The 1970s gave us gas shortages, a hostage situation, a recession, and some great rock and roll. It also gave us serial killers up the wazoo. Here's just some -
DB Cooper: In 1971, a man hijacked a Boeing 727 between Portland Oregon and Seattle Washington. He got $200,000 assembled by the FBI. They landed in Seattle, let the passengers out and took off with him and the cash giving instructions. He then proceeded to parachute from the plane. No one has identified the man and it is considered unsolved to this day and, in fact, the only unsolved hijacking. In 1980, a boy found packets of money along the Columbia River. There are many suspects, but the case has not been officially closed and people often refer to DB Cooper like a cult hero for getting away with it.
Zodiac Killer: In the late 60s and early 70s, a serial killer tormented Northern Californians. He sent taunting letters to the press claiming to have killed 37. The case has remained open.
Chowchilla School Bus Kidnapping: It was 1976. In Chowchilla, California, a bus was rolling along the roadway with 26 kids on board. The bus was intercepted by masked men who overtook the driver and took off with them all on board. The hostage-takers then put the kids and the bus driver into a buried moving van. The driver and kids managed to stack up mattresses and work their way out of the heavy earth atop of the van and got to safety. The people who performed the kidnapping were caught.
John Wayne Gacy: This man raped and killed 33 boys in the 70s. He buried 26 of them in his basement crawlspace. He worked as a fundraising clown. He was caught and ultimately executed.
Ted Bundy: Assaulted and killed 30 women in the 1970s. This nice looking "boy-next-door" approached women in public and pretended to be an authority figure to lure them away to their deaths. He was caught and executed.
Son of Sam: David Berkowitz terrorized New York in the mid 70s. In 8 shootings he killed 6 people. Near one of the shootings a police officer found this note with many misspellings: I am deeply hurt by your calling me a wemon hater. I am not. But I am a monster. I am the "Son of Sam." I am a little "brat". When father Sam gets drunk he gets mean. He beats his family. Sometimes he ties me up to the back of the house. Other times he locks me in the garage. Sam loves to drink blood. "Go out and kill" commands father Sam. Behind our house some rest. Mostly young — raped and slaughtered — their blood drained — just bones now. Papa Sam keeps me locked in the attic, too. I can't get out but I look out the attic window and watch the world go by. I feel like an outsider. I am on a different wave length then everybody else — programmed too kill. However, to stop me you must kill me. Attention all police: Shoot me first — shoot to kill or else. Keep out of my way or you will die! Papa Sam is old now. He needs some blood to preserve his youth. He has had too many heart attacks. Too many heart attacks. "Ugh, me hoot it urts sonny boy." I miss my pretty princess most of all. She's resting in our ladies house but I'll see her soon. I am the "Monster" — "Beelzebub" — the "Chubby Behemouth." I love to hunt. Prowling the streets looking for fair game — tasty meat. The wemon of Queens are z prettyist of all. I must be the water they drink. I live for the hunt — my life. Blood for papa. Mr. Borrelli, sir, I dont want to kill anymore no sir, no more but I must, "honour thy father." I want to make love to the world. I love people. I don't belong on Earth. Return me to yahoos. To the people of Queens, I love you. And I wa want to wish all of you a happy Easter. May God bless you in this life and in the next and for now I say goodbye and goodnight. Police — Let me haunt you with these words; I'll be back! I'll be back! To be interrpretedas — bang, bang, bang, bank, bang — ugh!! Yours in murder Mr. Monster. He claims in his prison time that he is born again and so far has been denied every parole hearing.
Hillside Strangler: In the 70s, women were raped, tortured and killed by what was termed "Hillside Strangler." The cousins (Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono, Jr) who did these crimes were caught. Bianchi is still serving a life sentence and Buono died of a heart attack in jail.
Dean Corll: "The Candy Man" worked for his mother's candy company. In the early 70s, he tortured and killed 28 boys in Houston. At the time, he was the worst serial killer known. He was convicted for life.
Gary Gilmore: This man was in trouble with the law a lot and in jail, but in 1976 he robbed and murdered a gas station attendant, then he robbed and murdered a motel employee the next night. In January of 77, he was executed and he chose a firing squad. They sat him in a chair with sandbags behind him to absorb the bullets and 5 shooters were behind a curtain with their barrels sticking out of holes. His last words, "Let's do it!"
Jeffrey Dahmer: This monster began his spree in 1978 until 1991. He came to be known as the Milwaukee Cannibal. He killed and dismembered 17 men and boys during his run. He was killed in prison by two inmates and the world was minus one monster.
I look back at the 70s and I recall skateboarding and rollerskating, "Charlies Angels" and KC and the Sunshine Band. I also recall a constant fear about crime from the Charles Manson era and 60s and 70s Hippies/LSD/cults, the Studio 54/cocaine/disco/swingers era. The cautionary tales from the 50s era revisited us in the 70s about all the scariness of parking in cars, doing drugs, stranger danger and more.
I think the 70s had some fine points including environmental movements, but it was also a very tragic decade, not just for the growing crime rate and addictions, but the gas shortage and recession. We were so ready for the prosperous and superficial 80s.
And a new set of killers, apparently. The "Night Stalker" having his time in the LA area when I was living there.