Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bonnie and Clyde, redux

Clyde Chestnut Barrow (1909-1934)

Bonnie Elizabeth Parker (1910-1934)

Bonnie and Clyde died 81 years ago on a rural stretch of Louisiana State Highway 154. Crowds soon gathered at the ambush scene, and many stole souvenirs like locks of Bonnie’s bloody hair and pieces of their clothing. The coroner claimed he saw one man trying to cut off Clyde’s left ear. Fabulous. Revolting.

It was the Depression time. The news media (this was before television, just imagine what the talking heads could do with this today!) went crazy reporting on the rambling banditry of the two lovers. The media did wrong, giving them celebrity coverage and gilding their story.

The 1967 movie with Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway cemented the reputation of the duo as down-and-outers who earned the sympathy vote.

In fact, Bonnie and Clyde were small-time robbers and killers who gunned down nine police officers and several civilians. Bonnie basically was along for the ride—a gang member said later he never saw her pull a trigger. She didn’t smoke cigars, either.

Bonnie and Clyde were smalltown kids who grew up in distressing circumstances, had a fling in the center ring and went out in a pyrotechnical bushwhacking bloodbath on May 23, 1934. Texas and Louisiana cops fired about 150 rounds at their stolen Ford V8 car as it sped through the ambush zone. The coroner reported that Barrow had 17 bullet wounds, and Parker had 26.

As it turned out, it was a famous way to die.

No one remembers the names of the people that Bonnie and Clyde killed.

Copyright © Richard Carl Subber 2015 All rights reserved.

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