Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘assassinate’ as a transient verb meaning,“to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons.” The high-water mark of the 1960’s, demonstrated the frequency of domestic assassination attempts. However, not since theattempted assassination of President Regan in 1981 have we experienced an attempt on U.S. soil (that’s not to say there have not been threats, creditable or otherwise, but no physical attempts).
The first assassinated man in history was killed by an arrow 5300 years ago. According to a study, published in the Journal of Archaeological Science, researchers led by Albert Zink of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman, link evidence that the first assassinated man in history was killed by an arrow, shot into his back, 5,300 years ago. Forensic evidence links his murder as an ambush style assassination, likely linked to geopolitical clashes between competing clans.
As the murder mystery of Ötzi’s remains unsolved, fast forward 5,158 years later, and the United States is in the midst of heavy social and political turmoil. As the American Civil War was drawing to a close, Abraham Lincoln is assassinated at Ford’s Theater in Washington, D.C. This is the first successful assassination on a sitting president, and a reflection back to motives of the first known assassination for geopolitical reasons. Confederate sympathetic co-conspirators masterminded the simultaneous assassinations of Lincoln, Vice President Andrew Johnson and Secretary of State William H. Seward.
Four Unites States presidents, Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley, and Kennedy have all been assassinated while holding the high office. Each one was in its own right, politically motivated.
In 1881, James Garfield, a first term Republican president, was gunned down by Charles J. Guiteau. While his mental health may have been a contributing factor in his capacity to carry out his actions (his family attempted to have him committed years prior, before he had escaped), thetrue motive is believed to be in retribution for a perceived failure to reward campaign support.
Twenty years later, President James McKinley, a second term Republican was assassinated by Leon Frank Czolgosz, a former steel worker who had been laid off during the economic crash of 1893. Finding little support from his Polish Catholic church, Czolgosz turned to anarchism to fight the social injustices he felt were happening in America.
“Czolgosz made no secret of the fact that he was an Anarchist. He was always talking about and trying to force Anarchist principles on everyone whom he talked with. He was a great coward, however, and I am surprised that he had the nerve to do as he did.”
The John F. Kennedy assassination my be the most infamous, if not one of the most controversial of all assassination plots, home or abroad. Whileconspiracy theories are abundant, the Warren Commission, which was established in 1963 and led the investigation into JFK’s killing, has accepted that a single shooter, Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone in carrying out the most notorious assassination of a United States president. It also happened to be the last successful assassination of a sitting president.
One historian who has been researching the trove of declassified documents hopes to put some of the wild theories about JFK’s assassination to rest.
“I’ve gone through each of the conspiracies one by one, trying to line them up, and could just never make [them] jump,” Timothy Naftali told The Guardian. “I believe it was Lee Harvey Oswald [who killed Kennedy].”
The last attempted assassination of a U.S. president occurred on March 30, 1981, when John Hinckley Jr. shot President Ronald Regan outside of a Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. Hinckley was motivated to assassinate President Reagan out of his desire to impress Jodie Foster. Hinckley believed that by assassinating President Reagan that Foster would be impressed and want to be with him. Hinckley based this belief on what he saw in the 1976 movie Taxi Driver, where the lead character stalks a Presidential candidate in the hopes that he will somehow impress and rescue a young prostitute played by Jodie Foster. Needless to say, Hinckley was later found not guilty by reason of insanity.
Have domestic assassinations ceased because security around U.S. presidents is greater? Have they ceased because the U.S. unilaterally forfeited assassinations as instrument of foreign policy? Or have they ceased because none of the political grievances that motivated the assassinations were actually corrected after the assassination? Only time will tell, but with such a politically divided nation, hopefully assassinations do not resurface as an instrument of political change!
Read the Original Article at Medium