News for May 22nd and 23rd 1979. Verdict on Dan White murder trial of Supervisor Harvey Milk and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone bring violence, temporary stays of execution in Florida for John Spinkelink and Willie Darden, Canadian elections, Sen. Herman Talmadge hearings, Bert Lance hearings, Gas crisis and rationing, renegade State Senators in Texas and 14 men, women and children gunned down by police in El Salvador.
May 23, 2011

Post Verdict in Dan White Trial. Tip of a very hectic iceberg.

Since May 22nd this year came on a Sunday, and since it was such a busy news day in 1979, I thought I would include that day and today (May 23rd) in one post. A lot happened on those two days and leaving anything out would feel like giving history short shrift.

So here goes - News for May 22nd in 1979 began with an outpouring of violence over the verdict handed down in the Dan White murder case. White, you'll remember murdered San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk and whose defense had something to do with Twinkies. The verdict was Voluntary Manslaughter, not first degree murder (as was more or less assumed). The surprise verdict sparked a night of violence in San Francsico and a goodly degree of damage to relations between law enforcement and the Gay community. And on the subject of legal wrangling, the executions of Florida convicts John Spinkelink and Willie Darden were put on hold for 24 hours, pending appeals to the Supreme Court. In Canada, elections were about to take place with much speculation over the outcome. Secretary of State Cyrus Vance continued his tour of Europe with a visit in London and talks with Margaret Thatcher. On the scandal front, hearings continued on the ethics trial of Senator Herman Talmadge and hearings were getting underway for Bert Lance. And it was looking like the gas crisis was heading for a conclusion, at least in California where gas consumption was way down since rationing on the odd-even system began.

And on May 23rd the Canadian elections were over with a surprise rejection of Pierre Elliot Trudeau and challenger Joe Clark becoming the first Prime Minister to take the post at age 39. A second night of demonstrations in San Francisco were in marked contrast to the previous night with this one a celebration of what would have been Harvey Milk's 49th birthday. As reports portrayed it, the most violent thing to happen on that particular night was a street dance that lasted until midnight. On the political front - twelve renegade State Senators from Texas returned after a successful boycott in protest for separate Presidential Primary elections in Texas. The Middle East was ratcheting up again with a bus stop bombing in Israel blamed on the PLO and the coming Peace settlement between Israel and Egypt. And in El Salvador, 14 bodies of men, women and children were found after being gunned down by Police in a demonstration in support of jailed dissidents. And United Airlines, in an effort to drum up business after a 54 day Mechanics strike offered $180 one way tickets anywhere in the U.S.

A busy couple of days with those and other stories on the CBS World News Roundup for May 22 and 23, 1979.

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