How not to assassinate your enemies
Planning to eliminate your foes, but don’t know where to begin? Learn from the mistakes of history’s foiled hitmen in the antiguide to assassination: what not to do.
Don’t attack the wrong vehicle
One of the earliest recorded assassination attempts was on Qin Shi Huang, the first Emperor of China who oversaw the building of both the terracotta warrior army and the start of the Great Wall of China.
During his rise to power the emperor made many enemies, including Han aristocrat Zhang Liang, who – according to the historical records of the time – hired a strongman assassin to hurl a giant metal hammer at Zhang Liang’s carriage.
Fortunately Huang – who had previously survived an attack by someone wielding a lute – took the precaution of travelling with an ornate decoy carriage in front of his own, and the strongman’s hammer obliterated the wrong carriage.
A good example of brains over brawn, although the strongman and Zhang Liang both managed to escape unscathed.
Don’t detail your plans in a diary
A more recent failed attempt on someone’s life was by Bjork fan Ricardo Lopez, who became so obsessed with the Icelandic music star that he decided he wanted to become the person “who changed her life more than anyone else” by sending her a acid-bomb package.
Ricardo kept a video diary for over a year which recorded his transformation from obsessive fan to an overweight maniac with red lightning bolts painted all over his bald head.
He posted Bjork a home-made acid bomb hidden inside of a large book with the center cut out, but luckily the video diary was found before the package ever got to its final destination and authorities saved Bjork from mutilation and possibly death.
No one was able to save Ricardo however. The final entry in the video diary is of Ricardo shooting himself with a gun while wearing nothing but a cardboard sign that said “the best of me.”
Don’t forget to check the weather
Just as bizarre was the plan hatched by the Hells Angels motorcycle gang to take down Mick Jagger following a 1969 concert in which they served as his security.
The problems began when the gang kicked and stabbed a young fan to death. Horrified, Jagger declared he would never use the Hells Angels for security again.
In response, the gang took a boat out in an attempt to sail around Jagger’s home security and murder the rock star in his garden.
The plan fell apart when a wild storm threw the would-be assassins off the boat. All survived, but no further attempts on Mick’s life were made.
Don’t cheap out on equipment
In 1835, an unemployed painter named Richard Lawrence ambushed US President Andrew Jackson – nicknamed “old hickory” for his toughness – after an appearance in the U.S. Capitol.
Lawrence was convinced he was the rightful King of England, but he felt that Jackson had conspired to prevent him from taking the throne.
Lawrence fired a flintlock pistol at the president, but it misfired. As Jackson raised his cane and went after the man, Lawrence fired a second pistol, this time at almost point-blank range, but that gun also misfired.
After bystanders wrestled Lawrence to the ground, the 67-year-old Jackson proceeded to bash the man with his cane.
Lawrence was tried by a court and found to be not guilty by reason of insanity, spending the rest of his life in a mental facility.