Thursday, November 17, 2011

EXTRA: How does Obama “shoot” fit?

We're not even close to a repeat

I’m glad that we’re not in a national sense of mourning these days, because you just know that in today’s politically partisan climate there’d be some nutcase who would want to complain that Barack Obama isn’t worthy of our sadness if someone were to try to kill him.

Which may say more about how low our society has sunk.

BECAUSE THE FACT is that history will now record Obama as one of the presidents (along with Ronald Reagan and Franklin D. Roosevelt -- if you buy into the story about former Mayor Anton Cermak) upon whom someone tried to commit the act of assassination – “succeeding” in the cases of Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley and John F. Kennedy.

Of course, Reagan took that bullet (then jokingly told first lady Nancy, “Honey, I forgot to duck”), whereas Obama only caused some dings in the outer hull of the White House that perhaps decades from now will be a political curiosity (some future White House tour guide will point to them as evidence of how stupid some of us could be back in the 2010s).

Oscar Ramiro Ortega Hernandez (that’s Oscar Ortega if you’re Anglicizing it and treating him like a human being; which perhaps you don’t want to) is the man who now faces charges as the would-be assassin – even though Obama wasn’t even in Washington at the time of the shooting.

It seems that Ortega fired a Romanian-made high-powered rifle at the White House itself – aiming at the residential quarters of the building. Secret Service agents have told various reporter-types how they have found at least two bullets.

BUT IN OUR day and age, anything that can be perceived as a threat will warrant that serious charge will get it. We certainly have come quite a ways from 1963 when federal officials had to squabble with Dallas authorities in the hours after then-President Kennedy was killed.

Because technically a presidential assassination wasn’t a federal crime, which would have put Texas authorities in charge of any criminal investigation (and there was the sense that the grandparents of the current generation of conservative ideologues might not have been that eager to aggressively investigate such a case).

As it is, I already can sense the ideologues objecting to the use of the words “assassinate” and “Obama” in the same sentence – which is what the New York Times did on their website Thursday in writing about how Ortega claimed the president to be “the Antichrist.”

Which is a pathetic joke in and of itself because we all know that anyone who truly was an “Antichrist” would probably never set foot in Chicago – it’s too cold during our winters.

BACK ON A serious note, Ortega now becomes a high-profile case for a man from Idaho who will spend the bulk of the rest of his life (he’s only 21) in a federal correctional center (and someone like Edward R. Vrdolyak can breathe a sigh of relief that he got out of federal prison on Thursday before Ortega could get into the system). He just assured himself more public attention than he’ll ever be worth.

The thought of an Obama presidency being part of an assassination string also manages to screw up our history.

Because from 1840 through 1960, every president elected in a year ending in zero died while in office. The 1980 election that gave us Reagan could be seen by some morbid types as continuing that string because someone tried to shoot him.

It was George W. Bush elected in 2000 who managed to beat the streak by not getting shot at during his two terms in office (and for that, I am thankful).

IT’S JUST A shame for us all that someone felt compelled to try to start up a new streak – which I suspect will amount to liberal-perceived presidents elected in just about any year will have some deranged person influenced by ideologues try to take history into their own hands.

That is a more scary thought than anything that ever comes out of Rick Perry’s mouth on the campaign trail.


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