Tuesday, September 20, 2016

the last book I ever read (American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, excerpt two)

from American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin:

On the way, DeFreeze’s group referred to each other only by code names, and Cinque—DeFreeze—took the lead in establishing discipline. “Shut up or we’ll kill you!” he shouted from the front passenger seat as soon as they took off. Bill Harris, on the other hand, was impressed with Patricia’s composure, especially compared with the panicked reaction of her fiancé, and he wanted to comfort her. Bill was in the backseat, with Patricia curled up and silent behind him. As Cinque bellowed, Bill Harris—Teko—reached under the blanket and held Patricia Hearst’s hand. She was threatened and reassured at the same time.

The unplanned juxtaposition of terror and kindess in the station wagon would prove typical of Patricia’s time in captivity. The SLA comrades lacked the skills, or even the inclination, to attempt anything as ambitious as a brainwashing. Their schizophrenic treatment of Patricia reflected the muddled thinking within the SLA. Literally and figuratively, the comrades didn’t know what they were doing. But this non-strategy turned out to be a strategy itself, and so the body and the mind of their captive were whipsawed accordingly.

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