Hall of Fame
On January 30, 1835, Richard Lawrence attempted to assassinate President Andrew Jackson. Jackson was attending the funeral of Congressman Warren R. Davis of South Carolina at the U.S. Capitol. After filing past the casket he descended to the Capitol rotunda, where Lawrence approached, drew a pistol, and fired. The percussion cap exploded, but the bullet failed to discharge from the gun barrel. Jackson, at 67, lifted his cane and lunged at his attacker. Before he could give him a good trashing, Lawrence drew a second pistol and fired again. And again, the percussion cap exploded, and again the bullet failed to discharge. The odds of this happening are said to be 125,000 to 1. The funeral crowd, including Davy Crockett, wrestled Lawrence to the ground, while Jackson hit him with his cane.
Why would Richard Lawrence attempt to assassinate President Andrew Jackson?
For one, he was the rightful heir to the British throne, and Andrew Jackson conspired with various steam ship companies to prevent him from getting the money he needed to claim the English crown. And if that wasn't bad enough, Jackson also killed his father 3 years earlier.
Richard Lawrence was later prosecuted by Francis Scott Key, writer of "The Star-Spangled Banner". He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. It turns out he wasn't royalty, and his father had been dead for 12 years, and never met Andrew Jackson, or even visited the U.S. Lawrence died 26 years later at Washington's Government Hospital for the Insane.
Charles J. Guiteau supported Ulysses S. Grant so much he wrote a speech for him called "Grant vs. Hancock". After James A. Garfield won the Republican nomination in 1880, he had to change it to "Garfield vs. Hancock". Apparently, he changed the title and little else, and gave the speech twice, at most. After Garfield won the election, Guiteau was certain is was because of his speech, and he should be rewarded with an ambassadorship to Vienna or Paris. He wrote several leters to the Garfield administration, until Secretary of State James G. Blaine finally told him to get lost.
After discussing it with God, and for the sake of the Republic, Guiteau decided to kill Garfield. And, as he pointed out in his trail, this would create a great demand for his book "The Truth".
Every red-blooded American knows all about Teddy Roosevelt: how he was raised by wolves after barbarians raided his village, how he use to wrestle bears for a living, how he would routinely stare his political opponents to death (a tactic later known as "Roosevelting your opponent"), and of course, that one time he gave an 80 minute speech after being shot in the chest (That last one is actually true). What you may not know is why anyone would try to kill him. It turns out it wasn't a prank by one of his old college buddies.
In 1912, the Republican party was split between the conservative wing under President William Howard Taft and the liberal/reform wing under ex-President Theodore Roosevelt. After Taft won the renomination, Roosevelt thought of the manliest name he could, created his own "Bull Moose Party", and sought a third term in office.
This angered many for breaking the two-term tradition. But only one man, John Flammang Schrank, was visited by the ghost of William McKinley. Back in 1901, in one of Schrack's dreams, McKinley sat up from his coffin, pointed at Teddy Roosevelt, and said: "This is my murderer--avenge my death." 11 years later, while Schrack was writing a poem, McKinley tapped on his shoulder and said: "let not a murderer take the presidential chair, avenge my death." McKinley apparently mistook Roosevelt for Leon Czolgosz, the man who actually killed him.
Charles Manson may look and sound scary to you normals, but the man was Casanova to crazy women. One of his many ladies was Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme. The two met in 1967 on Venice Beach. After working his mojo, she went to live with him and his "family" at the Spahn Ranch. Squeaky apparently had nothing to do with the 1969 Tate/La Bianca murders, but camped outside of Manson's trial and carved an X in her forehead as a show of support, and preached his apocalyptic vision to the media.
Squeaky then went to live with two guys of the Aryan Brotherhood who decided to have a family dig their own graves before killing them. She was arrested, but released due to lack of evidence. So, she keeps moving in with people who turn out to be murderers. You can't blame a girl for that.
After this, she devoted herself to Manson's more family-friendly/less murdery religion of enviromentalism called the Order of the Rainbow. She began wearing red nun-like robes after Manson nick-named her "Red" after her red hair and the California redwoods. Like any good environmentalist, she wanted her voice heard, and like any crazy person she felt the best way to to do this was by threatening the President.
On the morning of September 5, 1975, Squeaky, dressed in her red nun-robes, went to Sacramento's Capitol Park where President Gerald Ford was visiting. A secret service agent restrained her after she pointed a .45 at Ford without firing.
