History shows that people who rise to power, especially in the political sphere, have a greater tendency to be a target for assassination. Political stakeholders all around the world are known to have oppositions or enemies. Not all oppositions are threatening. But political enemies have displayed a stronger inclination to resort to violence, death, or the threat of death in expressing their displeasure.
Flipping through the pages of the political history book of the United States, one would discover that a good number of political figures and liberty or civil rights activists became victims of their political opponents. Some deaths were uncovered. Others remain a mystery to this very.
Here is a list of some of the most suspicious deaths in American politics.
1. John F. Kennedy
This is to date the most infamous of the numerous political deaths that occurred in U.S politics in the last century. John Kennedy was the 35th president of the United States. He was murdered on November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, while he was in the presidential motorcade with his wife, Jacqueline, and John Connally, who was the then Governor of Texas.
His death was the result of a bullet fired by a man later discovered to be Lee Harvey Oswald. Although Oswald was captured, the death of John Kennedy still remains suspicious because conspiracy theorists point out that Oswald must have been acting with co-conspirators.
The fact that Oswald was eventually murdered by Jack Ruby while in police custody appears to validate this speculation and the theories continue to this day.
2. Leon Jordan
The death of Leon Jordan sparked much attention in the 1970s. Jordan, who was a black politician, notable civil rights activist, and former policeman was shot dead on the 15th of July 1970 in Kansas City. His death drew a lot of suspicion because of the way the case was handled.
The murder weapon, fingerprints, and the vehicle the assailant used in getting away were all recovered, yet no one was held accountable for the murder despite three men initially being arrested. There were many speculations.
Some said it was an organized contract to kill him, while others claimed that a group of black men, referred to as the ‘Black Mafia’ attacked him – but in reality, this is simply a cover-up.
3. Malcolm X
The death of one of the most influential civil rights activists in the 20th century remains an unsolved mystery to this day. Malcolm X was an African-American Muslim, a spokesman for the Nation of Islam, and an advocate for racial equality and black empowerment. In 1964, he left the Nation of Islam. Not too long after, he was assassinated in the Audubon Ballroom.
Authorities placed the blame on the Nation of Islam, linking the political feud they had with Malcolm and his subsequent murder. However, some facts possibly suggest that the U.S. government had a hand in the death. The reason being that on the day of his assassination, there were no police officers stationed at the entrance of the venue as there would often be.
Also, his apartment was firebombed a week before.
4. Robert Kennedy
The story behind John Kennedy’s murder is complicated. That of his younger brother, Robert Kennedy, is even more complicated. Kennedy, a senator at that time was on his journey to becoming the next president of the United States. However, his political dreams were brought to an abrupt end when he was gunned down by a man named Sirhan Sirhan.
What makes this death very suspicious is the story of the eyewitnesses. One woman claimed that there was a second shooter. And many other witnesses assert that the official report of the government doesn’t align with what actually happened. Also, the pictures taken of the scene by one young reporter were confiscated and never seen again.
5. Huey Long
Popularly known as the “Kingfish,” Huey Long was a Louisiana senator and former governor on his way to the White House. Just like Robert Kennedy, his political ambition was cut short by his mysterious death. Long was shot by one doctor called Carl Weiss after Long had passed a bill that effectively removed his father in law, Judge Benjamin Pavy, from office.
Weiss was quickly killed by Long’s bodyguards who shot him 60 times. Because both the victim and assailant were dead, the event was narrated by Long’s bodyguards. There were numerous conspiracy theories that suggested that Weiss attacked Long but never intended to kill him and that it was gunshots from Long’s bodyguards which actually killed Long.
Even today, no one is clear about what really happened.
6. Jack Ruby
He was the assailant who famously killed Kennedy’s murderer – Lee Harvey Oswald on live television. Jack was arraigned by the authorities and tried in court. He was later found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. He appealed the decision in court, but while waiting for a new court date, he allegedly died of a pulmonary embolism from lung cancer in the prison.
His death raised suspicion because of his ties to organized crime, some evidence of premeditation, possible links to the very man he had just shot and killed plus the fact Ruby was talking about telling his side of the story. While there are many conspiracy theories, a major one suggests that he was injected with cancer cells by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) to silence him.
7. John Roselli
Popularly nicknamed “Handsome Johnny,” he was infamous for his involvement in the Chicago Outfit – a popular crime syndicate based in Chicago. He helped the organization control Hollywood and Las Vegas Strip.
Roselli was hired by the CIA in the early 1960s to plot to assassinate Fidel Castro. In 1975, Roselli was called before the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCIA) about his involvement with the CIA plan to kill Castro where he claimed it was true. The following year, Roselli was again called before the committee, but this time to testify about a conspiracy to kill President Kennedy.
Shortly before he was set to testify again, he inexplicably went missing. Just under a week later Roselli’s decomposed body was found in a 55-gallon drum floating near Miami. Many have connected his mysterious death to his involvement with the CIA.
8. Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln was known for his preservation of the American civil war and the emancipation of black slaves. Without any iota of doubt, he is regarded as one of America’s greatest and most heroic Presidents to this very day. However, heroes do not only receive admiration from the people they affect but also hatred from those who oppose their cause.
Abraham Lincoln was one of those heroes. As the 16th president of the United States, he was murdered by a popular stage actor named John Wilkes Booth in 1865 while attending a play at a theater in Washington. His death was not simply a result of hatred, but it was believed to be part of a larger conspiracy the revive the cause of the Confederate.
9. Martin Luther King Jr
This list would not be complete without mentioning the assassination of the famous clergyman and social rights activist, Luther King. He was well known for his vehement advocacy for racial equality and his major role in the ending of the legal segregation of black and white Americans in the south and other parts of the United States.
Martin Luther was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee on the 4th of April, 1968. His killer was identified as James Earl Ray, a known fugitive from the Missouri State Penitentiary. Although James was captured and sentenced, there are claims that he wasn’t acting alone. Sources reveal that the assassination was the outcome of a conspiracy involving the U.S. government, the Mafia, and the Memphis police.
10. Archbishop Oscar Romero
Oscar was given the tag “voice of those without voice” because of his efforts in speaking against the many injustices perpetrated by the military regime in El Salvador. He was killed in cold blood on United States soil in 1980 while he was holding mass in church. His death was monumental as it triggered the start of a civil war that killed 80,000 people.
Even though the U.S. government promised to avenge his murder, no arrest or conviction has been made to this date. Many believe that the government deliberately handled the case incompetently in furtherance of a different agenda.