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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

POLITICAL ASSASSINATIONS IN AMERICAN HISTORY

OK, you got your extended Bush tax cuts for the rich, and you have established control over the House of Representatives, and you've been Speaker of the House for 8days. NOW, WHERE ARE THE JOBS, MR. BOEHNER?
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Ours is a violent country. We TRY to be a nation of laws, but in many cases over our history we have descended into mob rule. At the very height of it all lies a very unhealthy obsession with guns. We are not only the world's biggest-ever arms merchant, but we have far more guns per capita than any nation on earth. The National Rifle Association constantly opposes any effort by sane-thinkers to roll back availability on almost any kind of automatic or semi-automatic weapon or to place restrictions on the types of person who can own a gun. Their paranoia about nonexistent government attempts to confiscate all guns to enslave us all into a one-world government is absolute craziness, yet they are nearly always successful in their efforts. We have the most pro-gun government anywhere in the world, and, in spite of our overwhelming obsession, we call ourselves a civilized people.

Today's post is dedicated to all the political assassinations our country has endured. In light of the recent near-assassination in Tucson of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, I though it would be interesting to lay these all out for you. Read it and weep, my friends.

1. Alexander Hamilton (1804) - this former Treasury Secretary was shot in a duel with the SITTING VICE PRESIDENT Aaron Burr!

2. Solomon P. Sharp (1825) - this Kentucky State Senator-elect was stabbed in front of his home.

3. Charlie Brent (1847) - this Governor of New Mexico Territory was killed by arrows and scalping.

4. James Strang (1856) - this Michigan State Representative died from gunshot wounds.

5. ABRAHAM LINCOLN (1865) - our 16th President was shot in the head in Ford's Theater at the conclusion of the Civil War by actor and southern-sympathizer John Wilkes Booth.

6. John P. Slough (1867) - Chief Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court, he was also killed by gunshot.

7. Thomas C. Hindman (1868) - U.S. Rep from Arizona, died from gunshot.

8. James M. Hinds (1868) - also a U/S. Rep from Arizona, he died from gunshot from a Ku Klux Klan member.

9. Edward Dexter Holbrook (1870) - a delegate to the U.S. House from Idaho Territory, he died of a gunshot wound.

10. JAMES A. GARFIELD (1881) - our 20th President, he was fatally shot by Charles J. Giteau, a deranged political office seeker, only 4 months into his presidency.

11. John M. Clanton (1889) - gunshots claimed the life of this Congressman-elect from Arkansas.

12. Carter Harrison, Sr. (1893) - Mayor of Chicago. Death by gunshot.

13. Ed King (1896) - Mayor of Mount Pleasant, IA. Was killed by gunshot at a city council meeting.

14. William Goebel (1900) - Governor of Kentucky. Killed by a gunshot to the chest.

15. WILLIAM McKINLEY (1901) - Leon Frank Czolgosz shot our 25th President in the abdomen as he stood in a greeting line at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, NY.

16. Anton Cernak (1933) - Mayor of Chicago. He took a bullet fired in the direction of President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami, FL.

17. Huey Long (1935) - This colorful and reviled Louisians Senator died in a fusillade of bullets fired while he was visiting his state capitol.

18. Albert Patterson (1954) - Alabama Attorney General-elect was murdered by gunshot.

19. JOHN F. KENNEDY (1053) - This popular first-ever Irish Catholic President, our 35th, was murdered by a gunshot to the head while driving in an open limousine in Dallas, TX.

20. MALCOMB X (1965) - this civil rights leader was killed by gunfire from a rival faction at a Black Muslim meeting in New York.

21. George Lincoln Rockwell (1967) - the founder of the American Nazi Party was killed by gunshot.

22. Dr.Martin Luther King, Jr. (1968) - This popular and eloquent civil rights leader was killed by gunfire as he stood on the balcony of a Memphis motel.

23. Robert F. Kennedy (1968) - Brother of assassinated President John F. Kennedy, this popular Senator from New York was killed by gunfire moments after winning the 1968 California Democratic primary.

24. Harvey Milk (1978) - San Francisco City Supervisor. Was killed by bullets to the chest and head.

25. George Moscone (1978) - Mayor of San Francisco was killed by bullets to the abdomen and head.

26. Leo Ryan (1978) - This California Congressman was killed in the massacre at Jonestown, by a hail of bullets.

27. John H. Wood, Jr. (1979) - U,S, District Court Judge. Gunshot.

28.Russell G. Lloyd, Sr. (1980) - Mayor of Evansville, IN. Was shot 4 times with a handgun by an irate citizen.

29. Alfred K. Lowenstein (1980) - this former representative from New York was killed by a deranged gunman in his office.