"I stood up and waved a gun (at Ford) for a reason," said Squeaky. "I was so relieved not to have to shoot it, but, in truth, I came to get life. Not just my life but clean air, healthy water and respect for creatures and creation."
J.D. Salinger's "The Catcher in the Rye" has caused more people to go insane than the Necronomicon. That's a factual statistic since the Necronomicon doesn't exist. When Mark David Chapman murdered John Lennon he said the novel was his statement (The Catcher in the Rye, not the Necronomicon).
As a teenager in the 1960's Chapman would use drugs while listening to the Beatles. After a bad LSD trip, he was arrested and spent the night in jail. After that, he kicked the drug habit, became a born-again Christian, and YMCA camp counselor.
Around this time a friend recommended "The Catcher in the Rye" to him. He became so obsessed with the book that he even considered changing his name to that of Holden Caulfield, the books protaganist who saw the world full of phonies. Then John Lennon famously said: "We're more popular than Jesus Christ now," and Chapman turned agaist his one-time hero. He read about Lennon living in New York with millions of dollars and began to see him as a "phonie".
He turned from God and began praying to Satan, but it was the 80's now and praying to Satan was totally metal. After shooting John Lennon, Chapman read his copy of "The Catcher in the Rye" as he waited for the police.
In March of 1972, Arthur Bremer wrote in his journal: "Now I start my diary of my personal plot to kill by pistol either Richard Nixon or George Wallace." Why?: "to do SOMETHING BOLD AND DRAMATIC , FORCEFULL & DYNAMIC, A STATEMENT of my manhood for the world to see." And like John Wilkes Booth, he needed something cool to say after firing. "Got to think up something cute to shout out after I kill him, like Booth did."
Richard Nixon was, of course, President in 1972. As for George Wallace, he was the Democratic Governor of Alabama and all around racist, who in 1963 blocked a schoolhouse door baring black students from entering. He proclaimed: "Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever."
Nixon was the bigger target. Bremer went to Ottawa, where Nixon was speaking at rallies, but the security was too tight due to Vietnam War protesters. If only Nixon knew, all those filthy hippies actually saved his life.
Bremer was understandably frustrated. "I want something to happen," he wrote on April 24, "I was supposed to be Dead a week & a day ago. Or at least infamous." And he wasn't happy to settle for Wallace. "[T]o this man it seems only another failure.… I won't even rate a T.V. enteroption in Russia or Europe when the news breaks …. He won't get more than 3 minutes on network TV news." (spelling errors are his)
On May 15, 1972, Arthur Bremer, dressed in red, white, and blue, shot George Wallace 5 times, leaving him paralized for the rest of his life. Bremer never shouted his "cute" catch-phrase "A penny for your thoughts."
Fun Fact: Arthur Bremer was the inspiration for Travis Bickle, the character Robert DeNiro played in Taxi Driver, which also stared a young Jodie Foster. Which brings us to...
In Taxi Driver, Jodie Foster plays a 12 year old prostitute named Iris, whom Travis Bickle rescues/traumatizes. John F. Hinckley Jr. saw the movie at least 15 times in theater, read and re-read the book it was based on, and listened to the soundtrack for hours on end. He began to imitate DeNiro's character by wearing army fatigue jackets and boots, collecting guns, drinking peach brandy, and writing a diary. He also felt the need to "rescue" Jodie Foster.
In 1980, Hinckley began to stalk Foster while she was a student at Yale University. He left poems and love letters in her mailbox, and even managed to get her phone number and called her. After she politely brushed him off, Hickley decided he had to do something to get her attention. In Taxi Driver, Travis Bickle tries to assassinate a presidential candidate to get the attention of the woman he loves. John Hinkley would go after the real President.
Taxi Driver wasn't the only thing Hinckley was obsessed with. He was also a Beatles fan, and the assassination of John Lennon may have been what sent him over the edge. In his own words: "John Lennon is dead. The world is over. Forget it. It's just gonna be insanity, if I even make it through the first few days. I still regret having to go on with 1981. I don't know why people wanna live. John Lennon is dead. I still think-I still think about Jodie all the time. That's all I think about really. That, and John Lennon's death. They were sorta binded together."
After shooting President Reagan on March 30, 1981, the authorities searched Hinkley's hotel room. Among other things, they found: a letter to Jodie Foster, a John Lennon calender, and a copy of The Catcher in the Rye by J. D. Salinger.