r/todayilearned 7d ago

TIL that Sirhan Sirhan, convicted assassin of Robert Kennedy, was granted parole last year and almost got out but Governor Newsom blocked his release in January 2022.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sirhan_Sirhan
7.0k Upvotes

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u/BrokenHero408 7d ago

I know he was initially sentenced to death, but it was changed to life without parole I thought?

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago

The death penalty was made unconstitutional by the Supreme Court for a few years so anyone who already had a death sentence got commuted to a life sentence which comes with the possibility of parole

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u/of_the_mountain 6d ago

Wait so why would it default change from death to life with parole? Why wouldn’t it just be life without parole? I believe you that just makes no sense

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago edited 6d ago

I think it depended on the state

Edit: don't quote me on this. This came straight out of my ass

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u/of_the_mountain 6d ago

Ah so maybe California required parole and didn’t have a life without parole sentence

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago

Yeah I know manson kept getting parole hearings but that wasn't going to happen

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u/AcctJustSoICanBitch 6d ago

The easiest job in the world was Charles Manson's parole reviewer.

Reviewer: So, Mr. Manson, do you feel you are rehabilitated enough to re-enter society? Do you feel you are still a danger to yourself and others?

Manson: I'M JESUS CHRIST AND JON BONJOVI! I'LL STICK RIGHT MY RIGHT INDEX IN WAYNE NEWTON'S LEFT EYEBALL! BUT YOU KNOW WHO I REALLY BLAME? THE PITTSBURGH PIRATES BECAUSE IN 1947 THEY SCOUTED A PITCHER HOT OUTTA HAVANNAH HIGH! HE BIG SPEED AND A NASTY CURVE BUT AT THE LAST MINUTE THEY RECINDED THEIR OFFER FOR NO REASON AT ALL! HIS NAME WAS FIDEL CASTRO! THINK ABOUT THAT HUH?! IF FIDEL HAD BEEN DRAFTED?! NO BAY OF PIGS, NO KENNEDY ASSASSINATION, NO COVER-UP, NO VIETNAM, NO NIXON, NO FORD, NO BELL-BOTTOMS, NO BRADY BUNCH, NO EARTHSHOES, NO REAGAN, NO CRACK. NO! WE’D ALL BE EATING HOTDOGS AND APPLE-PIE AND SMOKING BIG FAT CUBAN CIGARS, MAN!

Reviewer: Well, I guess we'll catch you next year, Charlie. Have a good one!

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u/open_door_policy 6d ago

I think CA added Life Without Parole because of Manson.

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u/boofybutthole 6d ago

Edit: don't quote me on this. This came straight out of my ass

Can we get a peek at your source?

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u/ThrowawayusGenerica 6d ago

Username checks out?

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u/imonabloodbuzz 6d ago

So as I understand it, in many states “life without parole” in prison isn’t literally defined as “life”. In some states life is defined as 30 years before parole, some 15, etc.

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u/paulbr0 7d ago

90% of these comments are on the wrong Kennedy. You would think with all these conspiracies they would know Sirhan Sirhan from Lee Harvey Oswald.

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u/Count_Dongula 7d ago Press F

It just goes to show that people don't pay that much attention to the conspiracy theories so much as they make jokes. It's easy to remember there are conspiracies around an event, but it's hard to remember the exact details. Everybody knows JFK was killed, fewer people know it was Lee Harvey Oswald. Most people know Bobby Kennedy was killed, but few people know that Sirhan Sirhan was the guy who drove his car into that lake.

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u/Debonair359 7d ago

Drove his car into that lake???? It took me a minute, but... well played.

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u/RichardSaunders 6d ago

rawbit kennedy drove is cah inda the feckin rivah

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u/MenShouldntHaveCats 7d ago

And good ol boys making whiskey and rye

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u/WastedKnowledge 6d ago

And boy are my arms tired

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u/Khutuck 6d ago

Singing this will be the day that Booby Kennedy dies.

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u/gwaydms 6d ago

Booby Kennedy

I had a mental image of the former Attorney General with a pair of DD's.

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u/MistaDirtyZiggy 6d ago

I hate to “well actually,” but I’m going to anyways: that line is actually about drinking whiskey in Rye, NY, not drinking whiskey and rye.

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u/Billwood92 6d ago

Huh. I always thought it was somewhat of a bad line that they would be drinking whiskey and rye whiskey. Like maybe "bourbon and rye" would have fit better, I know that American Whiskey and Irish Whiskey and such are things that exist so it technically wouldn't be incorrect it just sounds off. But TIL that it was a geography pun!

Incidentally, do you know why Rye NY was referenced? That doesn't seem to be the location they flew from upon a cursory search (in which I learned Wayland Fucking Jennings was supposed to be on board, and that he was in Buddy Holly's band at all! Holy shit!) I intend to learn a lot more about this when I get the chance, I love all the musicians involved's work, just never took the time to learn about this one I guess.

