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September 19th: President Garfield Died of Blood Poisoning, Unabomber Manifesto Published
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September 19th: President Garfield Died of Blood Poisoning, Unabomber Manifesto Published


1881 - President Garfield succumbs to shooting wounds

Eighty days after a failed office seeker shot him in Washington, D.C., President James A. Garfield dies of complications from his wounds.

Born in a log cabin in Ohio, Garfield was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives while serving as a Union colonel in the Civil War. He later became a U.S. senator and in 1880 was unexpectedly nominated as the presidential candidate of the Republican Party. Successfully appealing to his humble roots, he was elected the 20th U.S. president over his Democratic opponent, General Winfield Scott Hancock.

On July 2, 1881, only four months into his administration, President Garfield was shot as he walked through a railroad waiting room in Washington. His assailant, Charles J. Guiteau, was a disgruntled and possibly insane man who had unsuccessfully sought an appointment to the U.S. consul in Paris. The president was shot in the back and the arm, and Guiteau immediately surrendered.

Garfield, mortally ill, was treated at the White House and then taken to the seashore at Elberon, New Jersey, where he attempted to recuperate with his family. The president never left his sickbed and performed only one official act during the 80 days before he died: the signing of an extradition paper. While Garfield was attempting to get well, Vice President Chester A. Arthur generally served as acting president, but there was confusion over whether he had the authority to do so, as the Constitution was ambiguous on the matter of presidential succession.

On September 19, President Garfield died of blood poisoning. The following day, Arthur was inaugurated as the 21st president of the United States. Garfield had three funerals: one in Elberon; another in Washington, where his body rested in state in the Capitol for three days; and a third in Cleveland, where he was buried. Charles Guiteau was convicted of murder and hanged in jail in Washington in 1882.

1957 - First-ever underground nuclear explosion.

On this day in 1957, the United States detonates a 1.7 kiloton nuclear weapon in an underground tunnel at the Nevada Test Site (NTS), a 1,375 square mile research center located 65 miles north of Las Vegas. The test, known as Rainier, was the first fully contained underground detonation and produced no radioactive fallout. A modified W-25 warhead weighing 218 pounds and measuring 25.7 inches in diameter and 17.4 inches in length was used for the test. Rainier was part of a series of 29 nuclear weapons and nuclear weapons safety tests known as Operation Plumbbob that were conducted at the NTS between May 28, 1957, and October 7, 1957.

In December 1941, the U.S. government committed to building the world’s first nuclear weapon when President Franklin Roosevelt authorized $2 billion in funding for what came to be known as the Manhattan Project. The first nuclear weapon test took place on July 16, 1945, at the Trinity site near Alamogordo, New Mexico. A few weeks later, on August 6, 1945, with the U.S. at war against Japan, President Harry Truman authorized the dropping of an atomic bomb named Little Boy over Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, on August 9, a nuclear bomb called Fat Man was dropped over Nagasaki. Two hundred thousand people, according to some estimates, were killed in the attacks on the two cities and on August 15, 1945, Japan surrendered to the Allied Powers.

1957’s Operation Plumbbob took place at a time when the U.S. was engaged in a Cold War and nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. In 1963, the U.S. signed the Limited Test Ban Treaty, which banned nuclear weapons testing in the atmosphere, underwater and outer space. A total of 928 tests took place at the Nevada Test Site between 1951 and 1992, when the U.S. conducted its last underground nuclear test. In 1996, the U.S signed the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, which prohibits nuclear detonations in all environments.

1994 - U.S. forces started occupation in Haiti

On September 19, 1994, 20,000 U.S. troops land unopposed in Haiti to oversee the country’s “transition to democracy”.

On September 15, 1994. US. President William J. Clinton appeared on national television to announce that his country was about to go to war with Haiti. The military intervention’s official goal, as well as its name, was to restore democracy. Referring to Raoul Cédras, the head of the military junta that had overthrown President Jean-Bertrand Aristide three years before, Clinton argued that:

“Cédras and his armed thugs have conducted a reign of terror executing children, raping women, and killing priests. Recent news reports have documented the slaying of Haitian orphans by the nation’s deadly police thugs. International observers uncovered a terrifying pattern of soldiers and policemen raping the wives and daughters of suspected political dissidents - young girls, 13 years old, 16 years old. People were slain and mutilated, with body parts left as warnings to terrify others. Children were forced to watch as their mothers’ faces were slashed with machetes... May God bless the people of the United States and the cause of freedom.”

Then and later, the Operation Restore Democracy was denounced as a misnomer. Experts concluded that there was no democracy to be restored, for Haiti had only known despotic rulers, including Aristide, whom they accused of advocating grisly acts of violence during his short tenure in power. In their view, Haitians as a people were not ready to govern themselves. Others complained that the Clinton administration’s commitment to democracy was only skin deep. The administration failed to prosecute Cédras and other human rights abusers, offering them immunity and exile instead. The U.S. occupation force collaborated with the infamous Haitian Armed Forces (FAd’H) to maintain order, later hiring unemployed soldiers in the “new” Haitian National Police. The United States supposedly abandoned Haiti to its fate, focusing instead on the economic privatization plan prepared by the International Monetary Fund.

That was not for the first time when the U.S. occupied Haiti. On July 28, 1915, 330 US Marines landed at Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on the authority of US President Woodrow Wilson, to "protect American and foreign" interests.

