Crime: A Good Deal

"The first duty of a revolutionist is not to get caught." — Abbie Hoffman

Having broken rule No. 1, the New York trio charged with conspiring to bomb federal buildings dropped their revolutionary posture altogether last week. Like ordinary criminals facing possible conviction, they bargained with the authorities. Then Jane Alpert, 22, Samuel Melville, 34, and John Hughey III, 22, meekly dropped their defense and pleaded guilty to the conspiracy charges.

Why did these ideologues, steeped in the rhetoric of unremitting resistance and supreme sacrifice, cave in so ignominiously? "It was...

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