Tempo erred in assassin comment
Since you asked
I like Richard Moeschl's weekly columns in Tempo, but he tripped up on a fact of history this week. He says Kennedy was the first president to die at an assassin's hands in 100 years. I'm pretty sure James Garfield and William McKinley were murdered in office in the interim.
' Bill K., Grants Pass
You are correct, Bill. Four presidents have died at the hands of an assassin in the past 140 years, starting with Abraham Lincoln in 1865. James Garfield was shot in 1881 (and then killed by his doctors 80 days later) and William McKinley met his demise in 1901. Kennedy was shot in 1963.
Of course they're not the only presidents to have faced a gun or some other means of death in or out of office. Andrew Jackson survived when his would-be killer's guns misfired. Teddy Roosevelt was fired on as an ex-president. Franklin D. Roosevelt was attacked as president-elect (and later died in office of a cerebral hemorrhage). Harry S. Truman was attacked by a pair of would-be assassins and Gerald Ford had two attempts on his life. Ronald Reagan was shot by John Hinckley Jr. Truman later commuted the death sentence of his one surviving would-be assassin, Puerto Rican nationalist Oscar Collazo.
William Henry Harrison died of bilious pleurisy ' the name of some sort of liver/lung ailment at the time of his death. Zachary Taylor died of cholera. Warren Harding died of pneumonia or stroke or heart attack or poisoning by his wife, depending on whom you believe. (And in case you didn't know, Harding had the biggest feet of all the U.S. presidents. He wore size 14 shoes.)
Some argue that Garfield's death was brought about by his own bumbling doctors, who infected his gunshot wound by repeatedly probing it in search of the bullet. He died 80 days after the assassination attempt.
Send questions to Since You Asked, Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to . We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.