Monday, December 28, 2009

The Attack on the Pope, Other Celebrities and Mental Illness -- 2

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Pop musician John Lennon
Photo courtesy: http://beckyluz.wordpress.com/tag/john-lennon/

Pope John Paul II Stabbed at Fatima, Portugal

Besides the present pope's, there were dozens of other cases of mentally-disturbed persons attacking celebrities. On May 12, 1982, late Pope John Paul II, on a visit to Fatima, Portugal, was stabbed with a dagger by a priest, named Juan Maria Fernandez Krohn. He was an ultra-nationalist Spanish Catholic priest, belonging to the Society of St. Pius X, who opposed the reforms and leniencies of the Second Vatican Council. He claimed that the pope was a communist and was cooperating with the Soviet Union in corrupting the Vatican. In the attack, the pope was slightly hurt and bloodied, but his injury was not revealed to the press at that time.

Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi Attacked in Milan, Italy

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, attending a rally in Milan on December 13, 2009, was attacked by a man, named Massimo Tartaglia. The attacker struck at the face of the Prime Minister with a metal souvenir statue of the city's gothic cathedral. Seriously injured Berlusconi was rushed to the hospital. He suffered a broken nose and lost two of his teeth. The Prime Minister later pardoned his attacker, who police said had a history of psychiatric problems, on compassionate grounds.

An Attempt on the Life of US President Ronald Reagan

It was March 30, 1981. US President Reagan was elected to his office just 69 days ago. After speaking to a luncheon gathering of the members of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) at the Washington Hilton Hotel, he was coming out of the hotel to meet his car outside. At that time, John Hinckley, Jr., fired his revolver six times, slightly wounding the president and seriously injuring his press secretary, Washington, D.C., police officer and a Secret Service agent.

Hinckley got arrested and, when found to be suffering from psychiatric disorders, was confined to a hospital. He was pathologically obsessed with film actress Jodie Foster, who ignored his repeated advances. To draw her attention as well as to prove that he was an important person, he tried to kill President Reagan.

Beatles Star John Lennon Murdered in New York, USA

The four-member British Beatles group was world famous in rock music. John Lennon, one of the members, was an important rock star. After the break-up of the group, he was living in New York. Earlier in the day on December 8, 1980, a young man named Mark David Chapman, requested and got an autograph of the musician as he was leaving his Dakota apartment building. Late in the evening, when the Lennons returned, Mr. Chapman was still waiting in front of the building. As John Lennon passed the young man after his wife, he was called back, "Mr. Lennon?" and the young man pumped five bullets on him. Four bullets struck him except one. Seriously wounded John Lennon managed to stumble up a few steps into the office of the Dakota building and said: "I'm shot." Then he falls on to the floor. His wife, Yoko Ono, screamed for help.

A few years later, the BBC interviews Mark David Chapman for a documentary in his prison cell, where he says: "He [John Lennon] walked past me and then I heard in my head, 'Do it, do it, do it,' over and over again, saying 'Do it, do it, do it,' like that." He also added: "I don't remember aiming. I must have done, but I don't remember drawing a bead or whatever you call it. And I just pulled the trigger steady five times." Mr. Chapman described his feeling at the time of the shooting as "no emotion, no anger, dead silence in the brain."

The common thread among these attackers was psychiatric disorders.


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