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Fri, 8 Nov 2013
The Student Patty Hearst
Nothing captivates the media more than a kidnapped celebrity or an heiress in a bank heist. Put both together and the media will be in frenzy. Such was the faithful day of February 4, 1974 when the kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst from her apartment in Berkeley, California gripped the country.
The Kidnapping of the Student Patty Hearst
Patricia Campbell "Patty" Hearst was born in San Francisco, California and was the granddaughter of publishing magnate and multi-millionaire William Randolph Hearst. Patty was the third of five children and was living with her fiancé Steven Weed in the apartment where she was kidnapped. Two black men and white woman perpetrated the kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst.
Her kidnapping was orchestrated by the Symbionese Liberation Army (SLA) lead by Donald DeFreeze aka Field Marshall Cinque Mtume. DeFreeze wanted to start a revolution of the poor and commanded absolute worship and loyalty from his followers. To DeFreeze the kidnapping of Patty Hearst would be the first step in his urban revolution.
The kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst went for two months with several negotiations failing. The first was the attempted swapping of SLA prisoners which failed. The next was the demand for the victim's family to donate $70 million worth of food to California's poor; the result was a $6 million dollar donation for the needy of Bay Area.
According to DeFreeze, for the two months that Patty Hearst was in their custody, she was kept isolated and was under threat of death. She was also physically and sexually abused and was coerced by force to record voice messages to alienate her family. Her psychological conditioning was capped by misinformation by blasting her with lies about the gang's oppression by the government.
The kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst, Patty's brainwashing and subsequent actions remain to this day debatable. As a result, the kidnapping became a classic example of Stockholm syndrome. The mental conditioning that Patty went through was enough for her to switch sides.
As weeks passed during her kidnapping, demands from the captors ceased and her parents feared for the worst. At around the first week of April, the brainwashing has done its job and Patty already had a new identity and was presumed loyal to the cause of the SLA that they let her join them in their operation.
The kidnapping became even more controversial when she was seen with SLA company who pulled off the heist at Hibernia Bank on April 15, 1974. At exactly 9:40 A.M., four white women and a black man walked in and declared robbery. Four minutes later, they were able to get away with $10,000 of money and injured two bystanders. During that time, Patty's parents have already prepared for the worst. Their daughter however has spiralled into more beguiling events.
The videotape during the bank heist was put out and interestingly, the missing teen for the past two months was with the perpetrators and was sporting a carbine. An audiotape sent to her parents told of her assuming the name "Tania" while brandishing a carbine with seven-headed cobra, the symbol of SLA.
The police were surprised, the events that rooted from the kidnapping of Patty Hearst has turned into a bank robbery with the kidnap victim herself participating.
Patty was arrested in September of 1974 by an arrest warrant issued against her in an apartment in San Francisco. Her subsequent trial and conviction of bank robbery gathered sensational media coverage. The kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst and the incongruous events during that period were summarized in court as "an act of free will" (on Patty's part of the crime).
The kidnapping of the student Patty Hearst started with her brainwashing and ended with her conviction of bank robbery on March 20, 1976. Pres. Bill Clinton granted her full pardon on January 20, 2001. The media to this day is still confounded by the events of the kidnapping of Patty Hearst and Hearst herself to this day grant interviews about the events with SLA.