Friday, April 03, 2009

The Risky Business of Attempted Assassins (11/21/06)

Every endeavor or profession has its success stories and its failures, its heroes and goats. This is just as true in the murky world of political assassins. For every villainous John Wilkes Booth or Leon Czolgosz, there's a Sara Jane Moore or a Samuel Byck who failed to reach the upper echelons of infamy -- thankfully so. We would never call any murder a "success," but nevertheless it appears that some assassins are just more efficient than others. Charles Guiteau was an unsuccessful author, theologian, and lawyer, but turned out to be a whiz at shooting a president. Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme, on the other hand, was a rank amateur in the assassin pursuit, failing to properly load her gun before she tried to shoot Gerald Ford. And just consider the case of John Schrank. In 1912, he shot Theodore Roosevelt, but the bullet was deflected by Roosevelt's glasses and a copy of the speech the president was to deliver. To Shrank's frustration, Roosevelt spoke for 90 minutes after being shot and carried the bullet in his chest for the rest of his life. Yes, some assassins just can't catch a break, but it's a risky business they choose to undertake -- and we can't say we feel too sorry for them.

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