President Garfield only took office on March 4. After he was shot in July, he lived another two months, until September 19, 1881. But he couldn't run the country with his injuries, sadly. Can you imagine what the people were thinking? Wondering when or if he would die? It seems he had troubles before he was shot too. In May, his wife, Lucretia, caught malaria and something like spinal meningitis. *yikes!* She barely recovered, and they spent some time at the seashore.
|The assassination of President James Garfield, July 2, 1881|
Then . . . it happened. A crazy person (aren't all people who murder presidents crazy?) named Charles Guiteau shot the president twice as he was walking through the railroad station. Once in the back and once in the arm. Then the crazy fellow yelled that he did it and wanted to be arrested. He thought he would be found not guilty and then be elected president! Now, you tell me. Is that crazy or what? Come to find out, Mr. Guiteau had bought a .44 caliber pistol and had been stalking the president. He was angry that he had not been appointed to one of the positions in the president's new administration.
|The railroad station where he was shot.|
This is not a safe occupation. I asked Justin if he ever intends to run for political office, but he just laughed. "My life is at risk enough being a lawyer," he joked. But there is nothing funny about being a target for revengeful folks, let me tell you!
One time, Justin was the prosecuting attorney and was so good at it that the jury found the man guilty of his crime. The trouble was, four years later, it was discovered that he was innocent. Boy oh boy, did Justin feel terrible about that. The man had vowed to "pay him back" if he ever got out of prison. He got out, all right, and our whole family was in danger from this fellow. Justin tried to help him restart his life, but he was not willing to forgive the lawyer who put him--an innocent man--away.
It is a long and horrid story, and I never want to go through that again. But being in the public eye is not for the faint of heart. People make mistakes: presidents, senators, congressmen, lawyers, judges, and yes . . . even juries. They're the ones who found the man guilty, but he blamed it on Justin and took it out on us. Maybe some day I'll tell the whole story.