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 Post subject: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:07 pm 
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Noodlemantras, we have come to the end of another great discussion! Thank you as always for your insights and ideas. I hope you have your copy of Attica and plan to join us for the discussion. Look for tidbits beginning in August!!

Don’t forget about our interview with William Helmer. If you haven’t submitted a question, please do so by tomorrow!!

And our final Dillinger question is…

Girardin asks the question, “Who was John Dillinger? Was he a bold and benevolent Robin Hood, or a mad and ruthless killer? Or an ordinary human being whose life was molded by luck and circumstance into a career so strange that even before his death legend and fable had begun to weave about him?”

How would you answer this question?



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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 12:58 pm 
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John Dilllinger in his youth was just an average mischievous boy who seemed to like the adventuous side of life. He only went to the 8th grade which was not unusual during that time. His youth was marred with many hurtful memories that were hard to overcome. When his adventures became more serious and landed him in jail - he became resentful of the broken promises the lawyers and law officials promised him. These times in jail gave him the education of how to make a mockery of the establishment and system. Altho I don't see him as a Robin Hood - but by robbing the banks people looked upon him as doing what they could not to hurt the "big" guys. Ater his fame and legend began - he seems to relish in it. It made him even bolder and eventually caused his demise.

He certainly was an interesting fella' for us that only know what history can tell us about him. :dillingerhat:


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:46 pm 
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Lady Linn, I can't think of a thing to add. Very nice summation! :bouquet:


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 2:58 pm 
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I agree with Nebraska and Lady Linn. I also think "timing" exaggerated his person and fame. His 1930's presence and lawlessness just prior to the development of the FBI, highlighted his impact. Almost an old sentimental "hero" story whose time ran out. One of the last glorified bad guys!!


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 3:48 pm 
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If Girardin isn't sure, I'm not sure I can be, :blush: but if forced, I'd have to choose the third option, that Dillinger was "an ordinary human being . . . ." It was in Dillinger's own self-interest to glorify and dramatize himself, and unfortunately, it was in Hoover's self-interest as well.

Off topic, but ONBC related--over the weekend I visited Sunnyside, the home of Washington Irving, the author of "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow."


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 5:03 pm 
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Yep, I'm in the same camp as all of youse guys. :highfive:
And thanks so much, Mods, for all of your usual terrific work!! :bouquet:



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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 7:02 pm 
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The real answer is that we really don't know and never will but can speculate. Of the three choices mentioned by Girardin, I don't think he was a Robin Hood and I also don't think he was a ruthless killer. He may have killed but I don't think he was ruthless. Personally I do think he did kill patrolman Wm O'Reilly but only when he would have been killed himself if he didn't shoot. That leaves ordinary human being molded by his life and circumstance. You did sum it up pretty well ladylinn.

Personally I agree, he did like fame and played to it which may have lead to his downfall. His acrobatics in the banks and letters to the FBI and posing and talking to reporters when he was arrested. And as Van Meter told him he was too trusting.

I do think he went to prison a wayward young troublemaker and came out hardened into a way of life. The times made things worse. People who tried to do right couldn't find work and with a prison record he had more strikes against him. Not that I think he tried , I think his mind was set when he promised to steal the guns for the prison break of his pals. He was going to live a fast life to make up for his lost years and that meant he needed money and he now had been trained in jail how to be good at this new profession.

One more thing that I will add was that the most influential friends of his life were made in prison. I am reading "Handsome Harry" and it tells a lot of prison life. They had to depend not only on themselves but each other to survive in there and I think those bonds stayed with Dillinger the rest of his short life.


Last edited by gemini on Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:04 pm, edited 2 times in total.


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 20, 2009 8:27 pm 
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I'm reminded of a quote by James Baldwin, "I am what time, circumstance, history, have made of me, certainly, but I am also, much more than that. So are we all." I agree with Gemini, that we'll never really know the real Dillinger beyond a few second hand stories and tons of speculation. But I think it's safe to say that he was hardly a Robin Hood and surely not a ruthless killer though many died because of him. He was an ordinary man that let a few crappy breaks, and stupid decisions, lead him down the wrong path in life. His bad choices simply made it easier to make him a pawn in Hoover's run for world domination. The real truth has gotten lost in translation. We may never know the man behind the legend.



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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:31 am 

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trygirl wrote:
The real truth has gotten lost in translation. We may never know the man behind the legend.

:cool: Yes, so very true. What I do know, is that I'll miss him. :dillingerhat:

Liz and DITHOT, Thanks for a really great discussion! It's hard to say good-bye to Mr. John Dillinger! :dillingergun:


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 2:02 am 
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I think he was an oridinary man who became a creation of his time and place. He and Hoover's FBI had what was almost a symbiotic relationship, each playing into the other's gambits. For Dillinger, he was living his life based on his bad breaks and what he had learned in prison. There weren't many jobs and he had two strikes against him already. For Hoover, Dillinger with his winning personality and popularity made him the perfect target for his newly created bureau and helped him cement his place as the nation's premiere crime fighter. What better way to demonstrate the power of the newly created FBI than to bring down someone as charismatic and slippery as the great John Dillinger? It was a moment in time where so many factors came together to create the legend of Dillinger.



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Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -
Wow! What a ride!
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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:52 pm 
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Good summations, all! :dillingergun: And I, too, vote for option number 3. As deppaura said, timing was key. Love the quote by James Baldwin, trygirl. It’s perfect for Dillinger, and I like that it fits us all. Fansmom, sounds like a fun little adventure in Sunnyside. What did you do and see there?

Noodlemantras, as usual, it is has been a great discussion due to Youse Guys. :notworthy:

Hope to see you all back for Attica in August.
:hope:



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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 12:59 pm 
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I would like to add my thanks to Liz and DITHOT for leading us on the journey with Dillinger. :dillingerhat: Great job ladies!!! :applause2:


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 6:02 pm 
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Oh, but it isn't quite over yet! We still have our Q&A with Helmer to look forward to. :bounce: I can hardly wait for that!


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 21, 2009 10:31 pm 
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Liz wrote:
Fansmom, sounds like a fun little adventure in Sunnyside. What did you do and see there?

My daughter and her boyfriend are spending the summer close to their college, in an apartment about half an hour from Sleepy Hollow. I really went up to see them, but I stayed in Tarrytown, which is between Sleepy Hollow and Irvington. (The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with a description of the Hudson River and Tarrytown.) We went to the movies (guess which one?--and yes, I wore my charm bracelet again!), had several meals, hung out at the swanky hotel pool, and visited Sunnyside, which is a charming but surprisingly small house overlooking the river.

By the way, I haven't forgotten to thank you and DITHOT for your usual stellar job of moderating. I'm just deferring it until after the Q&A. :goodvibes:


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 Post subject: Re: Dillinger Question #15 ~ Who was John Dillinger?
PostPosted: Wed Jul 22, 2009 2:39 pm 
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Thanks, everyone for you kind words but it's youse guys that make ONBC happen!

Do stay tuned for Mr. Helmer's responses. You will not be disappointed!



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Wow! What a ride!
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