The next President of the United States was in the Seatttle area yesterday, ahead of today's Washington State caucus.
Senator Clinton was in Tacoma at the University of Puget Sound. Senator McCain blew into town in for a two hour fundraiser last night at the downtown Westin Hotel. Senator Obama addressed more than 20,000 folks at an overflowing Key Arena, far outdrawing our basketball Sonics who play there.
I was talking to Anel, my Token Black Friend, the other day and he remarked that he's heard talk in his neighborhood that if Obama is elected president they'd better just plan on burying him in the same suit he's inaugurated in. In other words, his term would last from about noon to 12:30 on January 20, 2009.
Ignoring how horrifying that would be, let's discuss it hypothetically for a minute. Say the shooter (just guessing) does the deed and is immediately killed on the scene by the D.C. Police. He (or she) didn't leave a note at home and never talked to anyone ahead of time to reveal his plan or motive. The world would probably assume race was the reason for the treason, I'm sure.
Not so fast! Did you know that there have been assassination attempts against at least fifteen U.S. Presidents and none of them were black?
Almost everyone knows the sad stories of Mr. Lincoln and Mr. Kennedy. At some point in high school you likely learned that President Garfield was shot in 1881 and died three months later. President McKinley only lasted a week after he was mortally wounded in 1901.
Then there are all the ones who in some cases literally dodged a bullet.
Andrew Jackson beat down his would-be killer with a cane after the man fired and missed twice with flintlock pistols at the U.S. Capitol in 1835.
In 1933, Franklin Roosevelt escaped unharmed but the Mayor of Chicago was killed by one of the five bullets shot at the stage they were on in Miami.
Harry Truman survived an ambush attack at D.C.'s Blair House by two men in 1950. One was killed by guards, the other convicted of the assassination attempt and awarded the death penalty. The President later commuted the sentence to life in prison.
Did you see the movie The Assassination of Richard Nixon, starring Sean Penn? It depicts a true story of a man who, in 1974, attempted to hijack an airplane and fly it into the White House and kill the President. He ended up killing both pilots, then himself instead.
Know the names Squeaky Fromme or Sarah Jane Moore? Each attempted to shoot Gerald Ford in California two weeks apart in September 1975.
Secret Service agents protecting Jimmy Carter arrested the gunman who came for him in Los Angeles in 1979. He claimed he was just there to create a diversion while Mexican hit men with sniper rifles did the killing.
John Hinckley, Jr. did not get the girl when he shot Ronald Reagan to try to impress actress Jodie Foster in 1981.
A few months after he left office in 1993, sixteen Iraqis smuggled a car bomb into Kuwait with the intent to kill George H.W. Bush as he spoke at Kuwait University.
Bill Clinton endured two assassination attempts during his long year in the White House of 1994; one when a Cessna 150 crashed onto the grounds there and the other when a man fired a semi-automatic rifle from out on Pennsylvania Avenue.
A chance malfunction in its detonator kept a live hand grenade from exploding and potentially killing its target, President George W. Bush, when it was hurled by a man in Freedom Square in Tblisi, Georgia in 2005.
Sorry for the bad news, Barack, but you've got about a one in three chance of someone trying to kill you if you win the presidency, no matter who you are. Good luck with that.