1995 - Unabomber manifesto published

On this day in 1995, a manifesto by the Unabomber, is published by TheNew York Times and Washington Post in the hope that someone will recognize the person who, for 17 years, had been sending homemade bombs through the mail that had killed and maimed innocent people around the United States. After reading the manifesto, David Kaczynski linked the writing style to that of his older brother Ted, who was later convicted of the attacks and sentenced to life in prison without parole. All told, the Unabomber was responsible for murdering three people and injuring another 23.

Theodore John Kaczynski was born May 22, 1942, in Evergreen Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Throughout high school, Kaczynski was ahead of his classmates academically. Placed in a more advanced mathematics class, he soon mastered the material. He skipped the eleventh grade, and by attending summer school was able to graduate at age 15. He was one of his school's five National Merit finalists, and was encouraged to apply to Harvard College. He entered Harvard on a scholarship in 1958 at the age of 16. Kaczynski earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics from Harvard in 1962. He finished with an above-average 3.12 GPA. In 1962, Kaczynski enrolled at the University of Michigan, where he earned his master's and doctoral degrees in mathematics in 1964 and 1967, respectively. At the University of Michigan, Kaczynski specialized in complex analysis, specifically geometric function theory. His intellect and drive impressed his professors. "He was an unusual person. He was not like the other graduate students. He was much more focused about his work. He had a drive to discover mathematical truth," said professor Peter Duren. "It is not enough to say he was smart," said George Piranian, another of his Michigan mathematics professors. In 1967, Kaczynski's dissertation Boundary Functions won the Sumner B. Myers Prize for Michigan's best mathematics dissertation of the year. Allen Shields, his doctoral advisor, called it "the best I have ever directed", and Maxwell Reade, a member of his dissertation committee, said "I would guess that maybe 10 or 12 men in the country understood or appreciated it." In late 1967, he got a teaching job at the University of California at Berkeley, but quit two years later. In 1971, Kaczynski purchased some property in Lincoln, Montana, with his brother. There, the future Unabomber built a small, secluded cabin where he lived off the land as a recluse from the late 1970s until his arrest on April 3, 1996.

In May 1978, an unmailed package was found in a University of Illinois, Chicago, parking lot; a security guard was later injured when he opened the package. The following year, another bomb exploded at Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois, injuring one person. In November of that same year, 12 people on an American Airlines flight from Chicago to Washington, D.C., were treated for smoke inhalation when a bomb in a mailbag aboard the plane caught fire. Investigators eventually linked the three incidents, as the bombings continued and spread around the country. In December 1985, the owner of a computer store in Sacramento, California, was killed by a bomb filled with nail fragments. After a similar explosion in Salt Lake City two years later, investigators got their first eyewitness description of the bomber after someone reported seeing a man in aviator sunglasses and a hooded sweatshirt at the scene of the crime. In April 1995, The New York Times received a letter from the Unabomber stating that the killings would stop if the paper printed a 35,000-word manifesto. In September of that year, the Times and the Post complied, and David Kaczynski eventually recognized his brother Ted’s writing as that of the Unabomber and contacted the FBI.

Kaczynski writes that technology has had a destabilizing effect on society, has made life unfulfilling, and has caused widespread psychological suffering. He argues that, because of technological advances, most people spend their time engaged in useless pursuits he calls "surrogate activities," wherein people strive toward artificial goals, including scientific work, consumption of entertainment, and following sports teams. He predicts that further technological advances will lead to extensive human genetic engineering and that human beings will be adjusted to meet the needs of the social systems, rather than vice versa. He believes that technological progress can be stopped, unlike some people, who he says understand some of its negative effects yet passively accept it as inevitable, and calls for a return to "wild nature".

Kaczynski argues that the erosion of human freedom is a natural product of an industrial society because "the system has to regulate human behavior closely in order to function," and that reform of the system is impossible as "changes large enough to make a lasting difference in favor of freedom would not be initiated because it would be realized that they would gravely disrupt the system." However, he states that the system has not yet fully achieved "control over human behavior" and "is currently engaged in a desperate struggle to overcome certain problems that threaten its survival." He predicts that the system succeeds in acquiring sufficient control over human behavior quickly enough, it will probably survive. Otherwise it will break down," and that "the issue will most likely be resolved within the next several decades, say 40 to 100 years."

Kaczynski stated that "a movement that exalts nature and opposes technology must take a resolutely anti-leftist stance and must avoid all collaboration with leftists", as in his view "leftism is in the long run inconsistent with wild nature, with human freedom and with the elimination of modern technology".

Kaczynski was the target of the longest and costliest investigation in the history of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Before his identity was known, the FBI used the acronym UNABOM (University and Airline Bomber) to refer to his case, which resulted in the media naming him the "Unabomber". In January 1998, Kaczynski agreed to a plea bargain with the government and was sentenced to life in prison. Prosecutors wanted the death sentence for Kaczynski while he refused to accept a defense based on mental incapacity that could have gotten him a life sentence. As the trial was about to begin, prosecutors agreed to recognize Kaczynski's mental illness, allowing him to plead guilty to 13 of the Unabomber crimes, including the three fatal bombings, and not to seek the death penalty. He is incarcerated at Federal ADX Supermax, 5880 State Highway 67, Florence, Co. 81226, #04475–046

Author: USA Really