JOHN DILLINGER – PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE
“John Dillinger: Public Enemy Number One”
Society brands some of the most infamous criminals throughout history. People
are fascinated by certain men and women who live dangerous, criminal lives. These
unruly criminals find more than financial gain; they achieve a notoriety that makes them
iconic. John Dillinger, an American gangster of the 1920s and 1930s, has been both
reviled and revered by the public for a century. Curious about his antics, many citizens
want to learn about Dillinger’s crime spree. John Dillinger was a career criminal whose
life and times were as popular as the causes of his dangerous behaviors.
Born on June 22, 1903, John Dillinger was the son of John and Mollie (“John
Dillinger Biography,” 2011). An Indianapolis, Indiana native, John Dillinger, Sr.
remarried when his loving wife, Mollie died, leaving John Jr. under the care of his older
sister, Audrey. A firm father who regularly beat his son, John Sr. was never too caring,
and John, Jr. turned to trouble, forming a gang called the “Dirty Dozen” (“John
Dillinger,” 2011). At age sixteen, John, Jr. quit high school and devoted most of his time
to petty acts of crime. Moving away from the city to Mooresville, Indiana in 1920, John
Sr. hoped that country life would keep his son out of trouble. Unfortunately, the move did
nothing to stop John Jr., who commuted to the city and continued his sordid ways. By
1923, John Jr. joined the Navy, but he did not stay in and went AWOL before meeting his
first wife, Beryl Hovious (“John Dillinger,” 2011).
John Dillinger’s wayward personality was the result of many unsavory
associations. For instance, following the lead of Edgar Singleton on September 6, 1924,
Dillinger robbed a grocery store and was later arrested. Even though that was his first