1974 – Patty Hearst kidnapped by the SLA

Patricia Hearst was 19 years old when she was kidnapped from her apartment by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Heir to the Hearst family’s millions, she was originally kidnapped for the ransom money, but soon became a victim of Stockholm Syndrome. On April 3, she announced that she had joined the SLA, adopting the name Tania.

Two weeks later, she participated in a bank robbery alongside other members of the Army, and a warrant for her arrest was issued. She was arrested in September, tried and sentenced to 35 years imprisonment. Later, Hearst was pardoned of all crimes, and became an occasional actress.

Referenced in:
Roland the Headless Thompson Gunner — Warren Zevon

1983 — Karen Carpenter dies

Karen Carpenter was one half of the Carpenters, her brother Richard being the other half. Richard played electric piano (and a variety of other similar instruments), Karen played drums, and both sang – although it was Karen’s voice that was the more popular. Offering a softer, more melodic alternative to the loudness and wildness of Seventies rock (the golden age of heavy metal), they became among the best-selling artists of their age. Their output consisted mostly of covers, such as “(They Long to Be) Close to You” was a #1 hit for them in America, “Please Mr. Postman” and “We’ve Only Just Begun”.

Karen Carpenter was longtime sufferer of anorexia nervosa. She died in 1983 of complications resulting from her anorexia, but in doing so, she helped to bring anorexia into greater prominence, leading to greater attention from the medical and psychiatric community.

Referenced in:
Rock And Roll Hall Of Death — Mitch Benn And The Distractions

1999 — Amadou Diallo is shot dead

Amadou Diallo was only 23 years old, and had only been in New York City for about two and half years at the time of his death. Stopped by police, he was shot dead in the act of reaching for his wallet, when police believed he was going for a concealed weapon (Diallo was in fact completely unarmed). Four plainclothes policemen: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss, fired a total of 41 shots at Diallo, hitting him with 19 them.

Unsurprisingly, all this overkill in the aid of precisely no useful purpose generated a considerable backlash against the NYPD, especially when the four officers were found innocent of all wrong-doing on appeal – even though one of them had shot and killed a different unarmed man two years previously. Although the unit to which the four officers belonged was disbanded as a result of the controversy, all of the men continued to work for the police force for some years after the incident.

Referenced in:
Contempt Breeds Contamination — Trivium
American Skin (41 Shots) — Bruce Springsteen
I Know You Don’t Care About Me — Ziggy Marley
Shot Into History (Trayvon Martin, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell…) — Mario Depeine Sr.