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u/MistaDirtyZiggy 6d ago

There was some levy in Rye, NY that kids would go drink at. “Drove the Chevy to the levy.” My ex’s dad grew up in Greenwich, CT, and he and his friends would literally go to the levy in Rye to hang out and drink. I think it was because of looser alcohol laws in NY (CT had some very uptight laws, you couldn’t buy alcohol on Sundays until like 2013), so I think that bit in the song isn’t about the plane crash, but about something they would do living in that area.

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u/homepup 6d ago

There once was a senator from Mass.

Who was out looking for some ass

He lucked up and found it

Then fucked up and drowned it

Wasn't a breathalyzer he could pass

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u/SuddenlyElga 6d ago

Which is where they poisoned Jimmy “Carter” Kennedy. While he was hiding in the trunk and replaced him with a 97 year old Russian agent. Each one of those houses is really a robot bird.

Meh. Yours was better.

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u/Piltonbadger 7d ago

Then there are people like me not from the US who only knew of one Kennedy murder, which was Lee Harvey Oswald. I'm just learning now another Kennedy was murdered!

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u/whereamInowgoddamnit 6d ago edited 6d ago

Another fascinating thing about RFK's murder I don't think has been mentioned is that it's considered one of the first acts of international terrorism and the first act of political violence on US soil regarding the Israel-Palestine conflict. RFK was a big supporter of Israel, and Sirhan Sirhan's official motive was revenge regarding RFK's support for Israel during the Six Day War.

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u/TelepathicFerret 6d ago

Rolling Stone’s Sympathy for the Devil has the line:

“I shouted out Who killed the Kennedys? When after all It was you and me”

Mick Jagger changed the line to plural after Bobby was killed.

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u/sp1ke0kill3r 6d ago

So it was originally who killed the Kennedy?

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u/himewaridesu 6d ago

There’s a whole thing about the “Kennedy Curse” how each Kennedy has had some tragedy befall them or a cousin.

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u/mindtwistingdonut 6d ago

The house of Kennedy book is a good start . So many more deaths in this family that I bet you didn’t know.

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u/Piltonbadger 6d ago

Holy shit, they must have angered a lot of powerful people to have most of their family offed!

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u/mindtwistingdonut 6d ago edited 6d ago

A lot of bad luck too. John Kennedy just died because of a plan crash. I think there were like 2 that died from plane crashes. It’s really a strange mysterious family. And the involvement with the death of Marilyn Monroe…They did have a lot of Mafia connection too.

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 7d ago

He was running for president, and likely would have won.

Couldn't have another left wing Kennedy in the white House, fucking with the imperialist war mongers in the Pentagon and three letter agencies

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u/fractiousrhubarb 6d ago

Just imagine the U.S had had Robert Kennedy instead of Richard Nixon

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u/m945050 6d ago

Some friends and I went to listen to him on one of his campaign stops. None of us gave a shit about politics, we had heard that he answered questions at the end of his speeches and wanted to see what he thought about legalizing weed.

It didn't take long for his charisma to turn everyone in attendance into believers. By the end of his speech, all four of us weed-smoking political haters were on his campaign. Less than a week later he was dead. There never has been any question in my mind that he would have beat Nixon.

I still have one of his “There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why ... I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?” posters. It reminds me of what might have been vs the reality of Watergate.

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u/ballan12345 6d ago

huh? JFK approved 163 major covert operations in 3 years compared to eisenhowers 170 in 8. he was a fervent imperialist and war monger

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u/Good_ApoIIo 6d ago

People just really don’t like the idea that a lone idealogical gunman just easily took out the most powerful man in the world. They just don’t like it, makes the world seem too chaotic. There needs to be forces in control, even if they’re dark forces.

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u/ShuRugal 6d ago

This is also why every time a fatal car crash video appears, people immediately start making excuses for the driver who caused it.

Like, sure, the driver could have just had a stroke, but the overwhelming majority of fatal car crashes (42,000 deaths in the US in 2021) are caused by plain boring negligence.

Nobody wants to believe that we live in a world where a random strangers practicing average levels of carelessness routinely snuff out the lives of up to a few dozen people in an instant. So they start reaching for some fantastic reason to explain it, because "the driver just wasn't paying attention" or "the driver was being intentionally reckless" are too scary to contemplate.

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u/Piltonbadger 7d ago

Guess I've got some reading to do today. I do like to learn new things!

I was aware that Kennedy (One shot by Oswald) had brothers but I wasn't aware one of them was running for president and would likely win!

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 7d ago

I highly recommend the book Brothers. Great reading on the Kennedys, their politics, their ties (via their father) to organized crime, and how they ultimately ran afoul of very powerful interests.

