Public Enemies

By | Nov 27, 2012

It amazes me thatthe gangsters of the 1930s, Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, Bonnie and Clyde, and others are still popular culture icons. They sit in the same status as the outlaws of the old west. But since that time no one person or group of people have caught the continued awareness as these.

Maybe part of it stems from the fact that they were the first batch of criminals that appeared on the Public Enemies List of the FBI.

One of the first of these was Baby Face Nelson. Nelson was born Lester Joseph Gillis on December 6, 1908. He took the name George Nelson and carried the name Baby Face because of his youthful appearance.

In ways he was a devoted family man. He took his family on some of his adventures. But he was also a bank robber, escaped prisoner and murderer. Even today he hold the record for killing the most FBI agents in the line of duty.

During 1934 a number of different men were Public Enemy No. 1. John Dillinger topped that list until his death on July 22th. Then on October 22, 1934, Charles Arthur “Pretty Boy” Floyd, who at the time was Public Enemy No. 1, was killed in a shootout agents of the FBI. Shortly afterward FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover declared that “Baby Face” Nelson was Public Enemy No. 1.

Nelson didn’t carry that title long since on November 27, 1934 he too was killed in a shootout with FBI agents. After Nelson was killed George Celino Barnes better known as “Machine Gun Kelly” moved up to be Public Enemy No. 1.


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