Oh why must the bad ones always look so good? This is Louis Lingg, German immigrant to the US, anarchist and all around general pain in the tuckus. But a looker right? Amirite?
Louis Lingg was born in Mannheim, Germany to a working class family. After seeing his father injured at the lumber mill where he worked and subsequently let go by his employer (because we can’t have workers hanging around being injured and unproductive and bleeding all over the merch), Louis formed strong anti capitalist ideals and moved to, naturally, the United States. Where else do you go when you hate capitalism? I hate capitalism and I’m here. Hey, it happens.
Anyway, Louis takes his anti establishment deal to good old Chicago in July 1885 where he joined up with the International Carpenters and Joiners Union. You can read more about his background here: Louis Lingg Biography .
On May 4th, 1886 at a labor protest rally in Haymarket Square in Chicago someone tossed a bomb into the crowd and killed a police officer. Seven men were arrested in connection with the bombing including Louis Lingg who, although not being present at the protest itself, was implicated in making the bomb. (Read about them here :The Haymarket Bombers . ) It didn’t help his case that when police came to arrest him he pulled a revolver on them and shot at the police. (Read more about it here: The Haymarket Affair .) I imagine it didn’t help his defense when he said, to the court “I tell you frankly and openly, I am for force. I have already told Captain Schaack, ‘if they use cannons against us, we shall use dynamite against them.’ ” ( History Matters: Louis Lingg In Court ) Worst. Defense. Ever.
The evidence against Louis was sketchy at best and the police captain apparently perjured himself on the stand but when the state’s gunning for you none of that matters much and Louis had his rage and his principals and wouldn’t shut his piehole in court, so I think we all know how this went down.
On November 10, 1887, the night before he was scheduled to hang, Louis killed himself by biting on a blasting cap smuggled into the prison and lighting it. It blew off half his face and it still took him six hours to die. What a horrific way to go. Louis Lingg was only twenty three years old and while the evidence against him was somewhat scant he was likely guilty as four bombs of the type that was thrown in Haymarket were discovered in his cell four days before he died. Really Chicago? You couldn’t keep bomb making equipment away from an accused bomb maker? It doesn’t seem that tough. I digress.
So Louis Lingg, pretty on the outside, sort of ugly on the inside but I suppose seeing your dad injured and tossed aside by his company when you’re only thirteen could cause some revolutionary tendencies. Maybe all that righteousness and good looks could have been put to better use trying to change society instead of blowing things up all the time. Just a thought Louis.