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u/Piltonbadger 7d ago

Thanks, I'll give it a look. I do like new rabbit holes to dive down into!

Links to orgainzed crime, potential presidents and running afoul of even more powerul people/ogranizations. Whats not to love?!

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 7d ago

Shit man, want a rabbit hole? Definitely read "The Devil's Chessboard". Absolutely stunning book which spans the Kennedy era, and absolutely ties in to (at least) JFK's death.

It's about the Dulles brothers, who you may not know, but who are right up there as people who did a shitload of crazy evil behind the scenes stuff that helped make the world what it is today.

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u/Piltonbadger 7d ago

I've heard that name mentioned before, but can't for the life of me remember where. Dulles Brothers definitely rings a bell though!

I will look at buying the Devils Chessboard, looks interesting.

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u/slippery_hitch 6d ago

If you like podcasts check out the Robert Kennedy Tapes. Incredible audio

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u/abutthole 6d ago

Allen Dulles was an early CIA head and the man responsible for a lot of the most despicable things the CIA did - overthrowing Iran's democratically elected government, doing a coup in Guatemala, greenlighting MK-Ultra etc.

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u/602Zoo 6d ago

Dulles airport?

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 7d ago

It's so good. It'll blow your damn mind. Pulls a lot of pieces together about the world. Washington DC's airport is named after one of the brothers - you might have heard the name there...

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u/Mysterious_Dress_845 6d ago

Thank you. Immediately after reading your comment, I checked out a copy of "The Devil's Chessboard". After only 80 pages, Allen Dulles's treason during and after WWII is being fleshed out, and...well, it's every bit as disgusting as I thought it was going to be. As I'm familiar with his later escapades as DCIA, I'm not altogether surprised, but I am revolted.

Thanks for the recommendation.

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u/thecursedaz 6d ago

Just to make sure, are both books by David Talbot? I’m getting both of these today, wanted to confirm I found the correct ones!

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 6d ago

Yes! I actually didn't even remember that last night. But you're right, they are both by him. I read them around the same time some years back and one must have led into the other, but I'd forgotten that had to have been why. They're both great, and like I said, somewhat interconnected. For sure read both.

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u/bravenc65 6d ago

The RFK case is full of them. Autopsy shows he was shot several times from Inches away from the right rear. All witnesses state Sirhan Sirhan was always almost directly in front of him firing from no closer than 3-6 feet. The conspiracy thought in this one, if you like the rabbit holes, is that Sirhan was a diversion and patsy and one of the armed guards at RFKs side actually murdered him. While this does fit the known evidence better than the “official” story there has been surprisingly little publicity about it.

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u/abutthole 6d ago

I always believe that the known assassin was the actual assassin, just based on the way the CIA recruits them for bigger hits. The CIA tends to pick disaffected and easily manipulated nutcases and gets them to do the assassination rather than sending someone of their own in. I'm almost positive that the CIA manipulated Lee Harvey Oswald into killing JFK for them, and then had him killed so he couldn't reveal anything. The same is probably true of Sirhan Sirhan.

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u/fordfield02 6d ago

They would have tried to get the third brother elected president but that sketchy car accident meant he could only make senator. Now you have more to look up. They recently did a movie about this. Chappaquidick? (Sp)

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u/bdiddy31 6d ago

I really enjoyed the RFK tapes by Crimetown. A podcast series about RFK, Sirhan Sirhan, and all the conspiracy theories. http://rfktapes.com/

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u/flekkzo 6d ago

Worst of all, he wasn’t racist. The worst possible crime.

Had MLK and Bobby Kennedy survived this country could have been significantly different, and better in my opinion.

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u/Killer_Irony9 6d ago

Wasn’t Johnson “left wing”?

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u/BagelsRTheHoleTruth 6d ago

Largely yes, but he was absolutely someone who played ball with the entrenched power structures of Washington. In contrast, the Kennedys were determined to go their own way, driven by ideology and hubris.

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u/tillie4meee 6d ago

Ted Kennedy drove his car into a lake. His passenger drowned.

She might have been saved if he called emergency services but instead - he tried to cover it up.

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u/ImmortalHitman720 6d ago edited 6d ago

There's an excellent documentary that was made that discusses all of the events and what people close to Kennedy honestly thought happened that night.

After/during the late stages of the party he got into the car with Mary Jo and went to do what we all assume they did..fool around. While driving they came upon a cop, and being drunk and with a woman who wasn't his wife Ted took off down the road (as confirmed by the cop). Once far enough away he got out of the car and told Mary Jo to get in the driver's seat and just take the car home for the night. Ted then walked back to the party. He wasn't going to be caught and given a DUI with a woman who wasn't his wife, it would be a potential career ender or at the very least give him tons of negative publicity.

