Only One President Since JFK Has Not Had An Assassination Attempt
The US is set to decide on a new president and whoever wins will have a tough job when trying to fill the Obama-shaped hole left in our lives. As if having those big shoes to fill wasn't bad enough, there's a good chance that whoever wins will also receive a ton of death threats and almost certainly an assassination attempt.
In the past, four presidents have been assassinated - Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy - two others have also been injured in attempted assassinations and, with the exception of Lyndon B. Johnson, EVERY president since JFK (and we all know how he met his untimely end) has been threatened with assassination at least once. Are you all wondering what ol' Lyndon B had that the rest, didn't? Because I am.
Being from the UK, where we just accuse leaders of shagging pigs on Twitter, it seems unbelievable that the stats for presidential assassinations are so high. It doesn't matter which party the POTUS is from, someone wants to kill them. Strangely, not all assassinations, or assassination attempts, are politically motivated. Some attackers were shown to be legally insane.
Because there aren't many laughs in people being literally murdered just for doing their job, I thought I'd take a look at some of the weirdest assassination attempts instead.
In 1975 one of the Mason family, Lynette 'Squeaky' Fromme, attempted to take the life of president Gerald Ford. I'm absolutely not giving tips on how to assassinate someone here, OK? But, if I were to assassinate someone, I'd dress low-key, inconspicuous, you know, so you can blend into the crowd. Not Squeaky. She put on a red robe on the day she decided to have a go at offing Ford.
Unsurprisingly, a Secret Service agent spotted Squeaky and her Colt .45 semi-automatic and Ford was fine. Squeaky was sentenced to life in prison, but was released on parole in 2009.
Squeaky leaving court. Credit: PA
A guy called John Hinkcley JR, came a little bit closer than Squeaky in his attempt at killing a president in 1981. He managed to actually hit Ronald Regan, breaking a rib, puncturing his lung and leaving him with internal bleeding.
The story gets stranger when you learn the reason why he decided to assassinate Regan. He was trying to impress actress Jodie Foster. It didn't work, however, and Hinkcley was later deemed mentally ill and spent most of his life in an institution. He was released earlier this year, aged 61, and now lives with his mum.
And, finally, Teddy Roosevelt bossing an assassination attempt. While giving a speech in 1912, Roosevelt was shot in the chest by John F. Schrank, who had been stalking him for two weeks. Luckily for Teddy, he had a 50-page speech, folded over twice, in his pocket, which took some of the impact, but not all and the bullet still found its way into his lungs.
Now, when you've been shot and you're about to give a speech, you have to decide whether emergency medical care is more important than the speech. In most cases, I think people would go for the medical care, but not our pal, Roosevelt. He went ahead with his speech.
Roosevelt began his speech: "Friends, I shall ask you to be as quiet as possible. I don't know whether you fully understand that I have just been shot; but it takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose." Like. A. Boss.
Schrank was sent to a mental hospital, where he remained until his death.
And Roosevelt never bothered getting the bullet removed. It stayed there, in his lung, until he died.
Featured image credit: PA