August 24 - 1970 - The Sterling Hall Bombing
The four young men who planted a car bomb outside Sterling Hall on the campus of the University of Wisonsin-Madison called themselves the "New Years Gang," after a failed bombing on New Years' Eve 1969. Their bombing of Sterling Hall was more successful, but perhaps not more well planned. In addition to blowing up the Army Research Center, the group's intended target, they also killed one researcher and injured three other people. This was despite planting the bomb in the early morning hours and calling in a bomb threat to limit casualties. The bomb was set to oppose the actions of America in the Vietnam War. Really, it only created more alarm about radical left wing violence. The increasingly violent elements of the countercultural left had more visibility and work in 1970, largely thanks to the Weather Underground. Yet the Sterling Hall bombers, Karl Armstrong, Dwight Armstrong, David Fine, and Leo Burt, were not connected to anyone else. They also instantly fled the country. Karl Armstrong was captured two years later, David Fine was apprehended in 1976, and Dwight Armstrong was arrested seven years later. Leo Burt is still on the lam. Most importantly, all four seemed to represent something different about the radical left at the time.