Sunday, November 29, 2015

CNN 70s: "Crimes and Cults"

Last night, I caught up on CNN’s “The 70’s” (or “The Seventies”) with “Crimes and Cults” which overlapped the  “Face of Evil” special report about the Charles Manson Murders.  This report started out with that but moved on to cases like the Hillside, Son of Sam, and Ted Bundy, Sarah Moore’s attempted assassination of Gerald Ford.  The basic link is here.

 The multiple escapes by the psychopathic Bundy, and the threats and plans of “Son of Sam” (subject of a Spike Lee movie. “Summer of Sam”) were shocking.

One interesting fact was that people in many large cities (especially New York, where I was living 1974-1978) violent crime and burglary (even from fire escapes into apartment buildings) was a preoccupation.  It has come to seem that way since then since about 2007 in some cities, like Washington, as crime today seems brazen and connected to nihilism and terrorism. In the South Bronx, buildings were torched, often intentionally by landlords. The episode covered the power blackout if July 13, 1977, which was caused by lightning strikes on plants along the Hudson River farther north.  I was walking near the West Fourth Street station when it happened.  It was a hot night and we didn’t work the next day (in lower Manhattan).  There was a lot of looting in poorer neighborhoods, especially Crown Heights.

The episode also covered the Jim Jones cult in Jonestown, Guyana (the birthplace of Daron Wint in the Washington DC Mansion murders).  Several documentary films cover it better.  The Congressman Leo Ryan who went had people passing him notes that there was trouble.

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