A blood stain on New York: Remember the horrific Brink’s truck killings, 41 years ago
Today is the solemn anniversary of the Rockland County Brink’s armored truck robbery, when a terrorist band trying to steal $1.2 million seared the date of Oct. 21, 1981, into New York’s memory by shooting dead guard Peter Paige and Nyack policemen Sgt. Edward O’Grady and Officer Chipper Brown. It is also the first time since the horrific crime 41 years ago that none of the terrorists are imprisoned, as the final convicted criminal, David Gilbert, was sprung in November after Andrew Cuomo, on his last day in office, granted Gilbert a parole hearing.
The proceedings of Gilbert’s parole session, from a year ago yesterday, do nothing to alter our conviction that Cuomo erred in granting clemency to this man, who helped leave three wives widowed and nine children fatherless.
Identified in the 171-page transcript as “THE INCARCERATED INDIVIDUAL,” Gilbert was no disadvantaged kid. He was 37 and had been raised in a two-parent household in the well-to-do Boston suburb of Brookline, where he was an Eagle Scout. With a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University, he had done graduate work at the New School in sociology.
Though he initially supported civil rights through nonviolence, he came to believe that the government was killing civil rights advocates — and in 1969, joined the Weather Underground. There, he viewed himself as an educator, but “I felt I had to do more.”
Perhaps it was because, “All my life I also felt inadequate, lacking physical prowess, a wimp.” And so, he and his wife Kathy Boudin and their fellow revolutionary Judy Clark partnered with Black Liberation Army terrorists as the white decoys to drive the getaway vehicles.
When Gilbert was arrested, he had no remorse. He rejected the authority of the court and walked out, knowing full well that his actions would result in a 75-year term, a sentence he never appealed.
Then his supporters, including his son, Chesa Boudin, who the voters of San Francisco would go on to recall as district attorney, got to Cuomo. Gilbert remains on parole for life. His victims are gone forever.