Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ronald (Ron) Kaufman: The Bomb Throwing Left

Disclaimer (October 28, 2013): This article was written not long after I finally tracked down news articles about this bombing plot and perpetrator. I have been looking for details about this for decades, and the miracle of Google finally came through.

However, the articles from 1972 were riddled with errors and inaccuracies, that I was not able to refute until recently (October, 2013). Now armed with more information, including court documents, I can say that any relation between Ron Kaufman and the Weathermen was coincidental. I have no doubt that their members and he crossed paths in the New Left of the day, but it does not look like he was an actual “member” at any time.

My book length project blog for this is the Time Bomber Book blog, which I update when I can as I work on the manuscript.
Ronald Kaufman's FBI media alert card.
I'm working on a story about one of the 1970s Weathermen (Weatherperson) bombers, Ronald Kaufman.  In this space I will be posting some elements of it as a series.

The original of the card to the left is available on eBay, from some news organization.  Click the link if you are interested.

My column today has a long introduction of sorts, more of a story about how researching stories like this can become more difficult than you think.

At this point, after reading every article about Ronald Kaufman that I could find, I must conclude that this Ronald Kaufman was no Anarcho-Capitalist.  No, he was the other variety of Anarchist, the Marxist sort.

I wish I could find a copy of his "manifesto," the one I heard a WMAQ-TV news anchor read in 1972.  I cannot remember if it was Walter Jacobson or Floyd Kalber, and the references I've been able to find only reference a hand-printed copy of the manifesto sent to that station, as well as others:
Within the letters notifying the authorities of the explosive devices, he claimed to represent the "Movement in Amerika" and the missives ended "Remember George Jackson and Sam Melville." The letters were sent to the Chicago Daily News, Chicago Today, Chicago Sun-Times, The Seed, WMAQ-TV (Chicago), San Francisco Chronicle, Berkeley Tribe, and KSAN-TV (San Francisco).
The Chicago Daily News letter wound up as material for a Mike Royko column, where Royko berated the suburban crybaby for his "revolutionary" nonsense, and urged him to do something useful for the downtrodden, like ringing a bell at Christmas.  Unfortunately, I cannot find that January 1972 article, but I did find this, a 1986 column where Royko references the older article with detail.

However, as far as I can find at this point, not even a full (proper) transcript is available online, much less a digital image.  In the next post, I will have my best efforts at reconstructing his manifesto.

Another interesting aspect of researching this story, I ran across the name of another radical, Joseph Edwin Schock.  I remembered his name from when my schoolmates and I would look at wanted posters in the Post Office.  Schock stood out because there was someone in town who bore an uncanny resemblance to the man.  I'd seen him at the Dairy Queen several times.  My schoolmates thought I was telling a yarn, until several of us were at the Dairy Queen when the local was there.

As it turns out, it was unlikely that the 1970s arsonist (he allegedly torched up a couple dozen vehicles at a National Guard armory) and Marine Veteran was in our town, he was hiding out in Canada and eventually was given political asylum in France.  The Lew Pumphrey article from 1976 is very well done, and all the facts stand the test of time.  If you Google "Joseph Edwin Schock" you find one guy by that name, and he is living in France, running a business.

What about Ronald Kaufman?  There are plenty of other people by that name, and over the course of three decades, three have been released from the federal prison system.  The one released in the 1980s can be ruled out, since bomber Kaufman was sentenced in 1987 and was denied parole in 1990.  That leaves two, one who was released in 1991, and another in 2003.

Puzzle solved on when he was released.  The Bureau of Prisons lists current ages of those released, do the confessed bomber Kaufman would be this one:

Name                               Register #    Age-Race-Sex    Release Date    Location
RONALD KAUFMAN  80927-011    75-White-M       04-16-1991    RELEASED

The following UPI story was a little confusing:
Stay tuned for more!

Ⓐ Steve Ⓐ

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