The Least Romantic Valentine's Day in Human History
5. St. Valentine's Day Massacre - February 14, 1929
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Two warring Chicago gangs, one led by notorious mobster Al Capone, came to a head on Valentine’s Day in 1929 and the fallout was bloody. As legend goes, Capone organized a group of men to ambush Bugs Moran and his North Side Irish gang. Two men, dressed as policemen, entered a warehouse where Moran and his henchmen where supposedly picking up a delivery of bootleg whiskey. They were joined by two other men and together unleashed a magnitude of bullets that killed all seven men in the warehouse. While it is unknown if Moran was a target of the shooting, he was actually not present at the warehouse when the massacre went down.
The massacre severely affected Capone, turning public opinion against him (up until this time he had a Robin Hood like appeal) as well as bringing him to the attention of the FBI who later nabbed him for tax evasion.
No one was ever brought to trial over the massacre.
4. Indian Airlines Flight 605 Crashes - February 14, 1990
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As Indian Airlines flight 605 approached Bangalore airport, it severely undershot the runway and crashed. The flight, which had departed from Bombay, was cleared for landing but descended well below the normal approach profile. It crashed into a golf course some 2,300 feet short and 200 feet to the right of the runway. On impact the plane rolled 80 feet before bouncing off the ground. It finally hit an embankment killing 92 people onboard. There were 54 survivors. The crash is one of the worst in Indian aviation history.
3. Stardust Fire - February 14, 1981
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Tragedy struck a small town in Dublin in the early hours of Valentine’s Day when a fire roared through a night club killing many early Valentine’s Day revelers and injuring many more. The fire at the Stardust, a popular nightclub located in Artane, killed 48 and injured 214 people. The fire first broke out in the roof of the club before quickly engulfing the club’s ceiling and taking out the lights. The plunge into darkness caused panic and a stampede towards exits. The tragedy of the fire was that many of the emergency exits where locked or chained shut. Some patrons mistook the bathroom as the club’s exit and were trapped.
2. Northern Illinois University Shooting - February 14, 2008
Northern Illinois University (NIU) was rocked to its very core when a 27-year-old former student entered a packed auditorium at 3:05pm during an oceanography lecture and unloaded more than 40 rounds of ammunition. Six people died, including the gunman, and 21 people were injured in the fourth deadliest university shooting in US history.
Little is known about why Steven Kazmierczak decided to enter Cole Hall and unleash numerous rounds of bullets. He was seemingly a “fairly normal” person who had received the Dean’s award when he graduated from NIU in 2006. Kazmierczak did have a history of mental illness and had ceased taking his medication prior to the shooting. It is thought he may have been inspired by the Virginia Tech massacre that occurred less than a year earlier.
1. Strasbourg Pogrom- February 14, 1349
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The mass killing of Jews in Strasbourg in 1349 is one of the earliest and most shocking examples of genocide in pre-modern history. At the time, medieval Europe was awash with anti-Semitism, partly because many blamed the Jews for spreading the Black Plague.
In Strasbourg this was coupled with a tradesmen guild dispute and a belief that Jews wielded too much local power. This led to the pogrom of February 14, 1349. On that day over 200 Jews were rounded up and killed. Strasbourg’s Jewish neighborhood was destroyed and the rest of the Jewish population was forced out of town.
All this tragedy, heartbreak and boredom aside, go out and enjoy love and remember that everyday life can be a lot less romantic.