There is constant threat to the President’s life, and according to recent reports, at any time, there are at least 1000 active threats against the Commander-in-Chief – of those 1,000, 400 are considered to be serious. A book that has been recently released gives an inside look on some of the most notorious Presidential assassination attempts and details some of the lesser known ones too.
The book, “Hunting the President: Threats, Plots, and Assassination Attempts — from FDR to Obama,” written by Mel Ayton details the several assassination plots attempted by ordinary men in the past. Although quite a few instances have been forgotten or deemed insignificant, the book details the outcomes that nearly could have gone drastically different.
Back in 1950, the White House was under construction where renovations were being made prompting the current president, Harry Truman, to temporarily move his residence across the street to the Blair House. During one afternoon, Truman was reportedly napping when two, “Puerto Rican nationalists,” approached the Blair House guns blazing.
As the men approached the doors, they saw an officer and opened fire hitting him three times. Truman reportedly opened his window, stuck his head out and asked who had been shot – an inquiry he was later reprimanded for by Secret Service. The two men didn’t make it past the lobby as they were quickly shot.
The irony here is, if the men waited just ten minutes more, the President was set to walk across the street right in front of where the men were lying in wait.
The man responsible for killing JFK, Lee Harvy Oswald, was reported to have attended a speech by Vice President Richard Nixon just months before killing Kennedy. At that time, Nixon had spoken about ousting Fidel Castro, who just happened to be Oswald’s idol, prompting a homicidal fit.
Oswald’s wife had to lock him in his bedroom to keep him from doing so and even threatened to call the police to ensure he did not leave.
The man who shot Regan, John Hinckley, was reported to have stocked up on guns and decided to follow President Jimmy Carter around the country to see just how far he could get to him – needless to say, he managed to stand a mere feet away from the leader of the free world. Deciding to enact his ulterior motives, he changed targets after the 1980 election.
In 1972 a man by the name of Arthur Bremer sought to shoot President Nixon in order to gain “celebrity” status. At that time, he bought a handgun, tracked the routes of the Presidential convoy, and laid waiting for the next time he passed. After three failed attempts, the man decided to aim for the easier target of Alabama Governor George Wallace.
A shockingly close occurrence happened when FDR was in office. While the President was speaking to the public, with Chicago’s Mayor, Anton Cermak, Giuseppe Zangara opened fire. Bullets whizzed past the President and struck Cermak amongst the commotion. Although Cermak later died from his injuries prompting Zangara to be sentenced to death, he conveyed to FDR, “I’m glad it was me and not you.”
According to the NY Post, the most surprising of assassinations almost came at the hands of friendly fire. Immediately after the murder of JFK, Lyndon Johnson was whisked away to a location where he was heavily guarded by Secret Service.
Immediately after, Secret Service had adapted and changed their protocols leaving many confused. During this time, an agent heard footsteps approaching when he pulled out a Thompson submachine gun.
The agent expressed that he hoped the sound of him racking a load into the chamber would scare away anyone. This however wasn’t the case as Johnson turned the corner and was almost blown away as the agent had the gun pointed at his chest. The agent later stated that just a half second later, he would have shot the president resulting in two presidents being shot in the same day.
Feel free to read about more unheard of assassination attempts here.
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(h/t: NY Post)