Wed, April 21

1999—NRA president Charlton Heston says that to honor those massacred at Columbine the day before, the gun lobby’s Denver convention will be shortened by one whole day.

1992—Robert Alton Harris is strapped into San Quentin’s gas chamber at 3:00 a.m. Twelve minutes later he’s taken back out amid legal wrangling. At 6:00 a.m., he’s put back in and successfully gassed to death.

1980—Newsweek quotes Ronald Reagan saying that Vietnam vets aren’t eligible for the GI Bill because their war wasn’t declared. It’s not true.

1975—South Vietnam’s last president, Nguyen Van Thieu, bugs out.

1972—General Wm. Westmoreland, ex-U.S. commander in Vietnam, is pelted with tomatoes in El Paso.

1971—Vietnam Veterans Against the War defy the Supreme Court and stay on the National Mall. Park police decline to arrest. Tomorrow’s headline: “Vets Overrule Supreme Court.”

1964—A Thor Able-Star rocket proves unable to lift Transit 5BN3 into orbit. Its SNAP-9 generator burns on re-entry; the amount of Plutonium 238 in the atmosphere is tripled.

1930—Ohio National Guardsmen with machine guns and bayonets prevent escape as the State Pen burns; 322 inmates die, 230 are hospitalized.

1910—Train robber Frank Grigware busts out of Leavenworth with a pistol carved of wood, and makes his getaway on a stolen steam train.

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