29 November 2011

Assassins in the news

Many reports today discussing the determination by Norwegian authorities that mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was insane at the time of his crime, and instead of going to prison will be undergo psychiatric care.  I won't elaborate on this - you'll find plenty of discussion/analysis elsewhere.

Yesterday while driving I heard part of a discussion on NPR re John Hinckley, Jr., who in 1981 tried to assassinate president Ronald Reagan.  He has now been declared sane and not a danger to anyone.  At the time of his trial he was deemed by the jury to be "not guilty by reason of insanity," so if he is no longer insane, the rationale for detaining him becomes weaker.  And of note, his attempt on Reagan's life was never considered to be a political act; he delusionally wanted to impress actress Jodie Foster.

A report in the Christian Science Monitor discusses information being presented by lawyers for Sirhan Sirhan that suggests that he was a diversion for the real killer of Robert F. Kennedy.
The lawyers, William F. Pepper and Laurie Dusek, also said sophisticated audio tests recently conducted on recordings from the assassination night show 13 shots from multiple guns were fired — five more than Sirhancould have fired from his small pistol. Authorities have claimed eight bullets were fired, with three hitting Kennedy and the rest flying wildly around the kitchen and striking five other victims who survived.

Pepper and Dusek argue that before Sirhan's trial, someone switched a bullet before it was placed in evidence because the bullet taken from Kennedy's neck did not match Sirhan's gun. The lawyers suggest a second gun was involved in the assassination, but they do not know who fired it.
I might revisit this in the future, when I have more time, because in the years after the assassination there was a lot of conspiracy theory about the deed, in particular because Sirhan was photographed standing in front of RFK, but the fatal bullet entered his neck from behind.


  1. There's also a lot of good evidence to suggest that Sirhan Sirhan may have been a "programmed" agent ala The Manchurian Candidate because of his extremely confused state after the act. He also claims to not remember even having a gun on him.

  2. keep in mind a body may spin when collapsing, if the shooter fires multiple shots over several seconds that could account for the different directions or the victim was attempting to flee.


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