Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Graphic History Week 2: The Lives of Sacco & Vanzetti by Rick Geary

NBM Comics Lit
This volume chronicles a court case that is still rife with mystery and uncertainty. On April 15 1920 a payroll robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts. As the payroll administrator and a guard start the 200 yard walk that will bring them too the payroll drop off. They never make it. Two men gun the men down and two others rush up to get them in a car. A variety of witnesses watch the four crooks as the get away with the crime.
Investigations lead the police to a garage where the vehicle from the getaway is being repaired. The police advise the mechanic to call them when they return for the car.
Later when the four men arrive for the car their suspicions are aroused and they leave without it. Two of the men have left on foot and boarded a streetcar where they are later arrested as "suspicious characters" The men are Bartholomeo and Nicola Sacco. Both of these men have steady jobs and no criminal records. Almost instantly they are found guilty in the eyes of the law despite shaky eyewitness reports and their declarations of innocence.
 As the investigation continues though it becomes revealed that the two men are anarchists.Though neither man has committed any crimes they belong to groups that print and distribute literature that many deem unAmerican.
As the case unfolds it becomes a world wide event. The men's membership in the Boston Anarchist conclave lights a fire in courtrooms and in the media across the world.
This is a fascinating case study. So many of the legal precedents that existed in the 1920's infringed on many of the rights for the accused that exist today. There was also tampering of evidence, biased , Judges and Juries and a startling amount of evidence for and against the guilt of these two men.
It was also startling to see the amount of violence, mostly in the form of bombs, that was incited by the arrest of these two.
It is really hard to know what was true and what wasn't in this case, a wonderful snapshot of a historical event.

1 comment:

Worktops lass said...

I love these true-to-life, unfolding type cases written out as really engaging fiction. The kind of stuff you read and think - 'wow, and this actually happened, too!'