I recently stumbled across the fact that most Presidential assassins and would-be assassins were under the age of 35 at the time they committed their crimes. Today we take a look at a few of them.
John Wilkes Booth was 26 when he assassinated Lincoln in Ford's Theatre during a performance of Our American Cousin. Totally tasteless Lincoln joke: "Other than that, how'd you like the play Mrs. Lincoln?"
Charles Guiteau was 39 when he assassinated Garfield (I said most were under 35 - not all). James Garfield Fun Fact: he was the only sitting member of the House of Representatives to be elected President. He also served the second shortest term of any President (six months and fifteen days).
Leon Frank Czolgosz was 28 when he assassinated McKinley at the 1901 Pan-American Exhibition in Buffalo, NY. One more reason to root for the Giants. Teddy Roosevelt was McKinley's VP and succeeded him to the Oval Office (remember this - you'll need it later).
John F. Kennedy
Lee Harvey Oswald was 24 when he assassinated JFK (or didn't assassinate JFK, depending on your belief in conspiracy theories). I'm not sure how old the gunman on the grassy knoll was.
John F. Schrank, a 36 year old saloon keeper, shot and hit Teddy in 1912. The former president, who'd left office in 1909, was seeking a third term as the candidate for the Bull Moose Party. He was campaigning in Milwaukee, WI, when Schrank, who claimed that the ghost of William McKinley came to him in a dream and told him to avenge his death, shot him in the chest. The bullet lodged in his chest but first passed through the steel eyeglass case and folded up speech TR had in the pocket of his jacket. Since he wasn't coughing up blood, Teddy decided he wasn't seriously injured and went on to deliver his 90 minute speech before seeking medical attention. Doctors decided it would be too dangerous to remove the bullet, which had lodged in his chest muscle, and TR carried it in him for the rest of his life. Bully!
Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Giuseppe Zangara was 33 years old when he attempted to assassinate FDR as the President-elect was delivering a speech in Miami Florida in 1933. He managed to fire six shots, hitting six different people before he was wrestled to the ground. FDR was not hit. As the wikipedia entry describes the incident; "being only five feet tall, Zangara was unable to see over other people and had to stand on a wobbly, folding, metal chair, peering over the hat of Lilian Cross, a doctor's wife, to get a clear aim at his target." Sounds like security was a might lax.
Harry S Truman
A 1950 assassination attempt by two Puerto Rican nationalists, Griselio Torresola (25) and Oscar Collazo (36) was foiled in a dramatic shoot-out with White House policemen and Secret Service Agents. Torresola was killed during the battle. Collazo survived and was sentenced to death, but Give Em' Hell Harry commuted his sentence to life in prison. Harry Truman Fun Fact: "S" was his full middle name; his parents chose it in an attempt to please his grandfathers Anderson Shippe Truman and Solomon Young.
So what does this show? It's obvious; the younger you are the harder time you have dealing with anger management issues.