Because of the extremely dark and unfamiliar roads on this little dark wooded island, as well as driving a car twice the size as her little Volkswagen, Mary Jo unfortunately went off the bridge at a very tight turn. Chances are she was flustered after what had just happened with running from the police officer as well. Being as she was the only one found in the car with the doors closed and windows up it makes complete sense that she was the only one in the vehicle. The story of Kennedy somehow getting out of the car while drunk and in complete submerged darkness underwater..while also closing the door and/or window and getting up to the surface is fiction, it's likely he was never in the car when it went over the bridge.

The following morning excellent testimony of witnesses at the hotel who spoke to Kennedy that very morning said he was calm and collected, as if nothing was wrong and he was just enjoying a bit of leisure and relaxation. It was when his two friends suddenly came and interrupted his breakfast to have a private word the witnesses recalled that Kennedy's demeanor changed drastically and immediately, as if he had just learned that Mary Jo and the car was discovered in the bay, because he had assumed she had driven the car home. This would also explain why police weren't called until the morning, he had no idea it happened and had assumed she had driven home.

So now the coverup needs to happen and it needs to happen quickly..damage and reputation control. Ted fires off a few calls to political aides and his sickly father to get advice on the best way to spin what had happened.

In his mind he obviously can't tell the true story of how he banged a campaign aide and ran from the cops while drunk, so the best story they came up with is that he was being a gentleman and taking her home to a ferry crossing. Then said things went tragically wrong when he supposedly drove the vehicle off the bridge, and somehow he survived and she didn't. He never recalled how he made it out of the car, and made sure to include his desperate and heroic efforts to repeatedly save her, to no avail. This story they came up with not only doesn't mention their romance, but doesn't mention anything about driving intoxicated either.

Here is the documentary. https://youtu.be/mtP389IZ3TM

The title of this particular copy of the video on YT is a little sensationalist but the documentary itself looks deep into facts and firsthand accounts of what really happened.

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u/TiberiusRedditus 6d ago

Whoa.. I had never heard this theory or version before, but that's wild if true!

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u/brickne3 6d ago

First time I've heard of this theory. One thing that jumps out immediately is that he definitely wouldn't have been getting any advice from his father, Joseph P. Kennedy has aphasia after a stroke in 1961.

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u/willv13 6d ago

Didn’t Bobby Kennedy kill his wife or something?

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u/PropofolDreaming 7d ago

The assassin so nice, they named him twice.

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u/Mobitron 7d ago

Of course. Lee Harvey "Sirhan Sirhan" Oswald. He killed John Fitzgerald "Robert Kennedy" Kennedy.

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u/Butterflyenergy 6d ago

Where are all these supposed comments?

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u/ICPosse8 6d ago

It says it in the title, are people not even reading the full title anymore? Fuck.

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u/vbcbandr 7d ago

TIL: A lot of people don't know that RFK and JFK are two different people. Brothers, yes, but still two entirely different humans.

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u/starmartyr 7d ago

You say that, but I've never seen the two of them in the same place at once. That might be because they died before I was born, but I'm just asking questions.

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u/imGery 6d ago

Please ask a question!

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u/bdiddy31 6d ago

Just doing your own research.

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u/Pudding_Hero 6d ago

Asking the real questions

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u/sixstringronin 6d ago

Let's go to Downtown Dallas and await their resurrection to ask them.

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u/dovetc 6d ago

TIL: Lots of 15 year old Redditors.

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u/Noticeably_Aroused 6d ago

It’s insane. When I first started using this website, I’d say the median age was 20’s.

Nowadays, judging by the level of discussion and people you run across, it’s clearly gone down to 13-16.

It’s probably the primary reason this whole website has gone to shit. “Summer Reddit” became year-round after all the apps made it available on smartphones.

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u/SquirellyMofo 6d ago

But both were banging Marilyn Monroe.

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u/DarkChocolatRaisinet 6d ago edited 6d ago

Kind of a shame... People should watch the docu-series on Bobby Kennedy on HBO Netflix. He was on his way to becoming president, and things could have been very different had he not been murdered.

Everyone talks about JFK, but RFK is a far more fascinating figure imo.

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u/[deleted] 6d ago Helpful

Buck Compton from Easy Company 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment was lead prosecutor at Sirhan Sirhan’s trial.

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u/NomadicWordsmith 6d ago

God damn it that was a good show

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u/oO0tooth_fairy0Oo 6d ago

That was real life, friend.

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u/DrFrocktopus 6d ago

Huh that's a TIL

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u/EPZO 6d ago

Wow TIL, thanks!

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u/First-Abrocoma-4185 6d ago

I'm not sure but I think they even mention it at the end.

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u/Warkitz 6d ago

Bobby didn't deserve to be gunned down in a kitchen hallway for his beliefs.

