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Francisco Martin Duran
In a sort of half-hearted attempt at President Clinton in 1994, Duran fired a few rounds from a semi-automatic rifle through the White House fence. No one was hurt. Duran tried to plead insanity (something about an alien mist attacking America), and also cited right-wing talk show host Chuck Baker as an influence — so no, conservative pundits obviously have no impact on the sane and rational actions of their listeners.
Yes, the cutest of the Manson crazies kind of tried to shoot bumbling football President Gerald Ford because he was being mean to trees. I say “kind of” because she emptied her gun at home before she wagged it in Chevy’s face. She also failed to contact Led Zeppelin guitar hero Jimmy Page, who she was convinced was going to be shot. Squeaky’s expected to be released in August of this year, and will likely try to assassinate Dick Cheney, not realizing that he is, in fact, already dead. [Incidentally, another woman, Sarah Jane Moore, actually got a shot off at Ford, only 17 days after the Fromme attempt. Moore missed, Ford lived, and Chevy Chase kept doing those dumb impersonations.]
John Hinckley Jr.
Like a cat laying a dead bird at your feet, Hinckley sought to offer the body of Ronald Reagan to his imaginary beloved, Jodie Foster. Instead, he injured the Cowboy in Chief and left press secretary James Brady paralyzed for life. Hinckley, a failed singer-songwriter, was found not guilty for reasons of insanity, which seems reasonable given the fact he was still obsessed with Foster in 2000, after she’d starred in Somersby (and Nell!).
Lawrence may well have been crazier than Hinckley. Convinced that we was King Henry III, Lawrence felt that he was owed a large sum of money from the American government, and that President Andrew Jackson was keeping it from him. Apparently, leading up to the assassination attempt in 1835, Lawrence began to dress flamboyantly and grew a large mustache, and maybe also started riding a fixed-gear bike (like in Williamsburg!). Lawrence laid in wait for Jackson after a funeral and, given the absence of a good, modern Secret Service, was given the opportunity to fire two quick shots into Jackson’s back; but given the absence of good, modern guns, both pistols misfired. And that’s why Andrew Jackson is on the $20 bill.
Richard Paul Pavlick
Another Dick who tried to kill a president, Pavlick failed where Lee Harvey Oswald would succeed three years later. Pavlick, an irritable New Hampshireman getting on in years, was concerned that the flag was being displayed properly and that Catholics were in thrall to Rome, itself a direct portal to Hell. So he began to stalk President Kennedy, taking photos of the prez and his family at Hyannisport and eventually following him down to Palm Beach. Poised to drive his dynamite-laden car into the motorcade (hey, did America invent suicide bombing? Yes! U!S!A!) Pavlick paused as he noticed Jackie O. and the cute little kids. The Secret Service rounded him up four days later. Dick.
It is a well known scientific fact that short men have very bad tempers, which often leads them to try to assassinate popular presidents and anyone they deem to be a “capitalist.” So it was with little five-foot Gisueppe Zangara, who stood on a chair as FDR gave an impromptu speech in Miami, in February of 1933. Zangara fired five wild shots while wrestling with the crowd, and ended up hitting Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, who later died of his wounds. Zangara was quoted as saying: “I kill kings and presidents first and next all capitalists." BUT INSTEAD HE KILLED A MAYOR. Fail.
Right after 9/11 Dick Cheney came oh-so-close to restoring assassination capabilities to the CIA. But it's not like they were all that good at it in the first place.
Jul 31, 2009