A Brief History of the WUO

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Under figurehead Bernardine Dohrn, WUO orchestrated the detonation of a nail bomb outside a San Francisco police station—solidifying its metamorphosis into a far more militant group and killing sergeant Brian McDonnell in the process. On May 21, 1970, WUO went so far as to issue a formal declaration of war against the United States, in one of many communiqués that they'd become renowned for, subsequent to the wrongful killing of two Black Panthers during an FBI raid. In spite of this new direction, the accidental death of three WUO accomplices—who lost their lives when construction a nail bomb went awry at their Greenwich Village townhouse—coupled with the negative publicity surrounding police discovery of a makeshift bomb "factory" and weapons cache, prompted planners to take extra safety precautions in an effort to mend their already-tarnished image. Thus, according to Bill Ayers, they implemented certain "checks and balances" during the placement of explosives in the ensuing months and years, "to get people away from [them]" and ensure that they "weren't going to hurt anybody" (The Weather Underground, 2002). It was at this junction that heads of WUO realized the psychological toll of their endeavors would have to be greater than the physical one, if they were to survive long enough to see the sweeping societal changes collectively envisioned. At this point, a considerably shrunken WUO shifted its tactics towards night attacks and denounced earlier disregard for the
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