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Born into a wealthy and well- known family Patricia Hearst had luxuries that many kids never grow up with. She lived in a mansion and grew up in catholic schools. Her Parents Randolph and Catherine Hearst were strict with their five daughters. As Patty grew up she became more distant from her parents and decided to go to a public high school.
There is where she met Steven Weed; he was a young teacher who had just graduated from Princeton University. He became her math tutor, but not long after their relationship turned intimate. Although she was only 17 and he was 23, they continued with their secret relationship. (internet) Their relationship continued into college where she went to Menlo College. Patty left to Europe for a summer and, shortly after her return she got engaged to Weed. Her parents did not approve of her choice but there was nothing they can do to stop her. She moved in with Weed at an apartment in Berkeley, California.
On February 4, 1974, the doorbell rang at their apartment. Weed went to open the door. There he saw a nervous women who claimed to have backed her car into another car in the driveway, and needed to use their phone. He had no time to answer before two armed men pushed their way in the door. (Alexander 5) Weed was left on the floor severely beaten.
The abductors dragged Patricia out the apartment and forced her into the trunk of their car. Her screams attracted the attention of her neighbors but they were too scared to do anything. She rode in the trunk for a few minutes and then was switched to the floor of a white station wagon a few blocks away. From there she was taken to the hide out witch turned out to be her prison.
Her abductors turned out to be the Symbionese Liberation Army, who was led by ex-convict Donald De freeze, known as Cinque Mtume. This group took responsibility for the assassination of Marcus Foster, an Oakland school superintendent. Joe Ramiro and Russell Little were arrested for this crime. The SLA abducted Patricia Hearst in order to use her for negotiations to get Ramiro and Little out of jail.
Once they saw the massive media they decided to abandon the plan and focus their attention on more important issues. (Brompton 121) Patty Hearst was imprisoned, she was blind folded and kept in closets for 57 days. She was constantly being put through mental cruelty and torture. Cinque Mtume, would periodically open the door of her prison and shout slogans and propaganda, condemning her as a bourgeois bitch, over-privileged and out of touch with the people. (Internet) All of the captors assured her that if the F. B. I. would try to save her, they would fight them only after the kill her.
So she was ordered to record a message, authored by the SLA, describing her fair treatment and to also plead with her father to meet all their demands. Some of these demands included the distribution of 70 dollars worth of food to be distributed to each and every poor person in California. (Internet) The SLA knew that this offer was impossible to meet, so they used this to convince Patty that her father was a corporate pig who cared more about money than he did about the people, including his own daughter. When he replied to their demands he did exactly what they hopped he called the demand impossible to meet (Internet). These were the methods that they used to brainwash Patty. She became scared, frustrated and confused. By predicting her fathers methods she slowly began to believe that the SLA was right.
She was so badly abused that she got to the point that she did whatever she was told. The SLA believed that sex was a need, and that each member had an obligation to satisfy each others needs. Patricia was told that some of the other members had needs and that the SLA was feeling her more as a member so she must fulfill their needs. As Patty writes: Cin came into the closet, shut the door, and said, take off your clothes, and he had me. I lay there like a rag doll, my mind a million miles away. It was all so mechanical and then it was over.
I said to myself, rationalizing again. well, youre still alive. What did this kind of abuse matter? if I had been raped on a dark side street in Berkley, it would have been the same thing, perhaps worse. If they killed me, after all, none of this would matter one bit. If I somehow survived, perhaps these rapes would have saved life.
My thoughts at this time were focused on the single issue of survival There was no point in objecting to anything anymore, not even in my thoughts. I would have to do anything they wanted in order to survive. At the same time I could not think of any further humiliation to which they could subject me. I did not what to think anymore at all. (Moscow 77) As time went on the SLA began to treat her as a potential candidate to become part of their group.
They began to tell her that all prisoners had the decision to either join or die. Patricia Hearst had to make the decision that would either save her life or get her killed. So she decided to join them. She then gave a public announcement tape saying that she has joined her captors and fight against the corporate ruling class. (Internet) She was given the name Tania, after a comrade who fought alongside Che in Bolivia. (Brompton 34) The Hearst's and Steven Weed were shocked to hear this, they did not believe that she would do such a thing.
On April 15, 1974 she shocked everyone when she and the rest of the SLA robbed the San Francisco branch of the Hibernia bank. The bank cameras caught Patty Hearst holding a weapon and covering her partners. () The whole nation now looked at her as a criminal. After the robbery the SLA move to Los Angeles, there they set up another hiding spot. Cinques ordered missions that groups of three must go out and perform missions.
Patty Hearst, Bill and Emily Harris went out, Bill went into Mel's Sporting Goods and got caught shoplifting. He was wrestled to the ground outside the store but Patty opened fire allowing them to escape. They left their car a few blocks away and stole another, but police found a traffic ticket in the abandoned car. It had the address to the hide out. Police immediately went to the location but only to find it abandoned.
The SLA took refuge in a womens apartment and they werent quiet about which they were. So the police eventually found they house and order massive backup. They had the place surrounded and asked the people to come out. But, they refused to listen, so the police had to use force. They threw tear gas and exchanged about 9, 000 bullets before the house caught on fire and the SLA members were forced to come out but they were shot when they tried to shoot back. (Alexander 200) Patty saw the news in a motel room in Anaheim. She was shocked at what was going on.
Patty and the other two surviving SLA members fled and were missing for about a year until the FBI finally got some hints and caught up to Patty. She was captured with a friend in an apartment, and so were Emily and Bill Harris. Patty was put on trial and was sentenced to five years probation for the Mel's Sporting Goods shootout, and was giving Presidential clemency by Carter for her jail sentencing. I believe that Patty Hearst should have served her sentence because it was her choice to remain with the SLA.
She had many chances to run away form them and just chose to become a member. She did commit crimes and she should have not gotten away that easily. She was a young lady who inspired many young people in the 70 s but she was also a woman who was part of some crimes. In my opinion she was let off easy and should have been punished more. Alexander, Shana. Anyones Daughter The Viking Press, New York, 1979 Baker, Marylin.
Exclusive Macmillan Publishing, New York, Moscow, Alvin. Patty Hearst Avon Books, New York, 1988 Britannica Encyclopedia Volume 5 Page 781 Bibliography:
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