As reported in the NY Times a few days ago, Dwight Armstrong died of lung cancer at age 58 in Madison, Wisconsin. At 3:40 AM on Aug. 24, 1970, almost 40 years ago, he and the other three members of the New Year's Gang, parked a Ford Econoline full of gasoline-soaked ammonium nitrate next to Sterling Hall (once the home of the econ dept.) on the University of Wisconsin campus, and set it off, making the largest terrorist explosion in the US up to that time. They were targeting the Army Mathematics Research Center (officially the "Army" had been dropped from the name by then, although it continued to be funded by the US Army). However, they were The Gang That Could Not Bomb Straight, having earlier in the year set off a bomb in the Primate Center, thinking it was the Selective Service office, which was across the street. So, instead of the (A)MRC, they blew up a bunch of physics labs, injuring four, and killing post-doc, Robert Fassnacht, who was reported to be anti-Vietman War in his views, and was the father of three children. In many ways, this was the highwater mark in terms of intensity of the anti-Vietnam War movement in the US, although badly bungled as the participants later admitted.
Dwight was a kid from the east side of Madison whose dad worked at the Oscar Mayer plant. Dwight had been a high school dropout and was a personally troubled individual who was arrested in Indiana in 1987 for running a meth lab. He was apprehended in 1977 and served two years in jail. The main leader of the New Year's Gang was his older brother, Karl Armstrong, who was the first apprehended in 1972, and served seven years in jail. Karl runs a fruit juice stand on the Library mall these days in Madison. David Fine was the youngest and from Maryland. He was apprehended in 1975 and served four years, later becoming a paralegal in Oregon. The fourth, Leo Burt from Pennsylvania, has not been apprehended to this day.
I must note my own connection to all this. I was in grad school in econ at UW at the time, in between my first and second years. My father, the late J. Barkley Rosser, Sr., was the Director of the Center at the time. We disagreed about politics (and the war in particular), but I always personally respected him, and I always opposed the use of any sort of violence in protesting the War in Vietnam.