Killing and Trying to Kill Presidents
Throughout history, there have been attempted or completed assassinations on leaders of countries.
In this hub, I will go through the completed assassinations of United States Presidents. I will also cover attempts to assassinate or plots to do so.
There are two cases in that questions have always arose whether they were killed, or just died naturally. President Zachary Taylor was diagnosed with cholera morbus. He died in 1850. In the 1980s, his body was exhumed to see if his death was the result of poisoning. The tests came back that most likely it was not.
In 1923, the President was Warren Harding. After traveling to Alaska, he developed pneumonia. Many speculate that his death was a murder, but no one will ever really know.
Now lets take a look at the completed assassinations of United States Presidents.
Many of you have surely learned the story of President Lincoln's assassination. John Wilkes Booth sympathized with the Southern Confederates. He believed that if Lincoln was dead, the South would have a better chance of winning an already lost war. On April 14th, 1865, Booth entered Ford's Theater in Washington D.C. and shot President Lincoln in the back of the head. Booth escaped, but was shot and killed by a Union soldier on April 26th.
President Garfield was shot by a maniac on July 2nd, 1881. Charles Julius Guiteau felt that he had wrote the speech that got Garfield elected. He felt he should be appointed ambassador to France. When he wasn't given that post, he decided to kill Garfield. He purchased a gun and carried through his idea. Guiteau was hung on September 19th.
President McKinley was shot at the Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York on September 6th,1901. He died eight days later from infection. The killer was an anarchist by the name of Leon Czolgosz. He was electrocuted for first degree murder on October 29th.
John F. Kennedy
Most of you are probably familiar with the assassination of President Kennedy. It was November 22nd,1963. President Kennedy and his wife were in a motorcade in Dallas, Texas when Lee Harvey Oswald shot a rifle and hit Kennedy. President Kennedy was declared deceased just hours later. Two days after, Oswald was shot by Jack Ruby. Many claim that these murders were a part of a much larger conspiracy. We probably will never know.
Attempted Assassinations And Plots
There have been many plots and assassination attempts on United States Presidents. It doesn't make a lot of sense with the fact that the Vice President usually holds the same standards as the President. Many of the people that have attempted these were deranged individuals. Lets take a look at the plots and attempts:
On January 30th, 1835, a man by the name of Richard Lawrence aimed two guns at President Jackson. Both guns misfired and Jackson started beating the man with his walking cane. the man was found not guilty from insanity. He was put in a mental institution and ended up dying there in 1861.
Before President Lincoln was assassinated, there had been two other alleged attempts on his life. The first was a supposed plot in Baltimore, Maryland. On February 23rd, 1861, Lincoln was headed to his inauguration. He was guarded by Allan Pinkerton. Many wonder if this plot was real.
In August of 1864, Lincoln was driving his horse and buggy alone when a rifle shot was heard. the bullet passed through and knocked Lincoln's hat from his head. He raced to Soldier's Home, which was his retreat from the White House. No one was ever caught.
President Roosevelt was out of office and rerunning in 1912. He was going to make a speech in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and just before he was about to go make the speech, a man by the name of John Schrank shot Teddy in the chest with a .38 caliber pistol. While bleeding from the wound, Roosevelt gave the speech anyway. He was taken to the hospital afterwards, and the bullet was not able to be removed. It stayed in his body until he died. Schrank was found mentally insane. He claimed William McKinley came to him in a dream and told him to shoot Roosevelt. Schrank died in a mental hospital in 1943.
It was November 19th, 1928 and president Hoover was in the country of Argentina. Anarchists in the country planned to bomb President Hoover's railroad car. It is believed this attempt was led by Severino Di Giovanni. The bomber was caught before he could successfully plant and activate the bomb.
President elect Roosevelt was in Miami, Florida. It was February 15th, 1933. Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at a moving car carrying the President elect. None of the bullets hit Roosevelt, but Chicago Mayor, Anton Cermak died from a wound he received. Zangara died in Florida's electric chair on March 20th.
In 1947, some letter bombs were sent to Truman. The White House knew there was a plot by a Zionist gang and intercepted the letters. The Secret Service diffused the bombs.
Truman was the target in another assassination plot. On November 1st, 1950, two Puerto Rican independence activists tried to kill Truman at Blair House. This is where Truman and his family were living while the White House was being renovated. The activists names were Oscar Collazo and Griselio Torresola. Torresola shot a policeman and the cop shot Torresola and killed him. The policeman was Leslie Coffelt and he died soon after. Collazo was captured and sentenced to death. Truman commuted his sentence to life. President Jimmy Carter set Collazo free with time served. Collazo died in 1994.
John F. Kennedy
President elect Kennedy was with his wife and children in Palm beach, Florida. Richard Pavlick had his Buick full of dynamite. His plan was to crash his car into Kennedy's. When he saw the President's wife and children, he changed his mind. Several days later, he was pulled over by police who discovered the dynamite. He was arrested and spent six years in a Federal Institution. Pavlick was released in 1966.
