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Sociologist Lewis Yablonsky, of California State University at Northridge, believes that Hearst and Fromme act like robots. "With no definite ego of their own, they placed themselves in a totally subservient position, following orders. They have low or no selfesteem, and they are desperately seeking recognition and approval." Typical of their craving for attention is the fact that they have "no regard for their own safety. They are more dangerous because of that."
Dr. Robert Harrington, director of the Hampden District Mental Health Clinic in Springfield, Mass., has observed many disturbed, white, affluent and intelligent young women. Speaking of those who turn to violence, he says: "Their inner life is one of impoverishment, and everything becomes external to them. They never look inside themselves. Some try to solve problems, some act violently, but they never contemplate their own responsibility. They just play out their impulses on society all over the place." Continues Harrington: "I think it becomes a kind of fusion of sexuality and violence when these kids find someone of a different group like Manson, or the S.L.A. led by a blacksomeone from a 'foreign' group that represents something alien to their own family, some kind of cultish, crazy, occult figure. And then you start getting the things like Patty Hearst holding a neat big rifle, or the Fromme girl with her .45."
So much for psychiatric diagnoses. They undoubtedly capture parts of Patty Hearst, without being able to explain her in full. Yet her mental and emotional state may yet become an issue in the complex legal maneuvers ahead. The one state and two federal cases against Patty Hearst, each with multiple counts, may drag on for years. She faces charges of: five counts of assault with an intent to commit murder; four counts of robbery; five counts of assault with a deadly weapon; three counts of felony auto theft; and two counts of kidnaping. Conceivably, Patty could be locked up for life. In addition, a civil suit for damages could be brought against her in either the state or federal courts by the two people who were wounded in the San Francisco bank robbery. Though she did not fire the shots, she was part of the group that did, and that makes her equally liable in the eyes of the law.
During her preliminary court appearance, Patty Hearst's lawyer said that she plans to plead not guilty on all counts. The rough outlines of the defense that her lawyers may use seemed to be suggested by her parents in their comments last week. They pictured their troubled daughter as a girl who had somehow been influenced or directed by S.L.A. members to commit crimes. "She was only 19 when she was forced to look down the barrel of a gun," said Mrs. Hearst. Her husband added, "I don't think very much is going to happen to her because she was a kidnap victim. Of course, there will be a hassle, and I can see a lot of bumpy roads ahead, but I don't think that is anything."