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Alcatraz East – July Crime Anniversaries
Some crimes have impacted the country in such a profound way that it’s important we never forget them. By remembering these crimes, we help honor the victims and teach about the issues in hopes that they are not repeated. There are a few crime anniversaries to remember in July, and Alcatraz East Crime Museum is putting the spotlight for the month on the Watergate scandal and the Colorado theater shooting.
While the Watergate scandal began in June, its investigation was in full swing by July. It marks the anniversary of one of the biggest political scandals in American history. In June 1972, President Richard Nixon was up for re-election and members of his campaign team were caught wiretapping phones in the Democratic National Committee headquarters and stealing to cover up the crime.
By the following month, a huge investigation was underway, as people realized it wasn’t an ordinary break-in or robbery. A few months after the break-in, Nixon was re-elected by a landslide victory despite the claims against him. However, following a two-year investigation, he resigned on August 9, 1974, when his involvement in the break-in was concretely proven. Artifacts on display regarding this crime include a Nixon Inauguration invitation and a caricature watch.
July 20th is the anniversary of one of the worst mass shootings in the country’s history, occurring in Aurora, Colorado, during a midnight showing of the movie “The Dark Knight Rises” in 2012. James Holmes entered the theater wearing tactical gear and brandishing several firearms. He shot tear gas into the crowd and opened fire on the packed audience, killing 12 and injuring 70. At the time, it was the largest mass shooting in American history. On July 16, 2015, Holmes was found guilty of all 165 counts against him and was sentenced to life in federal prison. Alcatraz East Crime Museum has a ticket from a shooting survivor on display.
July is also the anniversary of the founding of the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), which was started officially in 1908. July 22, 1934, is the anniversary of the death of John Dillinger, one of the FBI’s most-wanted bank robbers. The Alcatraz East Crime Museum currently has a temporary exhibit on Dillinger’s final jailbreak.