Nixon had plots against his life twice. In the first one, on April 13th, 1972, Arthur Bremer carried a gun into an event with the intention of shooting Nixon. The security was so tight that Bremer could not complete his task. Just a few weeks later, he shot George Wallace, the Governor of Alabama. Wallace was seriously injured. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison. He was released in 2007.
In 1974, a man by the name of Samuel Byck hijacked a plane and had plans of crashing it into the Whitehouse to kill President Nixon. The wheel blocks were in place and he could not get the plane to move. He shot both the pilot and co-pilot and a police officer shot Byck through the window of the airplane. Byck was wounded and took his own gun and killed himself.
President Ford was attacked twice with the intent to take his life. On September 5th, 1975, Lynette Fromme, who was a follower of Charles Manson, pulled a gun on Ford on the California Capitol grounds. The Secret Service restrained her quickly. Fromme was sentenced to life in prison, but she was released in 2009.
The second attempt on Ford's life cam on September 22nd, 1975. It happened in San Francisco, California when Sara Jane Moore pulled a pistol and shot at the President. The shot missed its mark and bystanders tackled the woman. She was also sentenced to life, and was released in 2007.
It really wasn't much of an attempt, considering Raymond Harvey was only carrying a starter pistol with blank rounds. It was May 5th, 1979. Carter was giving a speech in Los Angeles. Harvey was stopped with the gun by Secret Service. He claimed he was part of a four man operation to kill Carter. Harvey was found to have strong mental problems. It was found that there may have been a conspiracy, but all was dropped for lack of evidence.
It was March 30th, 1981. President Reagan had just given a speech in Washington D.C. As he was getting to his limousine, gunshots rang out. The President was hit along with three others. The person who fired the shots was John Hinckley Jr. He was mentally insane. Hinckley claimed he did it to impress actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley was confined to a mental institution. All people shot survived. The President had emergency surgery to remove the bullet and had light duty for quite some time. James Brady, who was the White House Press Secretary suffered brain damage from the wound he received.
He was already out of office, but in 1993 President Bush was to visit Kuwait University. A plan was hatched by a group that supposedly worked for Sadam Hussein to blow up Bush's car. the plan was foiled and several were arrested. It came to the attention of President Bill Clinton that Iraqi Intelligence was behind the plan. He ordered retaliation and several missiles destroyed the Iraqi Intelligence Headquarters.
There were a few instances where certain individuals wanted President Clinton dead. On January 21st, 1994, a man by the name of Ronald Barbour had a plot to kill Clinton while he was jogging. Barbour didn't realize the President was on a visit to Russia. His plot came to light and he was sentenced to five years in prison. He was released in 1998. On September 12th, 1994, Frank Corder flew a Cessna airplane onto the White House lawn. His intent was to crash it into the President killing him. He instead killed himself in the crash. He should have studied more, because the President wasn't even in the White House that day. On October 29th, 1994, around 30 shots were fired from a semi-auto rifle at the White House. The man thought that the President was one of the people standing outside. The man's name was Francisco Duran, and he was sentenced to 40 years in prison. In 1996, President Clinton was visiting Manila for a conference. It came to the Secret Service's attention that they needed to reroute the President's motorcade. There was a bomb found planted under a bridge. It was determined that this was all masterminded by Osama Bin Laden.
George W. Bush
On February 7th, 2001, a man named Robert Pickett stood outside the White House and fired several shots from a handgun at it. He was shot by a Secret Service agent. After receiving treatment for his injury, Pickett was sentenced to three years. He did it because of unemployment grievances. In September of 2001, President Bush was in Florida. Three men of Middle Eastern heritage said they had a poolside interview with the President. They were turned away. The key is, it happened on September 11th. Three hours later, terrorists brought down the Twin Towers. On May 10th, 2005, President Bush was giving a speech Tibilsi, Georgia. A man by the name of Vladimir Arutyunian threw a live grenade with the pin pulled. There was a scarf wrapped around it which kept it from exploding. The man is doing a life sentence because of it.
Obama has received many death threats. During his Presidential campaign, one man in North Carolina said he was going to shoot Obama, because he was the antichrist. If he wouldn't have claimed he was going to shoot him, he probably could not have been arrested. Another case during his 2008 campaign was a man that called Obama a racial word and said he would kill him if he won. He was arrested. In Denver, during the Democratic National Convention, three cousins allegedly had a plot to assassinate Obama. All three were arrested without incident. In Tennessee, two white supremacists threatened to kill Obama. The two men were given sentences of 10 and 14 years. Just recently, two separate letters have been addressed to Obama. Both contained the poison Ricin. One was in April and one this month.
This list is a lot longer than I thought it would be.
These are the attempts that have been made and ones that were completed.
Hope you learned as much as I did.
© G.L. Boudonk
© 2013 Greg Boudonck