Little Bits of History

Ford Tough

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 22, 2014
President Ford immediately after shots were fired

President Ford immediately after shots were fired

September 22, 1975: An attempt to assassinate US President Gerald Ford takes place. Squeaky Fromme had just attempted to kill the President 17 days before. Rather than hide in safety, the President continued his normal routine. Sara Jane Kahn Moore was born in West Virginia in 1930. She entered nursing school and served in the Women’s Army Corps. She went on to become an accountant. She was divorced five times and had four children before she turned to revolutionary politics earlier in the year. She was obsessed with Patty Heart and her kidnapping by the Symbionese Liberation Army. Randolph Hearst created People in Need to feed the poor as an attempt to appease the group holding his daughter. Moore was a bookkeeper for People in Need and an FBI informant when she became the second woman to attempt a presidential assassination.

Moore had been evaluated by the Secret Service earlier in the year and she was said to be no threat to the President. On September 21, 1975 she was picked up and released but not before police confiscated her .44 caliber revolver and 113 rounds of ammunition. On this day, she purchased a .38 caliber revolver but did not have time to test the gun. She was standing in the street outside the Westin St. Francis Hotel in San Francisco. She saw her target and took a shot. The sights on the gun were off and she narrowly missed the President. She again raised the gun to shoot, but before she could get a shot off, former Marine Oliver Sipple grabbed her arm and saved the President’s life. He also pulled Moore to the ground.

Moore was brought to trial and pled guilty to attempted assassination. She was sentenced to life in prison. In 1979, while at Alderson Federal Prison Camp in Alderson, West Virginia, Moore escaped only to be recaptured hours later. She was returned to prison, but transferred to a more secure one. She served the remainder of her prison term at a women’s prison in Dubin, California where she worked as an accountant earning $1.25 per hour. On December 31, 2007, Moore was released from prison. She was 77 years old at the time. President Ford had died of natural causes on December 26, 2006. She remained under supervised parole for five years after her release.

Fromme was also sentenced to life in prison and eventually she, too, was at the women’s prison in Dublin, California. Fromme was transferred from there to the Alserson prison where she, too, escaped. She was attempted to get in contact with Charles Manson. She was captured two days later and then sent to Fort Worth, Texas. She was first eligible for parole in 1985 but did not pursue it. She was finally granted parole in July 2008 but was not released because of her prison. She was finally released from prison on August 14, 2009 and moved to New York.

I do regret I didn’t succeed, and allow the winds of change to start. I wish I had killed him. I did it to create chaos.

I didn’t want to kill anybody, but there comes a point when the only way you can make a statement is to pick up a gun.

The government had declared war on the left. Nixon’s appointment of Ford as Vice President and his resignation making Ford President seemed to be a continuing assault on America.

I know now that I was wrong to try. Thank God I didn’t succeed. People kept saying he would have to die before I could be released, and I did not want my release from prison to be dependent on somebody, on something happening to somebody else, so I wanted him to live to be 100. (2007) – all from Sara Jane Moore

Also on this day: Manassa Mauler v. The Fighting Marine – In 1927, “The Long Count” fight takes place.
Regrets – In 1776, Nathan Hale was executed as a spy.
Tevye’s Family – In 1964, Fiddler on the Roof opened on Broadway.
Movies – In 1910, the Duke of York’s Picture House opened.