Regicidal Maniacs


Many people believe the John Hinckley verdict showed our judicial system at its most impartial. Others feel the verdict was the product of an anti-Reagan jury. But if you were a Hollywood starlet or world leader, wouldn't you be a little uneasy knowing this guy could be wandering the streets?

Hinckley is in the news again, angling for more unsupervised time with his family. To be fair, he hasn't shot a President in almost twenty-five years. But he sure is lucky he didn't take out his nation's leader in another era.

Oliver Cromwell: When the monarchy was restored in 1660, Cromwell was already dead. Probably of malaria. But his corpse was exhumed for his part in the execution of King Charles I. On January 30, 1661 "“ the twelfth anniversary of Charles' death "“ Cromwell was posthumously hanged, then drawn & quartered. For good measure, his severed head was displayed on a pole outside Westminster Abbey until 1685.

John Wilkes Booth: Twelve days after gunning down Honest Abe, Booth was found hiding inside Richard Garrett's barn outside Bowling Green, Virginia. The barn was set ablaze and Booth was shot in the spine. His body was buried inside a prison cell and twice exhumed for re-identification amid rampant "Booth Lives!" speculation. Four accomplices were hanged, including the woman whose tavern Booth visited while on the lam. And Samuel Mudd, the doctor who treated Booth's broken leg, received a life sentence, though he was pardoned by Andrew Johnson four years later.

Leon Czolgosz: About 45 days after fatally wounding President McKinley, Czolgosz took a seat in the electric chair. His trial lasted less than nine hours, from jury selection to conviction. His corpse was doused with sulfuric acid, which completely dissolved the body.

Robert-François Damiens: Planning a school assembly to discourage today's youth from becoming tomorrow's assassins? Here's what you'd get the local community theater troupe to re-enact. I'll let the Wikipedians describe the horrors that met Monsieur Damiens, who made a half-assed attempt on the life of Louis XV in 1757:

"He was first tortured with red-hot pincers; his hand, holding the knife used in the attempted murder, was burnt using sulphur; molten wax, lead, and boiling oil were poured into his wounds. Horses were then harnessed to his arms and legs for his dismemberment. Damiens' joints would not break; after some hours, representatives of the Parlement ordered the executioner and his aides to cut Damiens' joints. Damiens was then dismembered, to the applause of the crowd. His trunk, apparently still living, was then burnt at the stake."

Having supervision during parental visits doesn't sound so bad anymore.