Rich Kids Who Went Terribly Wrong

From John Hinckley to Abdulmutallab, sometimes privilege corrupts
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 12, 2010 9:54 AM CST
Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in 2001.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Being born with a silver spoon doesn't automatically make you a golden child—or adult. Newsweek takes a look at children of privilege who took an extremely sharp turn away from very-well-to-do families and toward lives of terrorism and murder:

  • Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab: The son of one of the wealthiest men in Africa, the "underwear bomber" stayed in his father's $4 million apartment in London.

  • Osama bin Laden: The al-Qaeda leader comes from a dizzyingly rich Saudi family with deep ties to the US.
  • John Hinckley: President Reagan's would-be assassin is the scion of a Texas oil family, which actually donated considerable amounts to the campaigns of Reagan's VP, George HW Bush.
  • Carlos the Jackal: The international terrorist who perhaps invented the modern concept of terrorism was actually named Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, in a nod to Lenin. Though that first name is a clue to his parents' sympathies, Sanchez' father toiled as an establishment lawyer in Venezuela before pushing his son toward a different life.
  • Kathy Boudin: Her father was Fidel Castro's lawyer, but she rebelled against privilege, joined the Weather Underground, and was convicted of murder for her role in a robbery that left two cops dead.
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