Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Assassinating The Youth

Forty years ago, the world was young and innocent. Then, in 1968, an incredible stretch of assassinations and assassination attempts began in April, and came to an apex during this week in June. The victims were so young. The heart of the youth movement was assaulted.


Everyone recalls MLK and RFK, but they were not the only ones. Have you ever noticed the ages of the victims?

Martin Luther King, Jr., 39, was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. King was shot on the 4th of April, while standing on the 2nd floor balcony, near his room 306 at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

On April 7, 1968, Black Panther Bobby Hutton, 18, who held the title of the Minister of Defense, was killed by police during a firefight. Eldridge Cleaver was wounded in the shootout. Two policemen were shot in the incident.

Rudi Dutschke (born Alfred Willi Rudi Dutschke) was the most prominent spokesperson of the left-wing German student movement of the 1960s. On April 11, 1968, Dutschke, when 28 years old, was shot in the head by Josef Bachmann, and lived for another 12 years with severe assassination attempt-related health problems. He died on December 24, 1979 in Aarhus, Denmark, when he had an epileptic seizure while in his bathtub and drowned.

On June 3, 1968, Andy Warhol, at the age of 39, while in his New York loft, was shot by frustrated writer, Factory-hanger-on Valerie Solanas. The Pop Art guru barely survived the shooting, became more reclusive, and would face physical repercussions from the assassination attempt until his death in 1987.

On June 4, 1968, presidential candidate Senator Robert F. Kennedy, 42, had just scored a major victory from winning the California Democratic primary. He addressed his supporters in the early morning hours of June 5, 1968, in a ballroom at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. He left the ballroom through a service area to walk through and greet supporters working in the hotel's kitchen. In a crowded kitchen passageway, Sirhan Bishara Sirhan, a 24-year-old Palestinian, opened fire with a .22 caliber revolver and shot Kennedy in the head at close range. Following the shooting, Kennedy was rushed to The Good Samaritan Hospital where he died the next day, June 6th.

Radical leaders of a generation had been systematically gunned down. Then things grew very quiet.


What is the most prominent "cultural" assassination after the ones above? Would that have been John Lennon, who was killed on December 8, 1980, as he was emerging from his self-imposed retirement from 1976-1980? Lennon was shot four times in the back in the entrance hallway of the Dakota by The Catcher in the Rye-obsessed, former security guard Mark David Chapman. Lennon had autographed a copy of Double Fantasy for Chapman earlier that same night.

Who killed the Youth Movement in 1968?

More about these events can be found at The Copycat Effect blog, plus specifically at Sirhan: "RFK Must Die" and Assassination Copycats.

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