30. Robert Smith Vance (1989) - U.S. Federal Judge. Was killed by a letter bomb.

31. Tommy Burks (1998) - Tennessee State Senator. Killed by a gunshot to the face.

32. Derwin Brown (2000) - Sherriff-elect of De Kalb County, Georgia. Killed by gunshots.

33. James E. Davis (2003) - New York City councilman who was killed by gunshots to the chest.

34. Bill Gwatney (2008) - Chairman of the Arkansas Democratic Party. Was killed by cunshot.

35. John Thorton (2010) - Mayor of Washington Park, IL. Was killed be a gunshot wound to the chest.

36. John Roll (2011) - U,S, Federal Judge. Shot to death by a gun-wielding madman during the attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffors' life.

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This is just a list of the successful attempts on political figures' lives. There have been many, many other unsuccessful ones as well, from attempts on President Andrew Jackson all the way up to the attempt on Ms. Giffords last Saturday. In recent years, there has always been a tendency to begin a discussion to adopt stricter gun control laws right in the immediate aftermath of a shooting. Yet after a protest from lobbies like the ultra-paranoid National Rifle Association, these discussions are always dropped after a short time and we go right back where we started from.

This is nothing to be proud of!

So who is next? God only knows, but it is a certainty it WILL happen again. We never seem to learn in this country...

9 comments:

tnlib said...

This is a fantastic timeline. Thanks for puttling it together and sharing with us. Proof that politics is a violent business.

Bill's Big Bamboo said...

Excellent history lesson & warning that there will always be more.

mud_rake said...

Right, Jack, we never seem to learn. There will be a hubbub for a week or so then it will fade.

The NRA has most of Congress by the kahunas so that no legislator dare bring up any type of gun legislation.

Sadly, your list will continue to increase albeit at a faster rate in the next few years.

Marc McDonald said...

Nice piece, Jack.
It speaks volumes about how America has changed when you consider that after the 1968 assassinations, lawmakers took sensible steps on gun legislation.

Compare that to today. There is zero chance of any new gun restrictions in the aftermath of the Giffords shooting. Even President Obama has earned an "F" in the past from the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence---and I doubt that will change.

Oh, and before the gun nuts chime in with their predictable bumper-sticker fodder, I'd like to point out that a Glock is an extremely high-tech killing instrument that the Founding Fathers would not have even been able to comprehend, any more than they could comprehend an Airbus 380 SuperJumbo airliner. (If you doubt that, then do some reading about advanced weapons like the Glock. It's amazing how high-tech and advanced they are....even the materials involved would have been considered in the realm of science fiction only 50 years ago).

It's highly misleading for the gun nuts to talk about the "Founding Fathers and guns"---when the Founding Fathers' concept of "guns" was a trillion light years away from the high-tech precision killing instruments we have today.

Oh, and one other thing, gun nuts: in my preceding comments I did not advocate taking away your precious guns, so just STFU. I'm just raising a few points that I never see mentioned in the gun debate.

Jack Jodell said...

tnlib,
Thanks for your kind words and I'm glad you enjoyed it. I guess any time we take a stand we're open to attack, but take a stand we must. Blog on, sister! :-)
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Thanks, Bill's Big Bamboo.
It's too bad, but unfortunately there always will be more!
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mud_rake,
Life would be so much better and less complicated if mankind had not devised corporations, the Republican and Tea Parties, and the NRA, wouldn't it? The excesses emanating from each of them are disgusting, and each in its own way represents humankind at its worst!
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Marc,
Thanks for saying what you did. There is NO REASON ANYBODY needs a gun like the Glock. The people who own and have now flocked to buy one are delusionally paranoid. It is utter insanity.

Oso said...

I used to work with a group of extreme conservatives in Idaho.I recall telling them once (attempting to be conciliatory)that I had no issue with guns for home protection, hunting,etc - but NOBODY needed automatic weapons at home. Had to be agreement there, right?

Wrong! They pointed out they might need them in case we got invaded by the Chines. My response was "if anybody kicks the ass of the US army how is a bunch of fat drunks in pickup trucks gonna do against them?"

Jack Jodell said...

Good point, Oso, and their logic is indeed very flawed. We rational thinkers will never understand that paranoid, good-ol-boy mentality, and I'm GLAD!

Lisa G. said...

Holy shit Batman - that's a long list. One little quibble - #16 is Anton Cermak, not Cernak. He was the great, great uncle of my first boyfriend (and we even have a toll booth named after him in Chicago - I'm sure he'd be pleased).

Lisa G. said...

Oh, and Glocks are made to kill PEOPLE; there is no other use for them. You sure as hell can't take them hunting.