It's November, the time to look again at the JFK assassination. This crime retains its fascination for the public because it has no closure. When the Warren Commission declared that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone it made Mr. Oswald an anomaly.
The profile for Mr. Oswald makes him seem to fit in with other American assassins, successful or not. A loner who had trouble with authority. A person who managed no success in his life and with an unsatisfying personal life. This man fits the profile of an unbalanced assassin acting alone. Except for one thing, Oswald provided no clear cut confession, and if you've watched the film footage from the Dallas Police Station you will see and hear him clearly deny any involvement in the crime. While this may not absolve Lee Harvey Oswald of the crime it does make him stand out from the lone gunman.
In 1835 Richard Lawrence attempt to shoot President Andrew Jackson. While he was demented he was absolutely clear that if he killed Jackson he would receive money owed to him by the Bank of America. He confessed because he felt that he was justified in killing President Jackson.
In 1881 Charles Guiteau murdered President James Garner because he felt that it would unify the Republican Party. His confession was clear and prepared before hand; he had even purchased the gun specifically because he thought it would look good in a museum.
In 1901 President William McKinley was killed by Leon Czolgosz. Czolgosz readily confessed and also gave a reason for his deed.
In 1912 John Schrank shot Theodore Roosevelt. Mr. Roosevelt was campaigning for office at the time. Mr. Schrank believed that McKinley's ghost had told him to commit the crime.
In 1975 Lynette Fromme attempted to shoot President Gerald Ford. She also confessed.
In 1981 John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan. He confessed that it was an act of love.
We therefore have seven lone gunmen. Each readily confessed to their crime, each provided closure for their action. But this was not the only difference between these assassins and Lee Harvey Oswald.
Richard Lawrence used hand pistols from a range of only several feet. He was in the middle of a crowd. His object was to get close and he did not appear to be concerned about getting away.
Charles Guiteau also used a hand gun and also from only a few feet.
Leon Czolgosz was close enough to touch President McKinley. He had hid his handgun in his pocket.
John Schrank used a revolver in his attempted assassination of Theodore Roosevelt.
Lynette Fromme used a Colt .45 while Sara Jane Moore used a revolver. Both of these women attempted to fire their weapons while in a crowd.
John Hinckley also used a revolver from within a crowd.
Of these seven attempts against the life of a U.S. president we have several commonalities. First, all the assassins used a hand gun. Second, none of these seven were afraid to expose themselves to capture in order to carry out their plan. Third, six of the seven made their attempt within 10 feet (3m) of their target; Sara Jane Moore was forty feet away. Finally, all confessed and were proud of their actions. That gives us four major difference between the actions of Lee Harvey Oswald as an alleged assassin and that of these lone gunmen, and that makes him an anomaly.