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Patty Hearst

When did you first hear the term “Stockholm Syndrome”? Does any particular person or event come to mind when you hear the term? Do you know what the term means? The simple answer is that someone suffers from Stockholm Syndrome when they are say, kidnapped by someone, and that person begins to feel sympathy toward their captor(s) and even tries to defend their actions. One of the most famous incidents of a “Stockholm Syndrome capture” is that of Patty Hearst.

It was February 1974 when Patty Hearst, age 19, was captured by a left wing urban guerrilla group who called themselves the "Symbionese Liberation Army", or, the SLA, for short. Patty Hearst was kidnapped by the group from her apartment in Berkley, California. An apartment she shared with a man named Steven Weed, whom she considered to be her fiancee at the time.

Hearst comes from a wealthy family as her grandfather was media magnate, William Randolph Hearst. Patty Hearst was kidnapped and her ransom was that jailed SLA members were to be released. When that failed to happen, the SLA then demanded that Hearst's father, Randolph Apperson Hearst, distribute seventy dollars worth of food to every poor person in California, which at the time, would have cost an estimated four hundred million dollars. Randolph Hearst responded by distributing approximately six million dollars worth of food to the poor.

The SLA, not happy with the quality of the food that was distributed, refused to release Hearst and even Hearst herself said that her father could have done a better job with the food. Two months later, Patty Hearst herself said on tape that she had joined the Symbionese Liberation Army and was even later photographed holding a rifle during a bank robbery. She then began to refer to herself as “Tania”, apparently renouncing her Hearst name.

It wasn't until September 1975 that Patty Hearst was finally captured by the FBI along with another member of the SLA. The defensive claim of her being a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome, was rejected by the court, and she was ordered to face trial for her crimes.

It was this day in history, March 20, 1976, that she was found guilty and sentenced to thirty-five years in prison. However, she only did about two years when President Carter commuted her sentence and she received a full pardon in 2001 by President Bill Clinton.

Do you think she was a victim of the Stockholm Syndrome or do you think that she was mad at her family and decided to join the SLA because she believed in what their causes were? Talk about in the forum.

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