Unless you are in an usual occupation (combat military, high risk police, illegal drug dealer) the odds are generally pretty low to have someone shooting at you. It’s just certain occupations that are at serious risk of getting shot at.
What never occurred to me was that U.S. presidents get shot at a lot. Sure, I know, the Secret Service aren’t there just to keep the groupies away. But what are the actual odds of someone trying to shoot a U.S. president?
They are better than I realized:
- Abraham Lincoln was shot and killed on April 14, 1865.
- James A. Garfield was shot and killed on July 2, 1881.
- William McKinley was shot and killed on Sept. 6, 1901.
- John F. Kennedy was shot and killed on Nov 22, 1963.
- Ronald Reagan was shot and severely wounded on March 31, 1981.
- Andrew Jackson was shot at in the Capitol building on January 30, 1835, but avoided injury.
- Theodore Roosevelt was shot in 1912 while campaigning for president.
- Franklin Delano Roosevelt was shot at on February 15, 1933, in Miami, Florida, just three weeks before his inauguration.
- Assassins attempted to shoot and kill Harry Truman on November 1, 1950 but were stopped in a gunfight outside the Blair House.
- Not one, but two, disturbed individuals attempted to shoot and kill Gerald Ford during his brief time as president.
That’s four dead and 10 attempts. Since there have been 44 Presidents the odds are 4/44 or 9% of being shot and killed and 10/44 or 23% chance of being shot at. Of course that assumes the odds are constant through all time–which is a very poor assumption. But still it makes me think that’s got to be one of the riskiest jobs we have in this country. Taken as a whole, as opposed to just those in the “boots on the ground” infantry, I’ll bet being in the U.S. military today is a safer job.