On Sept. 5, 1975, Lynette Squeaky Fromme, a member of the Charles Manson cult, aimed a loaded Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol at President Gerald Ford. Although her plea had been not guilty because she asserted that she had purposely removed a bullet from the chamber of the weapon, the 1965 law was enforced which made any attempt on the life of a President a federal offense. (She was released from prison on Aug. 14, 2009, 34 years after her assassination attempt. She is now 73 years old.)
Seventeen days later on Sept. 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore took two shots from her .38 Special revolver at Gerald Ford and missed his head by about five inches. She was subdued by a bystander and was also convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment. (Sara Jane was released from prison on Dec. 31, 2007, at age 77, 32 years later. She is now 91 years old.)
John Hinckley Jr., who attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981, used a .22 caliber revolver which wounded Reagan, a police officer, a Secret Service Agent and critically wounded and permanently disabled Press Secretary James Brady. Brady died from his injuries 33 years later. (Hinckley was officially released from psychiatric care/imprisonment in 2016, and as long as he continues to follow the rules and remains mentally stable, he will be free and unsupervised at age 66.)
Sirhan Sirhan, who assassinated Robert Kennedy on June 5, 1968, at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles, California, used a .22 caliber Iver-Johnson Cadet revolver to shoot Kennedy in the head and twice in the back. Sirhan received a life sentence and on Aug. 27, 2021, he was recommended for parole. (He has served 53 years in prison, and his parole is now subject to a 90-day review period. He is now 77 years old.)
As I look back on my career in leadership positions, there were always people who were opposed to my policies, decisions, and ideas. In fact, there were lots of people who passionately wanted me to fail. This is primarily because the rule of thumb is that a portion of the people you work with will never agree with you. Unfortunately, some will work tirelessly to remove you from your job. These are the potential assassins.
The take-away for me from both these actual and figurative assassination attempts is clear. We live in a world and are part of a civilization that is not very far removed from our homosapien ancestors. Yes, technology has advanced exponentially, but the human ape, mankind, has not made it very far. We are still a young and unsophisticated species.
The headline du jour was about the 30% increase in murders in the United States last year. Greed, ignorance, violence, lust, plus racial, political, and religious differences are continuing to thrive as we struggle to grow emotionally and intellectually as a species. We still are the only mammal that thrives on both the destruction of our own kind and of the planet that sustains us.
Our world is in jeopardy, our nation’s democracy is currently challenged, and our personal health and well-being are continuously under attack from the big corporations that manipulate us and the politicians who attempt to split us. Both are doing this for their own self-aggrandizement while they produce profits and raise funds from our differences and our apparent ignorance and emotional decision making.
Who do you trust, and why do you trust them? Before you decide, follow the money and egos. There will always be the assassins among us both personally and philosophically. We are the difference. Don’t let emotion and unfounded rumors or unproven facts cloud your judgment. It is up to us individually and collectively to go beyond and do the right thing. We are not the enemy. We must work together, find common ground, and realize we are one race, the human race.
Nick Jacobs of Windber is a Senior Partner with Senior Management Resources and author of the blog healinghospitals.com.
This article originally appeared on The Daily American: Nick Jacobs column about assassins among us