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The Historical Context of Bonnie and Clyde Criminal Story

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Bonnie and Clyde

Bonnie and Clyde were a young couple that was known for criminal activities until 1934 in central United States. They had a gang that used to rob people and kill them if confronted or cornered by law officials such as police officers. Most of their robberies involved small stores and rural gas stations. At times, they did rob banks and made away with cash although they were not involved in many heists. Bonnie and Clyde also rarely robbed bunkers and safe storages that held guns and other ammunition. They have been regarded as intelligent thieves because they chose low profile robberies with minimal amounts to steal. Their actions as a robber couple made them to become renowned and all the law enforcement agencies were looking for them. This paper aims at looking into the lives of Bonnie and Clyde and how they occustrated their crimes and activities until their death through an ambush in 1934.

Bonnie was born in the southwest of Dallas in Texas at a place called, Rowena. She was the second born in a family and had 2 siblings. Charles Parker – his father, passed away when Bonnie was only 4 years old. This made her move to move with Bonnie to Cement City, the home of Bonnie’s grandparents. This is where the Bonnie’s mother worked as a seamstress to sustain her children. Bonnie was raised in the cement city although her family was not well-off financial but the proceeds of her mother’s tailoring business barely catered for the basic needs of the family (Yarnall, 2012).

On the other hand, Clyde barrow was the fifth born to Henry Barrow. Clyde was born in a family of seven children. Henry Barrow was a poor farmer in Ellis county, Texas but later moved to west Dallas living under a wagon. The father worked hard enough to pay the rent and sustain all his seven children. The low life they family led in the wagon and in their poverty-stricken home greatly affected their growth and development. They lived in the slums and witnessed quite many crimes at firsthand. Experiences like these affected the well-being of Clyde and he felt the urge to become a criminal one day and have immense power and control over his victims (Yarnall, 2012). Clyde also wanted to join criminal gangs in a bid to curb the poverty that had struck his home.

Both Bonnie and Clyde being were from poor backgrounds and their common goal in life was that they always wanted to make their lives better than those of their parents and their siblings. With the external pressures from their surroundings, they developed criminal minds and started off as amateur criminals all through to pros who were involved in highly planned and executed missions (FBI, 2009). They had passions in crime and this made them stay off the government radar for quite a number of years.

Bonnie born in Texas, she loved music and performed in various stages. While at school, she performed pageants, in shows of talents and abilities where she sang the favorite hits of her country and Broadway hits. She had a dream of becoming a great poet and singer in the future. She would always tell her friends that they would see her on the screen. She wrote poems that were found in most of her crime hideouts and one that she had given to her mother. One of the poems read, ”Someday they’ll go down together; And they’ll bury them side by side, To a few it’ll be grief—To the law a relief—But it’s death for Bonnie and Clyde” (The Trail’s End)

Clyde too like Bonnie loved music. He could sing and play his guitar on the farm. At school, he learnt how to play the saxophone. Due to his love for music, it seemed that he would pursue it for a career. This though was not the case since his brother Buck influenced him negatively with a shady friend who was a friend of the family and lured him to start stealing cars (Yarnall, 2012). That did not stop him from playing with his guitar. He would go stealing with it until a police officer took it. Both Bonnie’s and Clyde’s’ dreams were shuttered and they came in to light in a bad way and not how they wished to be either musicians or poets of the time. Even with their legit works, they would also steal and this continued until it became their main activity and ultimately led to their death.

Bonnie had dropped out of school and was married to Roy Thornton. Their marriage was full of challenges due to the many brushes with the law and absence of the husband. Later, Roy was arrested and put behind bars, they were however not divorced and Bonnie wore her ring even after she met Clyde. She also had a tattoo on her thighs that had her name and Roy’s. They met with Clyde at Clarence’s clay home – a friend to Clyde (FBI, 2009). They both fell in love and bonnie remained loyal to each other until their untimely deaths.

The first thing that criminated Bonnie was when he refused to return a rental car that he had rented to visit his high school girlfriend. Later, the case was dropped and he did not stop at that, he and the brother stole a lorry with turkeys and Bonnie was arrested for the second time. After his release, he kept robbing stores, stealing cars and breaking safes. From the many arrests, he was sent to prison and there he first killed an inmate who had sexually assaulted him. Clyde’s mother petitioned his release. Clyde got hardened in life by the prison experience and he got into crime even more strongly (Yarnall, 2012).

Bonnie on the other hand was arrested as he and his friends tried to steal firearms and were jailed. She was released few months later after the jury was unable to indict her. This lead to their teaming up with Clyde and the eventual venture into more serious crimes. In their entire lives, Clyde and Bonnie were involved in crimes that involved death of nine police officers and several civilians. The gang was not so involved with most murders for they would steal and run away. Clyde was the driver of the gang duo (Yarnall, 2012). In one instance when Bonnie had gone to visit her mother, Clyde was drinking with a friend when police officers came and Clyde shot at them and killed them. This was the first instance that the gang was involved in murder.

Most of the criminal activities of Bonnie and Clyde involved raids to steal firearms that they used during their robbing and forcing people to open safes. Bonnie was involved in a shooting that led to the death of patrol officer Murphy. This was after an eyewitness said that they had seen Parker shooting at him on the ground. Murphy’s wife wore the intended wedding dress during the burial (FBI, 2009). This lead to the public wanting the extermination of all the survivors of the Barrow gang. Later, an old man Campbell was killed and this was the first time that Bonnie was really seen as a murderer.

With the public demanding for the arrest of the person who killed Campbell, a reward was given for the person who would bring the bodies of the two criminals. They were under siege since everyone was looking for them and people feared most for their lives each minute that Bonnie and Clyde were in the streets. Despite them being on the run most of the time, they always made efforts to go see their parents and assist them in whatever they needed. Clyde would drop a coke bottle with a note to his parents telling them where to meet. When they had much money, they would go and give it out home. Bonnie’s mum however never liked Clyde (FBI, 2009). She always blamed him for leading her daughter into crime.

With their devotion to family, a member from the gang shared the same devotion to his family. His name was Henry. Henry on the other hand talked to his father to betray the whereabouts of Bonnie and Clyde in return for his own pardon. This led to them being ambushed by police officers who were led by Officer Hamer who had been tracking them down for a few months. He had learnt the movements of the gang and had prepared accordingly for their take down. Bonnie and Clyde are believed to have been shot in daylight in an automobile. They each had at least twenty-five bullet holes. Stolen firearms and riffles were recovered from the vehicle they were travelling in (Yarnall, 2012).

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