Assassinations are a terrible tragedy on several different levels. There’s the sudden loss of life, always regrettable, particularly so when it happens in violent fashion. There’s a sense of injustice, at how one rogue, usually deranged individual can unfairly impose his will on millions of people. In retrospect, there’s always the sense of “What if?” If Abraham Lincoln had lived, would the nation’s Civil War wounds have healed faster? Did John F. Kennedy’s assassination set the stage for the social upheaval in the U.S. in the late 1960s?
Four sitting U.S. Presidents have been assassinated while in office: Lincoln in 1865, James A. Garfield (1881), William McKinley (1901) and Kennedy (1963). But there have been more than a dozen failed assassination attempts of either sitting or past United States presidents. Here are five of the strangest attempts.