one is the loneliest number, especially for assassins

John Schrank was the kind of dude who needed Norwegian emocoustic jams in his life.

He also really could have used a friend. As a young child, his Bavarian parents died shortly after bringing him to America. Several years later, the aunt and uncle who raised him died, too. His first (and only) girlfriend died in a ferry accident. Somebody might have told John that everyone dies and that’s just a part of life. My guess is it didn’t happen.

On October 14, 1912, John tried to assassinate former¬† President Theodore Roosevelt in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He failed miserably.* John gave two reasons for the attempt: (1) William McKinley, the President whose assassination put Roosevelt in the Oval Office, appeared to John in a dream and asked him politely to avenge his death by killing Roosevelt and (2) nobody should get to be President for three terms.¬†If it was me, I would have stuck with the latter one since you could make a salient argument about term limitations, especially given the fact that nobody had ever been President for more than 2 terms up to that point. Unfortunately for John, he threw in that dream bit as well. Not unsurprisingly, Schrank was declared insane and lived in a mental hospital until his death in 1943. Ironically, he died while Teddy’s cousin Franklin was serving his third term as President.

Had John Schrank survived to this day, he probably would’ve been really into Kings of Convenience, a pop duo from Norway. Their songs feature soft harmonized vocals over detailed and subdued melodies. Listening to them can make you realize how lonely you feel, even if you’re not actually lonely. At the very least you will want to plug your guitar into garageband and overdub some acoustic licks and vocals about mooring your sloop at a desolate dock. I have one offering for Schrank’s iPod from KoC’s Riot on an Empty Street (2004):

how come no one told me / all throughout history
the loneliest people / were the ones who always spoke the truth
the ones who made a difference / by withstanding the indifference

I imagine that Schrank believed he was doing something righteous and just, as most assassins do (also as most insane people do). Truth be told, he might have been more effective tackling ferry safety than attempting to limit Presidential terms. Also he might’ve gotten a new girlfriend.

*Incidentally, you should know John was unsuccessful in his assassination attempt because the bullet had to pass through Roosevelt’s steel glasses case and a folded copy of the speech he was to deliver. Not only did John not kill Teddy, but he barely even harmed him. Roosevelt gave his 90-minute speech in spite of the wound, after which doctors determined the bullet would cause more harm if removed than if left in. It stayed in Roosevelt’s chest until he died seven years later.


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