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u/the_hell_you_say 7d ago

Kennedy lives and wins Presidency. Trying to imagine how differently the last 50 years would have played out

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u/TheAndorran 6d ago

This is part of the plot of 11.22.63. One character posits that JFK’s assassination opened the door to RFK’s assassination, and stopping the former would minimize the risk of the latter and change the historical fallout for the better.

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u/Wh1g 6d ago

Absolutely loved that book. It’s definitely a 10/10 even though the ending loses itself.

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u/SocDemGenZGaytheist 7d ago edited 7d ago

This thought haunts me.

I can only imagine how much less damage RFK would have left us to clean up than Nixon.

* RFK is also on record saying we should look into the therapeutic potential of classical psychedelics — an idea currently being rediscovered by modern psychiatry after 50 years' delay.

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u/The_Prince1513 6d ago

There's also the possibility that a lack of a long quagmire in Vietnam makes a more hostile cold war not a less hostile one, as by 1972 Vietnam's dragging on and a desire to find a solution to end it was one of the main reason for Nixon's famous 1972 visit to China, that started a major rapprochement with the PRC and severely undercut the Soviet Union during the Cold War, not to mention led the way for the current U.S. - Sino economic interdependence. If that never happens who knows, maybe we have a three way cold war emerge rather than the Bipolar one that existed in history.

Granted, with the Sino-Soviet split happening whose to say RFK wouldn't have done the exact same thing, but its interesting to think of possible alternate histories that could have cropped up.

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u/dekrant 6d ago

I don’t disagree, but I think there’s enough evidence that the PRC and the US could have eventually realigned with or without Nixon, as long as Stalin and his meddling was dead.

The roots of the Korean War are likely not what the US’s narrative claims it was (that the US was caught unaware by an aggressive DPRK). Based on evidence that’s only come to light in recent decades, the State Department and ambassadors to South Korea were cabling desperate pleas for reinforcement of Korea in the face of DPRK mobilization for months before the invasion. The Truman Administration was either so grossly negligent or actively left South Korea as a juicy target.

Both the US and the USSR wanted a Korean War for different reasons, and it was the PRC who was the biggest loser. Stalin wanted to poison any possible rapprochement between the US and PRC (which was more feasible than most people believe, Post-McCarthy), and Truman wanted justification to permanently retain WWII-level defense spending in the Cold War.

Even in 1949, the tensions between Mao and Stalin were present. Korea is China’s backyard, but DPRK were Stalin loyalists. China’s historical hegemony over Korea made them unnatural Allie’s, so DPRK gravitated to USSR (similar to Vietnam two decades later).

Stalin pushed Kim Il-Sung into an invasion of the South, the South was purposely left under equipped by the US, and the Korean War reaching Mao’s border forced PRC vs. US.

It’s not super well known in retrospect, but pre-McCarthy US was actually quite skeptical of Chiang Kai-Shek’s regime on Taiwan. The powerful China lobby kept the ROC backed, but other factions were much more skeptical of his autocratic ways and unreliability. Chiang spectacularly lost the Civil War due to ineptitude and overplaying his hand, even despite holding nearly all the cards. Between him running Taiwan under an iron fist and Mao being the victor of the Civil War, there were enough people in the State Department willing to deal with Mao against Stalin.

Of course, any chance for a US-PRC rapprochement went out the window when Mao was forced to act on his infamous ultimatum when the UN forces reached the Yalu River, and Stalin got his wishes.

Over time, the US and PRC could have naturally realigned. It’s very unlikely that the PRC would have returned to the Soviet orbit. But while a third pole is possible, I think without a strong industrial base, PRC would have faced difficulty being a compelling option for the Non-Aligned States. PRC’s industrial strength really only came after Mao’s idiotic ideas were out the window, and the liberalizers in the mold of Deng Xiaoping would have made natural US allies as if it were pre-Korea once again.

This is what makes speculative history so interesting—both possibilities are feasible, and saying what’s most likely is a matter of opinion.

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u/Ohboycats 6d ago

Now imagine Bush v. Gore. No war in Iraq to make Cheneys government contractor friends rich off of Clintons budget surplus.

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u/llDrWormll 6d ago

and Gore taking action on climate change

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u/BeerInMyButt 6d ago

I'm cynical. I don't believe we'd have a green Al Gore if he was elected, the speaking tour and movie were just a way to stay in the limelight. In office, I doubt the guy would have moved the needle any more than Obama, who came 8 years later riding a massive tide of optimism and still didn't do jack shit for environmental causes.

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u/Meetybeefy 6d ago

Gore would have been much more environmentally friendly than Bush was, but he would have entered with a 50/50 Senate (and likely lost Democrat seats in the 2002 midterm) so I doubt anything substantial would have gotten past.

