Michael Thomas Barry's blog

Shooting Rampage at Fort Hood Leaves 13 dead and 32 wounded - 2009
Nov 5, 2012, - 0 Comments

Nov. 5, 2012

hasan

Major Nidal Hasan

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 2009, army psychiatrist Major Nidal Hasan kills 13 people and wounds 32 in a shooting rampage at Fort Hood. Early in the afternoon of November 5, Major Hasan, armed with two pistols, allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” (Arabic for “God is great”) and then opened fire at a crowd inside a Fort Hood processing center where soldiers who were about to be deployed overseas or were returning from deployment received medical screenings. The massacre, which left 12 service members and one Department of Defense employee dead, lasted approximately 10 minutes before Hasan was shot by civilian police and taken into custody.  

Notorious Gambler Arnold Rothstein is murdered - 1928
Nov 4, 2012, - 0 Comments

Nov. 4, 2012

rothstein

Arnold Rothstein

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 1928, notorious gambler Arnold Rothstein is shot and killed during a poker game at the Park Central Hotel in Manhattan. After finding Rothstein bleeding profusely at the service entrance of the hotel, police followed his trail of blood back to a suite where a group of men were playing cards. Reportedly, Rothstein had nothing good in his final hand. From an early age, Rothstein had a talent for playing numbers. As a teenager, he built a small fortune gambling in craps and poker games, and by age 20 he owned and operated his own casino. Rothstein became a legendary figure in New York because of his unparalleled winning streak in bets and card games. However, it is believed that he usually won by fixing the events. The most famous instance of this was in 1919 when the World Series was fixed. Abe Attell, a friend and employee of Rothstein, paid some of the key players on the Chicago White Sox to throw the games. When the scandal was uncovered, Rothstein fiercely denied any involvement to a grand jury and escaped indictment. In private, however, Rothstein never denied his role, preferring to enjoy the outlaw image. In the 1920's, Rothstein began purchasing nightclubs, racehorses, and brothels. He had such a formidable presence in the criminal underworld that he was reportedly once paid half a million dollars to mediate a gang war. As Rothstein's fortune grew to an estimated $50 million, he became a high-level loan shark, liberally padding the pockets of police and judges to evade the law. He is fabled to have carried around $200,000 in pocket money at all times. Rothstein's luck finally ran out in 1928 when he encountered an unprecedented losing streak. At a poker game in September, Rothstein lost $320,000 and then refused to pay on the grounds that the game had been rigged. Two months later, he was invited to play what would be his final poker game. Asked who had shot him before dying, Rothstein reportedly put his finger to his lips, keeping the gangsters' code of silence. 

Black Bart robs his last stagecoach - 1883
Nov 3, 2012, - 0 Comments

Nov. 3, 2012

black bart

Charles E. Boles AKA "Black Bart"

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 1883, notorious bandit Black Bart robs his last stagecoach. He was born Charles E. Boles around 1830 in New York. As a young man, he abandoned his family for the gold fields of California, but failed to strike it rich as a miner and turned to a life of crime. By the mid-1850s, stagecoaches and Wells Fargo wagons transported much of the huge output of gold from California. Often traveling in isolated areas, the Wells Fargo wagons and stagecoaches quickly became favorite targets for bandits; over the course of about 15 years, the company lost more than $415,000 in gold to outlaw robbers. It is believed that Boles committed his first stagecoach robbery in July 1875. Wearing a flour sack over his head with holes cut for his eyes and a fancy gentleman's black derby, he intercepted a stage near the California mining city of Copperopolis. When guards spotted gun barrels sticking out of nearby bushes, they handed over their strong box to Boles. He cracked open the box with an axe and escaped on foot with the gold, though his "gang" of camouflaged gunmen stayed behind. When the guards returned to pick up the box, they discovered that the "rifle barrels" were just sticks tied to branches. During the course of his criminal career he never shot anyone nor robbed a single stage passenger; he gained fame for his daring style and the occasional short poems he left behind, signed by "Black Bart, the Po-8." Wells Fargo, however, was not amused and the company ordered its private police force to capture the bandit, dead or alive and after several years of searching Wells Fargo detectives finally located Boles in San Francisco. Arrested and tried, Boles pleaded guilty and received a sentence of six years in San Quentin prison. He served just over four years. After his release from prison in 1888, Boles disappeared, never to be seen or heard from again. 

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem is assassinated - 1963
Nov 2, 2012, - 0 Comments

Nov. 2, 2012

diem

South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem
by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 1963, South Vietnamese President Ngo Dinh Diem and his brother are captured and killed by a group of soldiers. The death of Diem caused celebration among many people in South Vietnam, but also leads to political chaos in the nation. The United States subsequently became more heavily involved in Vietnam as it tried to stabilize the South Vietnamese government and beat back the communist rebels that were becoming an increasingly powerful threat. While the United States publicly disclaimed any knowledge of or participation in the planning of the coup that overthrew Diem, it was later revealed that American officials met with the generals who organized the plot and gave them encouragement to go through with their plans. Quite simply, Diem was perceived as an impediment to the accomplishment of U.S. goals in Southeast Asia. His increasingly dictatorial rule only succeeded in alienating most of the South Vietnamese people, and his brutal repression of protests led by Buddhist monks during the summer of 1963 convinced many American officials that the time had come for Diem to go. Three weeks later, an assassin shot President Kennedy. By then, the United States was more heavily involved in the South Vietnamese quagmire than ever. Its participation in the overthrow of the Diem regime signaled a growing impatience with South Vietnamese management of the war. From this point on, the United States moved step by step to become more directly and heavily involved in the fight against the communist rebels.

Legendary Old West Lawman Bill Tilghman is Murdered - 1924
Nov 1, 2012, - 0 Comments

Nov. 1, 2012   

William Tilghman

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 1924, legendary old west lawman, William Tilghman is murderedKnown to both friends and enemies as "Uncle Billy," Tilghman was one of the most honest and effective lawmen of his day. Born in Fort Dodge, Iowa, in 1854, Tilghman moved west when he was only 16 years old. Once there, he flirted with a life of crime after falling in with a crowd of disreputable young men who stole horses from Indians. After several narrow escapes with angry Indians, Tilghman decided that rustling was too dangerous and settled in Dodge City, Kansas, where he briefly served as a deputy marshal before opening a saloon. He was arrested twice for alleged train robbery and rustling, but the charges did not stick. Despite this shaky start, Tilghman gradually built a reputation as an honest and respectable young man in Dodge City. He became the deputy sheriff of Ford County, Kansas, and later, the marshal of Dodge City. Tilghman was one of the first men into the territory when Oklahoma opened to settlement in 1889, and he became a deputy U.S. marshal for the region in 1891. 

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated - 1984
Oct 31, 2012, - 0 Comments

Oct. 31, 2012

India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi

by Michael Thomas Barry

On this date in 1984, India’s Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated in New Delhi by two of her own bodyguards. Beant Singh and Satwant Singh, both Sikhs, emptied their guns into Gandhi as she walked to her office from an adjoining bungalow. Although the two assailants immediately surrendered, they were both shot in a subsequent scuffle, and Beant died. Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of India, attempted to forge a unified nation out of the many religious, ethnic, and cultural factions that existed under British rule until 1949. His daughter, Indira Gandhi (no relation to Mohandas Gandhi), rose to power in 1966, fighting many of the same problems as her father had. Her own political career was a roller coaster, from the highs following India’s victory over Pakistan in 1971 to the lows of being thrown out of office in 1977 after declaring a state of emergency in 1975, during which time she suspended civil liberties and jailed her political opponents.

Pages