It was rather disconcerting to think how close some of this was when I was in Chicago. I had read the news, but forgotten most of it, just like everyone else. This is a good reminder of what madness can lie just around the corner.
The year Several years before I first arrived at college, student riots had burned down Old Main. The main computing facility was in a limited access building that permitted defense in depth. (They opened a new and more open facility while I was there.) Iranian students did some demonstrating, but there was very little drama otherwise--a big crowd assembled on the rumor that a sorority had scheduled a streak, and the student government was dominated by a party which ran on the platform that they would bring the Grateful Dead to perform. I think there must have been a bit of a reaction against politics.
Chicago Circle had more diversity of weirdness. I had a few letters to the editor published under the pseudonym of Ho Lee, Chairman of Reeducation Committee, and cosigned by Korean War Veterans Against Admitting Hawaii as a State and others of that ilk. To give some flavor of the dialog on campus: I overheard people who thought the letters were real. Nothing was too crazy.
Some of those crazies stayed crazy.
You should read the book. A couple of things jumped out at me: the Law tended to only catch the bombers by accident, and the revolution runs on money. Friendly lawyers, ECUSA, or bank robbery--somehow revolutionaries had to get the bucks. And one other thing--no matter how weird things are, they can get worse.