In modern history, the American people have become more mindful of the potential that warfare could actually happen in this country. The concept of ground warfare occurring in one or many of our states is so alien to how Americans live and think that it causes a lot of anxiety to think of it happening. The 911 tragedy added to those fears although they are not new.
While many of the more spectacular 20th century crimes make great movies and make exciting headlines and stories, not all acts done by criminals have any social importance. But the killing of Martin Luther King is far more than just a senseless gunning down of a Baptist minister. It is safe to say that along … Read more
There are some 20th century crimes that are so exotic and amazing that they seem to be scripts for a fantastic movie even more than a real crime. The robbing of Fort Knox or the escape from Alcatraz would fit in that description. And certainly, when it comes to a story of a fantastic crime that baffled authorities and that remains one of the most astounding feats of criminal genius, the stealing of the Mona Lisa has to rank as one of the best.
Charles Manson wanted to be as famous as the Beatles. And while his attempts to achieve legendary status through his music failed utterly, in the end, his fame in many ways accomplished that goal. But instead of being famous for great music as the Beatles are and were, Manson has become a byword for a crazed, cult like figure who directed his followers to perform acts of inhumanity so terrible that they exceeded anything we had seen before in the history of 20th century crime.
There is something about the American mindset that occasionally makes heroes out of criminals. From Jessie James to Al Capone, as much as our law enforcement no doubt wishes it would not happen, infamous criminals fascinates the public. That quirk of the American psychology is one reason that organized crime is mixed into our culture … Read more
It possible that in the history of 20th century crime, there may be no two bank robbers that achieved such a tremendous fan club as Bonnie and Clyde. These two criminals have been able to touch that place in the public imagination that adores notorious criminals in the same way that we have made heroes … Read more
Many prohibition era criminals have become folk heroes and topics of popular movies such as Pretty Boy Floyd and Al Capone. But the rule of organized crime particularly in large urban cities like Chicago is well known. And the viciousness of the battles between warring factions of prohibition gangs was just as real and bloody … Read more
The internet has been one of the most important technical innovations in history. The way we all have access to an entire world of information and entertainment right through our computers is nothing short of phenomenal. But as it often happens, anytime something that creates as much opportunity as the internet does comes along, so do the criminal element to exploit it for wrongdoing. “Cybercrime” is the buzzword that has been created to describe crimes that happen to good people through the internet. And while most cybercrime occurs quietly in an unnoticed way, it is one of the fastest growing kinds of criminal activity in the entire history of 20th century crime.
Unfortunately, criminal activity is not just limited to what we commonly think of as the “criminal element”. Many times, people who are at high levels of power and trust take advantage of the authority they have and commit crimes that can be every bit as destructive as any bank robber or car thief. In the early part of the 1970s, crime at high levels reached its zenith when the it was uncovered that criminal activity had been conducted by the President of the United States, Richard Nixon and his staff and action would have to be taken to bring to justice those involved.
Most crimes have a reason we can all at least understand. But there are some cases in the spectrum of 20th century crime where a very large scale crime is pulled off for mysterious reasons. We know why people rob banks or even do burglary. Most murders have some grounds in a personal dispute or as part of execution of the crime. Even drug related crimes are rational in a way because we know why people take drugs and why that lifestyle can lead to criminal behavior.