation Army.  Hearst eventually took on the ideology (maybe under force) and participated in bank robberies and was convicted, although her sentence was eventually commuted.

I can recall “sitting in” on a couple sessions of the People’s Party of New Jersey in 1972, and there were members there who had no shame about advocating violence to force change, which is pretty much the case for most of recorded history.  The ultra-Left wanted to do with inherited wealth and with all of capitalism.

In Britain, the IRA was carrying on attacks in Belfast and eventually mainland England.  One member of the royal family was killed.
I did not give the issue much thought then as to my personal safety.  I flew for work a lot in 1973-1974 when working for Univac, and then flew to most personal vacation destinations, including the West Coast at least four times, Canada at least twice, and northern Europe once.  I felt more likely to be affected by the energy and gasoline crises. The idea that Communist guerillas could actually enter the country and wreak havoc, though, was taken somewhat seriously and happens in one of my novel manuscripts from 1981. 

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