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Patricia Hearst And The Symboinese Liberation Army

1316 words - 6 pages

Social status can affect a person greatly, even in criminal cases. An event pertaining an impact of social status is the case of Patricia Hearst and the Symboinese Liberation Army. Patricia Hearst (Patty) is an American socialite and best know to be the granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, who founded the Hearst media empire. While attending the University of Berkeley, in California, she was abducted by a terrorist group called the Symboinese Liberation Army (SLA) on February 24th, 1974. The group first attempted to claim a large sum of ransom from the Hearst family. The Marxist group of terrorists was formed at the University of Berkeley and believed in the union of all the races ...view middle of the document...

During her trail for the robbery, Hearst stated that she was forced by the leader of the group to create these audiotapes and participate in the crimes. A month after the bank robbery, in May of 1974, two members of the group, Emily and William Harris, robbed a sporting goods store with Hearst as the get-away-car driver. As a result, numerous Americans believed that she had officially left her old life behind and joined her kidnappers. Two months after her own kidnapping, Patty Hearst denounced her family and old lifestyle and announced that she had joined the SLA and started participating in crimes with them.
When Patty was caught by the FBI and tried, she pleaded that she was not guilty and that she had suffered from brainwashing and Stolkholm syndrome during her time being captive. Hearst was nowhere to be found and traveled around the country with two other members of the group in order to avoid being captured. “The FBI had launched one of the most massive, agent-intensive searches in its history to find Hearst and stop the SLA.” After Hearst was caught, she was tried for her participation in the bank robbery, and said that it was brainwashing that caused her to cooperate with the SLA. Brainwashing originated from the Chinese, it is directly translated from the Chinese phrase “xi nao” which means to purify ones thoughts. Although the idea of brainwashing became more known in the western world, many Americans overlooked the idea of brainwashing because such events were not happening in America and were categorized as foreign propaganda. Many believed that they were too evolved and smart to ever be “brainwashed.” Patricia used this term as a justification for her involvement with the SLA. Many psychologists also claimed that Hearst suffered from Stockholm syndrome. Stockholm syndrome first originated from a bank hold up in Stockholm, Sweden in 1973, two robbers held 3 women and 1 man hostage for 6 days and convinced them that the police outside of the bank were planning on killing them. One of the women later even married one of the robbers. Stockholm syndrome was considered a “complex psychological problem” and a “survival mechanism” where a victim bonds with their kidnapper or captor in order to stay alive. The syndrome became widely known in accordance with Hearst’s case, she claimed that the group convinced her that “her parents did not love her.”
Patty Hearst was tried very publically and declared that she was not guilty, yet the jury did not believe her. The case of Hearst it was the most public and media involved court case that the United States had seen up to this point in time. Hearst claimed that her actions with the SLA were a result of intimidation, fear, and brainwashing; she stated that she had been kept in a small closet, blindfolded for two months, and was...

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