Sunday, April 28, 2013

The terror of 1970

Many terror incidents occurred in 1970, many more than we put up with now.  Could we handle it?  Look at this list:

It was only the second day of the year when it began.  An explosion at an electrical substation in Oakland, California damaged some transformers but did not succeed in disrupting the electrical grid.  No one was ever arrested.

The very same day members of an anti-war group threw a bomb at the ROTC offices in Madison Wisconsin.  During that week there were other bombs thrown at the primate lab and a number of military installations.

Less than two weeks later someone firebombed a department store in Seattle in retaliation for the owner killing someone attempting to rob the store.

Later that month several other bombs were thrown at police, and in a shooting incident two cops were injured.

During February, several bombs were detonated by a Puerto Rican independence organization.  That same month brought the first terrorist attack with significant fatalities when seven were killed by a fire intentionally set in a Jewish senior citizens home in Munich, Germany.  The exact identity of the group responsible has still not been definitively established.

The first U.S. fatality was also recorded in February when a pipe bomb set at a San Francisco police station killed a police sergeant.  Later that month  a Palestinian terrorist group put bombs in a Swissair flight headed to Tel Aviv, killing 40.  A second bomb on a second flight also went off, but the pilots were able to make an emergency landing.

In March, two supporters of a national black leader were killed by a car bomb, and a director of a state civil rights commission was shot and killed in an attack police believed was politically motivated.  Earlier that month a four-story townhouse in New York City was leveled and three killed when a bomb being assembled went off prematurely.

In May, anti-war protests turned deadly when several unarmed students were shot and killed by law enforcement, setting off a series of riots and protests.  Puerto Rican nationalists also detonated bombs this month, injuring ten in New York city.

In August attention returned to Madison, when a building is blown up, killing one, on the U of Wisconsin campus.  The building was later proven to have been involved in secrete defense work.

That same month a black radical took a judge hostage in Marin county California, attempting to negotiate the release of three other radicals who were on trial for murdering prison guards they claimed had unjustly shot prisoners.  Four kidnappers and five hostages exited the building and in a subsequent shoot-out with police three kidnappers and the judge were killed.  The next month a different left-wing group bombed the courthouse and in an apparent attempted jail break the remaining kidnapper was killed in a conflict in which three prison guards were killed.

In October a bomb exploded outside a church in San Francisco, injuring those attending a funeral for a police officer killed in a bank holdup.

In December, members of a Jewish terrorist group bombed the offices of the Russian airline in New York City.

The year that was

The year just described was 1970.  The source for this chronology was National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START).   Their database includes dozens of additional, mostly non-fatal, politically motivated bombings and shootings from that year.

In other words, there was a pace of terror attacks going on in the United States that was much higher than we are currently experiencing.