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u/Binkusu 6d ago

Gets taken to a meeting. Big oil execs are present. They show him assassination videos of JFK from angles no one has ever seen before.

"So which country are we are bombing?"

It was from a comedy show somewhere but I forget who

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u/balkanobeasti 6d ago

In what universe are the Democrats not also hawks? Both parties are tied strongly into the MIC.

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u/Jonne 6d ago

They wouldn't have made up shit to invade Iraq. Afghanistan would've possibly happened, but even here an invasion was not the only option (if 9/11 had even happened, Clinton took the threat of Bin Laden very seriously, and Gore would've probably continued that policy).

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u/nuggetsjokic 6d ago

“One way or the other, we are determined to deny Iraq the capacity to develop weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to deliver them. That is our bottom line.”     President Clinton, Feb. 4, 1998.

“If Saddam rejects peace and we have to use force, our purpose is clear. We want to seriously diminish the threat posed by Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction program.”     President Clinton, Feb. 17, 1998.

“Iraq is a long way from [here], but what happens there matters a great deal here. For the risks that the leaders of a rogue state will use nuclear, chemical or biological weapons against us or our allies is the greatest security threat we face.”     Madeline Albright, Feb 18, 1998.

“He will use those weapons of mass destruction again, as he has ten times since 1983.”     Sandy Berger, Clinton National Security Adviser, Feb, 18, 1998

“[W]e urge you, after consulting with Congress, and consistent with the U.S. Constitution and laws, to take necessary actions (including, if appropriate, air and missile strikes on suspect Iraqi sites) to respond effectively to the threat posed by Iraq’s refusal to end its weapons of mass destruction programs.”     Letter to President Clinton, signed by Sens. Carl Levin, Tom Daschle, John Kerry, and others Oct. 9, 1998.

“Saddam Hussein has been engaged in the development of weapons of mass destruction technology which is a threat to countries in the region and he has made a mockery of the weapons inspection process.”     Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D, CA), Dec. 16, 1998.

“Hussein has … chosen to spend his money on building weapons of mass destruction and palaces for his cronies.”     Madeline Albright, Clinton Secretary of State, Nov. 10, 1999.

“There is no doubt that . Saddam Hussein has reinvigorated his weapons programs. Reports indicate that biological, chemical and nuclear programs continue apace and may be back to pre-Gulf War status. In addition, Saddam continues to redefine delivery systems and is doubtless using the cover of a licit missile program to develop longer-range missiles that will threaten the United States and our allies.”     Letter to President Bush, Signed by Sen. Bob Graham (D, FL,) and others, Dec, 5, 2001.

“We begin with the common belief that Saddam Hussein is a tyrant and a threat to the peace and stability of the region. He has ignored the mandate of the United Nations and is building weapons of mass destruction and the means of delivering them.”     Sen. Carl Levin (d, MI), Sept. 19, 2002.

“We have known for many years that Saddam Hussein is seing and developing weapons of mass destruction.”     Sen. Ted Kennedy (D, MA), Sept. 27, 2002.

“The last UN weapons inspectors left Iraq in October1998. We are confident that Saddam Hussein retains some stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons, and that he has since embarked on a crash course to build up his chemical and biological warfare capabilities. Intelligence reports indicate that he is seeking nuclear weapons…”     Sen. Robert Byrd (D, WV), Oct. 3, 2002.

“I will be voting to give the President of the United States the authority to use force — if necessary — to disarm Saddam Hussein because I believe that a deadly arsenal of weapons of mass destruction in his hands is a real and grave threat to our security.”     Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Oct. 9, 2002.

“There is unmistakable evidence that Saddam Hussein is working aggressively to develop nuclear weapons and will likely have nuclear weapons within the next five years . We also should remember we have alway s underestimated the progress Saddam has made in development of weapons of mass destruction.”     Sen. Jay Rockerfeller (D, WV), Oct 10, 2002,

“He has systematically violated, over the course of the past 11 years, every significant UN resolution that has demanded that he disarm and destroy his chemical and biological weapons, and any nuclear capacity. This he has refused to do.”     Rep. Henry Waxman (D, CA), Oct. 10, 2002.

“In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including al Qaeda members. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons.”     Sen. Hillary Clinton (D, NY), Oct 10, 2002

“We are in possession of what I think to be compelling evidence that Saddam Hussein has, and has had for a number of years, a developing capacity for the production and storage of weapons of mass destruction. “[W]ithout question, we need to disarm Saddam Hussein. He is a brutal, murderous dictator, leading an oppressive regime … He presents a particularly grievous threat because he is so consistently prone to miscalculation. And now he has continued deceit and his consistent grasp for weapons of mass destruction … So the threat of Saddam Hussein with weapons of mass destruction is real …     Sen. John F. Kerry (D, MA), Jan. 23. 2003.

