The 1970’s saw an exponential spike in domestic crime. By the end of the decade the emergence and development of a serial killer became romanticized and incredibly distorted. Because people had access to weapons and a range of victim options, it became easier and easier for murders to occur. Like today, talks of gun control sparked in response to this decade of vicious crime, yet no reform came out of the ordeals. The rise in crime during the 1970’s surely inspired the creation of Chicago, as well as the responses, both federal and social.
- Manson Family and the Tate Murders.
- On August 9th, 1969, four members of the Manson Family broke into the home of actress Sharon Tate in Beverly Hills. Tate, her unborn child, guests Abigail Folger, Wojciech Frykowski, and Jay Sebring, along with the caretaker’s visitor Steven Parent, were all viciously murdered in the house. The Mason Family, led by Charles Manon, committed numerous violent crimes and murders. They became infamous for the high-profile murders from the Tate house. Eventually, Manson and some of his followers were apprehended on charges of homicide including the Tate Murders.
- Zodiac Killer
- The Zodiac Killer committed murders in the 1960s and 1970s, but his identity is still unknown. After he killed, he would sent cryptic messages to authorities including encoded messages including his name. These encryptions have never been solved and the cases remain open.
- Supreme Court and the Death Penalty
- At the time the first production of Chicago the musical hit the stage, America was in a debate about the constitutionality of the death penalty. Some claimed that it was cruel and unusual punishment, and others suggested different guidelines. The Supreme court ruled agaisnt the death penalty in 1972, and then reinstated it in 1976.
- Assassination Attempts on Gerald Ford
- On September 5th, 1975 Lynette Fromme attempted to assassinate President Ford near the California Capitol. Fromme was a follower of Charles Manson. She did not succeed, and Secret Service tackled her to the ground before she could fire a shot.
- On September 22nd, 1975 Sarah Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President Ford as he was leaving the Saint Francis Hotel in Sacramento, California. President Ford had just given an interview in which he clearly stated that he was against what we could now calls Gun Reform. As he walked out of the interview Moore fired a shot and a bystander instinctively tackled her to the ground. President Ford was rushed off in the waiting car. Moore was a “mentally unstable former FBI informant and accountant.”
- Jim Jones and the People’s Temple
- Jim Jones lead a massive group of people to believe that he was the next Messiah. He created the Peoples Temple and led through manipulation, fear, and brainwashing. When tensions got rough in the United States, the cult transferred the Jonestown, Guyana. When reporters arrived the document the conditions of the settlement, some people wanted to leave. At the departure of the reporters and a handful of ex-followers, men loyal to Jones shot and killed most of the reporters. The next morning 909 people were found dead in the settlement. Jones influenced, or forced, his followers to drink cyanide-laced Kool-Aid. It is unknown if all of the followers knew what they were drinking.
- Arson in the Bronx
- From the 60’s all the way into the 80’s, The Bronx saw most of its borough burning, peaking in the 70’s. It was a trend that was out of control. The masses of burning buildings has been described by eyewitnesses as “the end of the world.”
- Son of Sam Murders / The .44 Caliber Murderer
- David Berkowitz, a.k.a Son of Sam or the .44 Caliber Murderer committed drive-by style homicides in New York City in the late 70’s. He claimed to be under demonic possession of a man named Sam who lived in his head and demanded blood. Berkowitz shot people, mostly women, walking down the street, in their cars, and even on their porches. He also sent threatening letters to authorities. A traffic ticket eventually led the police to identifying Berkowitz as the perpetrator. At a press conference after his conviction, Berkowitz stated that he had lied about being possessed, but he felt he needed to lash out against society, particularly women.
- Weathermen Group / Weather Underground
- The Weathermen group came out of the peaceful protests of MLK, but they believed that without violence nothing would change. They began bombing various locations, but when four Weathermen were killed in a bomb-making gone wrong, the FBI investigated and the rest of the Weathermen became the Weathermen Underground. Through the 70’s the Weather Underground terrorized the United States.
- Ted Bundy
- When Ted Bundy died in the electric chair in 1989, he had admitted to 30 murders, although it is highly possible that he was responsible for more. Bundy would kidnap, rape, and mutilate his victims, all women, who tended to look like his ex-girlfriends. He would also sleep with the corpses until the stench and disfigurement became unbearable. He also decorated with the heads of his victims. His murders occurred during the 70’s and he would often prey near college campuses. Bundy was also versed in law and represented himself at his trial. He became a media sensation for his “charisma, charm, and attractiveness.” These were traits which he used in coercing his victims. During his trial, girls obsessed over him and even protested for his innocence. He became an American sex symbol.
The Seventies. Prod. Tom Hanks. CNN, 2015. Television.
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