Sunday, July 6, 2014

Ludicrous Assassinations

Assassination is nothing to laugh about, but some are just so ludicrous that you can’t help yourself.

No one was surprised when Jorg Jenatsch, a Swiss preacher involved in politics, was assassinated – to sum it up, he was a ruthless, horrible person. During a carnival for which everyone wore masks, and many were drunk, strangers approached Jenatsch and his cohorts. Many of the strangers had weapons, and one man wore a full bear suit and carried an axe. The strangers asked to join Jenatsch’s group and, despite the weapons, the much-hated preacher decided they weren’t a threat and invited them into the private room. The ‘bear’ went to shake Jenatsch’s hand, and shot him in the gut as they grasped hands. The other strangers attacked too, and Jenatsch grabbed a big candlestick with which to defend himself. It wasn’t long before Jenatsch fell at the hands of the axe-swinging assassin.

Then there’s the assassination of Reinhard Heydrich, one of the main instigators of the Holocaust – another man whom myriad people wished dead. In 1942, the Czech resistance and British Intelligence ordered Jozef Gabcik and Jan Kubis to assassinate Heydrich. The two soldiers readied their machinegun and waited at a bend in a road that Heydrich travelled regularly. What happened next is like something from a slapstick comedy skit. When the car came into view, Gabcik fired the weapon… but nothing happened – because, on the way, he had collected plants for his pet rabbits, and the machinegun had become clogged with them while disassembled in his pocket. How it slipped his notice when he assembled the gun is beyond me.

Heydrich looked right at them and, instead of being clever and getting the heck out of there, he ordered his driver to stop, then drew his pistol and shot at the would-be assassins. Again, nothing happened – because there were no bullets in his gun. Kubis then threw a bomb at the car, but mistimed the throw, causing only injury to Heydrich and his driver – and himself. Badly injured, Heydrich jumped from the car and chased Kubis, who got onto a bicycle and rode away. Heydrich then ordered his driver to chase Gabcik, who was attempting to clear his weapon of plants.

Gabcik remembered that he, too, had a pistol, and pulled it out and shot the driver in the leg, then ran from the scene. It’s not clear why he didn’t shoot Heydrich too at that point. I suspect too many things had gone wrong and he just wasn’t thinking straight. Heydrich might have survived this attempt if not for the fact that policemen battled to find a passing motorist who would take him to the hospital – in his bloodied Secret Service uniform in Nazi Germany. He eventually got there, but not in time to be saved.

If you’ve heard of any equally ludicrous assassinations, please share them with us.

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