Page 21

traveled road, they decided to try to nab him from his carriage. Again, Lincoln changed his plans at the last minute. Instead—talk about ironies!—he went to give a speech at a ceremony held in the same hotel where Booth was living! 6 As late as the end of March 1865, Booth still had a kidnap operation in mind. In one of the books I read about the assassination, it was speculated that “the fall of Richmond and Lee’s surrender may well have caused Booth to conclude that capturing Lincoln no longer had a strategic purpose.” 7 Then there was another plot that didn’t involve Booth—to blow up the White House during a meeting of the cabinet. On the night of April 14, Booth met with three of his coconspirators around eight o’clock. This was the first any of them knew about something other than a kidnapping. George Atzerodt was to kill Vice President Andrew Johnson; Lewis Powell, accompanied by David Herold, was to take out Secretary of State William Seward at his home. They were all to make their escape from the Capitol on horseback into Confederate territory. 8 The story goes that, before he went into the theater, Booth went to bolster his courage in a nearby bar, where a drunken customer told him: “You’ll never be the actor your father was.” 9 To which Booth replied: “When I leave the stage, I will be the most famous man in America.” Now here’s the strange part. For Booth to fulfill his mission, “it required information that could only have come from the highest sources in Washington.”10 In the first place, Lincoln’s attending a play that night hadn’t been publicly announced. Carrying a single-shot derringer pistol and a knife, Booth had to walk through a crowded theater and then pass through two doors into the State Box. How could Booth have known that Lincoln had a substitute bodyguard that night who wouldn’t be at his post at the fateful moment? Booth then stood behind the president without being seen by three other occupants, fired his one bullet, jumped onto the stage and shouted a message to the audience—“Sic Semper Tyrannis!” (As Always with Tyrants)—and escaped through a rear exit onto his waiting horse. “More than blind luck” had to be involved in “these skillfully timed movements and activities.”11 At least this was the way that historian figured it. But, with Lincoln himself being so averse to bodyguards and protecting himself, he certainly wasn’t surrounded by the security we have today. He didn’t want it, and seemed resigned to the fact that if someone was going to kill him, they could. So to me, how hard could it have been to pull off, if you were a determined group of

Profile for HAROLD ARROYO, JR.

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

AMERICAN CONSPIRACIES, LIES AND DECEPTION FROM THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, JESSE VENTURA  

Advertisement