Saturday, May 10, 2014

It Takes More Than That to Kill a Bull Moose

The attempt on Theodore Roosevelt’s life came just after he had finished dinner at the Hotel Gilpatrick in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

The day was October 14, 1912.

Roosevelt was waving his hat to the crowd when a man came up out of nowhere, and fired a shot into the former President. The bullet struck Roosevelt in the chest. At first he didn’t think he was hit. But, when they checked him over in the car, there was blood on his shirt, and a bullet hole in his chest.

The shooter John Schrank, an unemployed New York saloon keeper had been stalking Roosevelt for weeks waiting for an opportunity to take his shot. A letter was later discovered on the gunman. It said, “To the people of the United States…In a dream I saw President McKinley sit up in his coffin pointing at a man in a monk’s attire in whom I recognized Theodore Roosevelt. The dead president said—‘This is my murderer—avenge my death.’” And, so he dogged the former President for thousands of miles, and took his shot.

For Roosevelt’s part, he was scheduled to make a campaign speech that night before thousands of people, and that he did, despite his doctors and advisors requests that he should immediately go to the hospital.

What saved his life was a fifty page speech he had, folded in two in his breast pocket, and a steel eye glass case. They slowed down the bullet just enough, so that Roosevelt wasn’t severely injured. The bullet went into the chest near his right nipple, and burrowed in about three inches deep. It was never removed, and remained in the former President’s body until the day he died.

That night at his speech Roosevelt told listeners, “It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose!”