Last Friday, there were scattered reports of gunfire reported near the White House in Washington, DC, followed by reports that a vehicle had been seen leaving the area at high speed and was later recovered (abandoned) near the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge. I assumed at the time that this was simply your standard DC gang violence, though this incident was somewhat notable for its proximity to the normally-safe federal section of the city.
It turns out that my assumption was incorrect. This week, the United States Secret Service reported finding at least two bullet holes in White House windows (the bullets were stopped by a second layer of ballistic glass). The owner a the abandoned car—Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez—appears to have traveled 1,800 miles across the United States from Idaho Falls with the intent to kill President Barack Obama (D). Obama was in Hawaii at the time of the shooting.
Ortega-Hernandez was arrested yesterday in Pennsylvania and charged with attempting to assassinate the President of the United States—a man he referred to as the ‘anti-Christ’ who told his friends he “needed to kill.”
There have been many attempts to assassinate our presidents over the years, four of which have been successful. Many of the attempts (including this one) have been badly thought out and poorly executed by people who appear to be mentally unstable, though there have been occasional attempts that one might characterize as being more ‘serious.’ The last president to be injured in an assassination attempt was President Ronald Reagan (R), who was shot and seriously injured by John Hinkley Jr. in 1981. There were several attempts against President Bill Clinton (D), notably including a private airplane crash on the White House property in 1994 and a shooting at the White House later in the same year. George W. Bush (R) was also victim of several attempts, including another White House shooting in 2001 and an attempted hand grenade attack while he was visiting Tbilisi, Georgia in 2005.
This incident is a good reminder to all of us—political allies and opponents alike—to pray for the safety of the president. Nuts like Ortega-Hernandez are after him every day, though most of them get stopped long before they’re shooting rounds off at the White House. The presidency is a very dangerous job. Consider that, so far, 4 out of 44 presidents have been murdered in the line of duty. That’s nine percent. Would you take a job that had a nine percent murder rate?
So agree or disagree with the President’s policies, and do so vehemently. That’s politics. But while you’re at it, don’t forget to pray for the safety of the man—the human being—who holds the office.