Time Bomber Book Videos, with other odds and ends


Thursday, July 18, 2013


- Full First Chapter: January 7, 1972: The Beginning of an Exciting Month -

This short chapter could have been an introduction as well.  This chapter is now the introduction.  It covers what was going on at the time this story erupted across America on television and in print.

This is the only chapter of the book that is posted here in full.
ack in January 1972, I was a 10 year old technology and news geek in Matteson, Illinois.  It was a remarkable time to be a lad with those interests.  For years, it seemed, every single day the news mentioned a hijacking,[1] bombing, attempted bombing, the occasional domestic biological warfare plot,[2] or high-profile kidnapping.  For many of you reading this today, I am here to tell you, post 9/11 America is pretty darn calm.  Even the week of 9/11/2001 was calm compared to January 1972, and you really should count your blessings.
Knowledge of terrorism from that period is not only lost on the young.  A few years later, when I left Chicagoland for the Tennessee Valley, I discovered that much of this terrorism news was ignored or forgotten outside of the larger cities. 
The institutional amnesia effect was confirmed yet again at the family Independence Day picnic the year I write this, 2013.  I asked one of my aunts if she remembered the November 1972 hijacking of Southern Airways flight 49, a flight that made national news when the hijackers wanted to crash the plane into the nuclear reactor at Oak Ridge National Labs.[3]  One of the hijackers, Louis Moore, was from Knoxville, Tennessee (where I write) and still lives here.  Nope, she did not remember a bit of that, but she remembered the “streaking” craze on the University of Tennessee campus. 
I remembered the hijacking, as a youngster in the Chicago suburbs, because my mother’s family is from the area targeted by the hijackers.  I remembered the streaking craze too, but I just don’t find that as important an issue as hijackings, bank bombings, and home grown biological warfare attacks. 
It was not just here in East Tennessee, throughout my life I’ve met people reared in every corner of the country who had no idea that between January 1, 1969 and April 15, 1970 there were over 8,200 bombings, attempted bombings, and bomb threats attributed to “student unrest” alone.[4]  In 1970 there were over 450 terror attacks in the USA, and the next year, just a shade over half that many.[5]  Of course, different people “score” these events differently.  So, for every number I reference, other sources have different numbers.  Dennis Sodomka, of the Chicago Daily News, reported in January 1972 that in California alone “more than 100 bombs explode every month.”[6]  The fact remains, whatever source you use, that era was very active in bombings, attempted bombings, and hijackings. 
Perhaps the reason this case stood out for me, the case of the time bomber, is because it was near the end of a long series of terrorist events, and it was so different from the others in the US. 
These days, never a terrorist attack goes by that I don’t mutter, “That is not as unique or new as they are making it out to be.”  I said that about the Boston Marathon bombing of 2013, and I said it about the beheading of a British Soldier the same year. 
In this case, an instance of a bomber setting seven-month long time bombs in banks, or on other property, and holding said property for ransom, I have not noticed replicated yet, but I am sure that it is just a matter of time before someone dusts the idea off and it is reported as “unprecedented.”

[1] “Airliner Hijacked by Armed Pair Lands in Florida,” The Evening News, Beacon, NY, January 7, 1972. Accessed June 25, 2013.
[2] “The terrorist mind—a look back at a 1972 plot to poison Chicago,” Chicago Reader, Michael Miner, September 25, 2012. Accessed June 25, 2013.
[3] “Convicted hijacker shares story, details 1972 threat to Oak Ridge,” WBIR-TV May 25, 2011. Accessed July 6, 2013.
[4] Congressional Quarterly, Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report, p. 2726, Volume 28, Part 4, 1970. Accessed June 25, 2013.
[5] “Four Years of US Terror Attacks Listed and Detailed,” Guardian UK, April 17, 2013. Accessed June 22, 2013
[6] “Militants show bomb know-how,” Chicago Daily News, p. 11, January 7, 1972
 Note: This is the only blog post where the footnotes are the same as the book.  They do not reset by chapter, they continue to the end sequentially.

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