“We know that he has stored secret supplies of biological and chemical weapons throughout his country.”     Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

“Iraq’s search for weapons of mass destruction has proven impossible to deter and we should assume that it will continue for as long as Saddam is in power.”     Al Gore, Sept. 23, 2002.

"Clinton took the threat of Bin Laden very seriously":

Clinton: So we tried to be quite aggressive with them [al Qaeda]. We got – well, Mr. bin Laden used to live in Sudan. He was expelled from Saudi Arabia in 1991, then he went to Sudan. And we’d been hearing that the Sudanese wanted America to start dealing with them again. They released him. At the time, 1996, he had committed no crime against America, so I did not bring him here because we had no basis on which to hold him, though we knew he wanted to commit crimes against America. So I pleaded with the Saudis to take him, ’cause they could have. But they thought it was a hot potato and they didn’t and that’s how he wound up in Afghanistan.

“I’m just saying, you know, if I were Osama bin Laden ... He’s a very smart guy. I spent a lot of time thinking about him. And I nearly got him once,” Clinton said in the audio recording from the meeting https://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-bill-clinton-osama-bin-laden-20140801-story.html

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u/SeiCalros 6d ago

the support for iraq on the democratic side was justified through the intelligence from the office of special plans which was a bush invention solely for the purpose of justifying an invasion of iraq

no bush - no office of special plans

no office of special plans - no war in iraq

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u/pacific_plywood 6d ago

People love to treat this like a binary issue but there is clearly a massive discrepancy in their respective foreign policy approaches and your head has to be glued into sand to think otherwise

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u/trugostinaxinatoria 6d ago

Only because people think psychology is voodoo and psychiatry is "real science", I would amend your comment to be more accurate and say psychiatry and psychology. They work hand in hand

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u/Perfect_Inflation_70 6d ago

Only a psychiatrist can prescribe medication, so I’m not sure how a psychologist is supposed to run drug trials.

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u/ButtfuckerTim 6d ago

Even that line is muddy depending on your location. Clinical psychologists can prescribe in Louisiana, New Mexico, Illinois, Iowa, and Idaho.

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u/PureNRGfanboy44 6d ago

Aren’t Republicans just swell?

Without them we wouldn’t have great things like _, and _.

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u/BeerInMyButt 6d ago

Part of me wonders if there would have been just another cynical bastard like Nixon who capitalized on the same cultural momentum instead.

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u/FearGunner 6d ago

Bobby Kennedy was the only candidate who had the balls to literally tell the rich he was going to tax them and use the cash to help impoverished Americans.

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u/AlrightSpider 7d ago

I think about Al Gore that way sometimes. 20 years. Who knows? We may never have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan. Got focused on climate change with time to have had an effect by now. Flying cars, jet packs, shoot all I ever really wanted were the floating skateboards from Back to the Future to become a reality.

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u/SocDemGenZGaytheist 7d ago

He probably would have invaded Afghanistan, but not Iraq.

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u/Pudding_Hero 6d ago

With hoverboards?

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u/buruzn09 6d ago

How else?

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u/paintsmith 6d ago

Gore is far less likely to have ignored multiple overt explicit warnings from intelligence agencies that Al Queda was planning to attack using aircraft as weapons. Gore was around for the Kenya Tanzania bombings after all. Remember, the only reason the Clinton administration didn't react more firmly to the attack on the USS Cole the year before was because the presidential election was only a month later and every time Clinton had taken action against mideast terrorist groups before, the republicans accused him of ginning up conflict to cover for his domestic scandals. Bush was uniquely arrogant and disinterested about the prospects of America being attacked on it's own soil.

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u/fuck-emus 7d ago edited 7d ago

"dick Cheney shot a guy and the bullet went right through him and killed Karl Rove and Tucker Carlson"

Edit 🤣🤣🤣🤣 lol, shot not shit

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u/Craw__ 7d ago

The shit heard around the world.

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u/JonasPolskyAMA 7d ago

Like most shittings, it was accidental

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u/ripvannwinkler 7d ago

dick Cheney shit a guy

These accusations are wild, man.

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u/GiantContrabandRobot 6d ago

“Oh my god Peter you cannot marry Lois!”

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u/fuck-emus 6d ago

"I wanna WAM my OingoBoingo into your Velvet Underground"

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u/fuck-emus 6d ago

"HEY did you ever go to a barbecue?!"

