Seven Chicago Gangsters Slain by Firing Squads
Al Capone had a pleasant Valentine’s Day in 1929, when several members of a rival gang were killed under rather violent circumstances. The event was called “the most cold-blooded gang massacre of [Chicago’s] underworld.” A firing squad lined the men up against a wall at a beer distributor’s “rendezvous,” and subsequently released “a stream of bullets” into the “gang warriors.” During the investigation, Chicago police found 160 empty machine gun shells at the crime scene, and eyewitness accounts claimed that several members of the squad were dressed in police uniforms. Police Commissioner William F. Russell was quoted as saying, “I’ve never known of a challenge like this – the killers posing as policemen – but now the challenge has been made, it’s accepted,” in a speech reminiscent of dialogue from The Dark Knight.
(The New York Times – Feb. 14, 1929)
Huge Snowdrifts Paralyze Province
It’s a relief to discover that almost 80 years ago, people in Ontario were dealing with weather similar to what we’ve experienced over the last week. However, the capacity of the province to deal with the rapid and sudden accumulation of snow has thankfully grown. According to the article, only approximately 50 miles of the primary highways were accessible for vehicles, and the rest was heavily laden with snow, which left thousands of cars and busses stranded. Looks like some people in 1936 were forced to spend Valentine’s Day on their own, in motor vehicles, rather than with loved ones, making anti-Valentine’s Day parties in 2013 seem rather decadent.
(The Globe and Mail – Feb. 14, 1936)
Thousands of bombs destroy Dresden
Despite his many powers, Cupid could not put a one-day halt on WWII for Valentine’s Day in 1945. In what is now recognized as the “firestorm” of Dresden, “2,600 tons of high explosive and incendiary bombs” were dropped on the city by 800 RAF bombers. The article does not cite the human impact of the attack, though The BBC notes that estimates of civilian deaths were between 25,000 and 100,000. The event brought the issue of the morality in dropping bombs to the forefront of European culture, inspiring works like Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five.
(The BBC – Feb. 14, 1945)
Compiled by Alicja Grzadkowska