Always Formulate A Plan “B”: 5 Assassination Attempts That Went Wildly Wrong

Image Credit: Reagan.utexas.edu
Normally, assassinations are no laughing matter. In fact, let’s just take the high road on this one and say that assassinations are no laughing matter. Now, assassination attempts that fail, however?We are going to go ahead and declare those to be open for business — funny business. From Abraham (Bible Abe, not 16th president of course) to Reagan, there have been countless failed attempts at killings that have shaped human history. Or, often more accurately — failed to shape it. Some were dramatic, some rather pointless. Let’s look at both!

5 Andrew Jackson

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In 1835, a man named Richard Lawrence made the grave mistake of doing anything to upset President Andrew Jackson, which absolutely included trying to shoot him. Fortunately for Old Hickory, the pistol the man used misfired. Unfortunately for would-be assassin, President Jackson’s cane did not misfire, and the CINC landed several heavy blows upon Lawrence before the killer-cum-victim was dragged away by the authorities. Ah, how the tables had turned.

4 Ronald Reagan

Image Credit: Reagan.utexas.edu

I’m not going to attack John Hinkley Jr. too hard for his attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan, which took place on March 30th, 1981, because the man was (and is) certifiably crazy. But I will say this: shooting a president to impress an adolescent actress based on her tragic role in a film is not a good M.O. at all. In fact, I’m going to have to say it is a bad thing entirely. Thankfully Reagan was pretty damn tough for a man already in his 70s and the Gipper pulled through just fine.

3 Adolf Hitler

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Damn that well-built table; if notfor it, Hitler would have been blown to high hell on July 20th, 1944. Now, of course it would have been best had Addie been blown up in 1934, or even 1924 (or had either A. Never been born or B. Been born but not been a giant asshole), but we still appreciate Col. Stauffenberg and his conspirators’ attempt to off the Fuhrer. You likely know the details of the Bomb Plot by now, thanks to Hollywood, but it was still a damn fine plan, complete with briefcase bombs, weeks of plotting, intrigue and the rest of it. If only it had killed the bastard. Oh well, he did that ably enough himself within a year.

2 Theodore Roosevelt

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If you want to kill Teddy Roosevelt, you better use a big gun, trust me. In fact, the one used to shoot T.R. wasn’t even powerful enough to interrupt the speech the former president was giving at the time of his shooting! The year was 1912, and the caliber of the weapon was .38, which is admittedly no small round, but it wasn’t enough to bother Roosevelt. The fact that the would-be assassin managed to fire his bullet through a folded up speech and an eyeglasses case before it lodged in T.R.’s chest definitely helped save Teddy’s life, but the fact that Roosevelt realized he had a piece of lead in him and decided to finish his speech anyway is nothing short of awesome.

1 King James I

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The Brits still celebrate Guy Fawkes Day because, well, when something is predicated on an attempt to blow up a building with a barrel of gun powder, you celebrate it. Guy Fawkes lived from 1570 to 1606. Note that last year closely correlates to the day the failed Gunpowder Plot was launched, November 5th, 1605. Fawkes and his co-conspirators planned to assassinate King James I and whichever members of House of Lords who happened to be around that fateful day in the hopes that they could restore a Catholic monarch to the throne. Instead, Fawkes was captured, tortured and eventually leapt to his death to avoid an even more painful death. Now, centuries later, he is burned in effigy every year and has been the inspiration for those sort of creepy, sort of stupid masks you see the hep kids wearing.

So you see, kids? Assassinations can be funny, provided they fail and are not intended for you, me, or anyone who has not been dead for long enough that we don’t feel too badly about making light of the fact that, y’know, someone tried to kill them and all.

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