On an autumn Monday morning 50 years ago, Leo Held piloted his blue station wagon along his customary 17-mile roller coaster commute up and down the ridge-and-valley Appalachians of north-central Pennsylvania.
Middle age had arrived early for Held, a married father of four children, ages 5 to 19. Doughy and balding, he had just turned 40 but looked eligible for a senior discount.
Held choked the steering wheel that morning — Oct. 23, 1967 — as he drove toward the Lock Haven, Pa., paper mill where he worked, seething over the affronts he used to rationalize what he was about to do.
Friends and colleagues would later describe Held as an ordinary man. But his mind played a nonstop reel of umbrage-taking. He felt persecuted for conflicts that reasonable adults would brush off or talk through.
There were the carpoolers who banned