Sunday, March 9, 2014

Mo Rocca: How Doctors Killed President Garfield

NOTE the embed code from isn't working. You can see the video by clicking here.


From wikipedia:
The assassination of President James A. Garfield took place in Washington, D.C. on July 2, 1881, at the Baltimore and Potomac Railroad Station. Garfield was shot by Charles J. Guiteau at 9:30 am, less than four months into Garfield's term as the 20th President of the United States. Garfield died eleven weeks later on September 19, 1881, the second of four Presidents to be assassinated, following Abraham Lincoln and preceding William McKinley and John F. Kennedy. His Vice President, Chester A. Arthur, succeeded Garfield as President. Garfield also lived the longest after the shooting, compared to other presidents. Lincoln and Kennedy died less than a day after being shot, and McKinley died a week later.

Looking for something sexy to post in the popular True Crime category, I was browsing through the hours and hours of documentaries on the murders of Abraham Obvious, and John Fitzgerald You-Know-Who, when I found myself wondering about those other Presidential assassinations. I knew there were others, and I was pretty sure that one of them was William McKinley, about whom I knew nothing more. The one I couldn't name, it turns out, was James Garfield, who had only been President a few months when he was murdered by a delusional psychotic who was angry about not being appointed to a diplomatic office, and convinced that the murder had been ordered by God.   He also believed that a speech that he had written in support of Garfield had determined the election of 1880 in Garfield's favor.

Though most experts today agree that the assassin, Charles J Guiteau, was certainly insane, he was tried in 1881, and executed in 1882, nearly a year to the day from the shooting.  It's also generally agreed that the horrible lingering death of Garfield, due to infection, was was unnecessary, and could have been prevented if the doctors at the time had accepted the germ theory of disease.

In 2009, pieces of the rope used  to hang Guiteau were auctioned off.  You can click here if you want to read a morbid article about some of the weird shit that was done to Guiteau's body after he was executed.


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