December 3 in history:

A deadly gas leak at a factory in Bhopal, India, on December 3rd, 1984, has been blamed for thousands of deaths and injuries.  A chemical used to make pesticide was exposed to water at a Union Carbide plant, and the reaction led to the release of poisonous gases that spread to heavily populated areas.  Many local doctors apparently were not told the proper way to treat people who had inhaled the gas.  The CEO of Union Carbide was arrested briefly in Bhopal that week, and the Indian government tried to charge him with homicide years later.

The Bhopal disaster occurred on the anniversary of the 1971 war between India and Pakistan.  The war started when Pakistan struck Indian military bases.  Within two weeks, Pakistan surrendered.  As a result of the war, East Pakistan became the state of Bangladesh.

The war broke out a few months after George Harrison and other musicians held a fund-raising Concert for Bangladesh in New York, where police confronted hundreds of people who tried to enter the concert without tickets. On December 3rd, 1979, a rush to the doors at a Who concert in Cincinnati claimed 11 lives.  Many fans were suffocated or trampled when crowds tried to get into the arena, mistakenly thinking that a sound check was actually the start of the concert.

Two rock stars born with the same first and middle names have December 3rd birthdays…John Michael “Ozzy” Osbourne (1948), and Jefferson Starship singer John Michael “Mickey” Thomas (1949).


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