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Since then, Patty has been traveling off and on with the Harrises. They are an unusual couple. Before their advocacy of revolutionary violence, they had been raised in Midwestern, middleclass, authority-respecting families. Bill, son of a building-supplies salesman, grew up in Carmel, Ind., and, said his mother, "would never have thought of arguing with his dad." But his wartime service as a combat Marine in Viet Nam turned him toward radicalism. On leaving the service, he supported the Viet Nam Veterans Against the War and associated with Venceremos (We shall conquer), a Maoist revolutionary group. He met Emily in 1970 as he pursued a master's degree in urban education at Indiana University (he was an A-minus student). They were married in 1971 and moved to California.
Equally conventional at first, Emily was from Clarendon Hills, a Chicago suburb. Her father is a consulting engineer, village board member and Boy Scouts backer. At Indiana University, she was a fashionably dressed member of Chi Omega sorority, one of the most exclusive campus societies; she later taught in Bloomington schools. When she and Bill moved to Berkeley, both became involved in prison reform and drifted into radical activities. By January 1974, she had told her parents that "Bill and I have changed our relationship. It no longer confines us, and I am enjoying relationships with other men." She had fallen in love, she wrote, "with a beautiful black man who has conveyed to me the torture of being black in this country." Authorities believe she had referred to DeFreeze.
Patty also experienced a change of heart. On June 7, 1974, station KPFK received a tape recording of Patty's voice, eulogizing one of the shootout victims, William Wolfe. Said Patty: "His love for the people was so deep that he was willing to give his life for them." She said she had called him "Cujo" (in Spanish it means unconquerable). And, she said, "we loved each other so much."
Patty Hearst was swept off her feet not only by William Wolfe but also by the S.L.A. itself, according to FBI agents who worked for months on the case. They are convinced that she willingly became a genuine and loyal member of the organization.
Why did the granddaughter of Publishing Tycoon William Randolph Hearst become a revolutionary? How could a girl with her privileged background and brimming future change so completely? The deepest reasons may forever remain shrouded, like the full symbolism of the celebrated sled named Rosebud in Citizen Kane, the film classic modeled on the life of Hearst.
But psychiatrists who specialize in treating disturbed young people have their theories about Patty's behavior. Some believe that her motivations were far more complex than a simple and misdirected zeal to reform the world. They see her as an extreme example of the phenomenon of white, middle-class (or rich) girls turning to violence to strike at society. Starting in the late '60s, a few joined such organizations as the ultra-left Weatherman, the nihilistic and murderous "family" of Charles Manson, and the S.L.A.
Not surprisingly, some experts queried by TIME found similarities between Patty Hearst and Lynette Fromme, the Manson cultist who three weeks ago pointed a loaded .45 automatic directly at President Ford in Sacramento, Calif.