Assassination is the murder of a prominent person, especially of a political figure, through a surprise attack. The crime is distinguished from murder by the prominence of its victim and by the political/social motivation of its perpetrator. A murder of a head of state, due to the degree of its impact upon society, is generally referred to as an assassination, regardless of the motivation of the perpetrator. (The 1981 attack upon U.S. President Ronald Reagan by gunman John Hinckley Jr. is referred to as an assassination attempt despite Hinckley's apparent lack of any social or political agenda.) The term also is applied to instances in which a representative of government is killed to prevent the performance of his or her assigned duty, as when a senior member of law enforcement is murdered by a criminal organization. (Thus, New Orleans Police Chief David Hennessy was assassinated in 1890, and Italian Magistrates Paolo Borsellino and Giovanni Falcone were assassinated in 1992.)
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The Assassination Web
Offers information on the killings of JFK, RFK and MLK. Free newsletter, tape store, and bookstore.
Was FDR Assassinated?
Brief description of author Bill Hanson's Closely Guarded Secrets: The Assassination of FDR. Suggests FDR died at the hands of a Nazi assassination team.
Whole World Was Watching
Oral history project that includes material on the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert F. Kennedy.
Last update:May 16, 2016 at 17:51:33 UTC