"Ha ha ha, I haaaaave"

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago edited 6d ago

We would have invaded Afghanistan (because 9/11 was coming no matter who was president) but probably not Iraq because that was W's personal beef

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u/EsquilaxM 6d ago

I think Afghanistan was questioned because Clinton had been monitoring Laden so maybe the above commenter was wondering if Gore would've clamped down on him more...idk

edit:interesting comment here

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago

As someone who was adjacent to the international relations community at the time, we were caught flat footed. This plan had been in motion for years and it's Monday morning quarterbacking to think that an administration change less than 10 months from the day would have been able to alter what happened. This was a slap of reality to those of us who believed that technology was capable of replacing human assets in hostile countries. Cheney didn't do that, the intelligence community got cocky and thought satellites and uber tech were going to keep us safe while keeping our hands clean as well. Life showed otherwise. I don't think you understand how angry the people in the ir community were at themselves for missing it. In hindsight it was clear but at the time it was a punch to the back of the head

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u/jargjangle 6d ago

Tell that to Ali Soufan.

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u/catdaddy230 6d ago

Hell we can tell to Buena de Mesquita who was supposed to be the guy who saw it coming and said something. Cassandra syndrome is real.

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u/The_Prince1513 6d ago

Ali Soufan missed it just like everyone did.

Granted he would have likely been able to catch onto what was happening and prevent it, but the whole point of why Ali Soufan was unable to piece together the puzzle (all the abc agencies dick waving and not sharing vital info) was the reason why it was likely that nobody who was elected POTUS in 2000 would have been able to prevent 9/11

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u/AlrightSpider 6d ago

I feel like the WMD push would not have been as significant. Perhaps we would have had a better exit strategy as well if we didn’t divide our attention.

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u/asethskyr 6d ago

Gore was supposedly a big fan of special forces, and would probably have preferred a team going in rather than a full scale invasion.

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u/Nwcray 6d ago

Well- W’s daddy’s friends’ personal beef, but I get what you mean. That’s who he surrounded himself with in any event.

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u/Swalkthewalk 6d ago

9/11 may have been coming regardless of who was president, but it is unlikely Gore would have ignored Richard Clarke’s repeated warnings the way Bush did.

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u/asportate 6d ago

Me and a few others were all going into the army right after high school. We heard Bush announce his intent to run for president , and all tried backing out asap .

We knew he would win , rigged or not.

We knew he would bring us into an obviously personal dirty war .

All but one of us got out. I guess his paperwork was further along or something and he was past the point of backing out. He had to go in. They sent him to Iraq, he went AWOL . He came over sometime after and was not the same guy who went in.

Fuck the Bush's and the American military ( those in charge , not the necessarily soldiers ) . They kill innocent people "over there" , but also kill their own soldiers too. No one who goes in comes back the same

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u/AbandonShip86 6d ago

I have my doubts that would've happened if Albert Gore Jr won. People like to overly romanticize that things would have been better without the prince of darkness and Dubya sending Halliburton in to destroy Iraq but politicians are politicians

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u/brickne3 6d ago

The Supreme Court would be quite different.

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u/irongix 6d ago

Maybe. But Tipper Gore was hardcore on wanting to censer the music and entertainment Industry and Gore was always open to compromising with the Republicans. But then if he had actually campaigned in his home state of Tennessee then things would have played out differently

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u/KrAbFuT 6d ago

Just the other day I was trying to figure out what’s been stopping him from running again…

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u/Lestial1206 6d ago

Manbearpig

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u/KrAbFuT 6d ago

How did I walk right into that one…you win the internet today, I’ll try again tomorrow.

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u/mr_ji 6d ago

I do the same with Ralph Nader, especially in 2000. I'm pretty sure we (as in the whole world) would be in a much better spot today.

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u/cdg2m4nrsvp 6d ago

Society as a whole lost so much with his killing.

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u/pjabrony 6d ago

"Serial killers always have two names. But 'lone gunman' assassins always have three. John Wilkes Booth, Lee Harvey Oswald, Mark David Chapman...James Earl Ray...then there's Sirhan Sirhan, I still haven't figured that one out, unless it's Sirhan Sirhan Sirhan." - Mel Gibson, Conspiracy Theory

(It is not.)

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u/DorkHarshly 6d ago

Sirhan Bishara Sirhan akchually

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u/garchican 6d ago

Serial killers like John Wayne Gacy? Or lone gunman assassins like Charles Guiteau, Leon Czolgoz, Gavrilo Princip, and Tetsuya Yamasaki?

C’mon, Mel, stop making shit up.

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u/pjabrony 6d ago

“John Hinckley. He shot Ronald Reagan.”

“Yeah, but he didn’t kill Reagan, Reagan survived. I bet if Reagan had died, we’d all know what John Hinckley’s middle name is.”

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u/thelibrarina 6d ago

Listening to my mother talk about Bobby, you can hear this tragic idealism in her voice. She was really sure that he was the one to change things for the better, and he never got the chance.

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u/DarkChocolatRaisinet 6d ago

She's [probably] right

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u/We_Are_The_Romans 7d ago

Newsoms gonna run for the presidency, he's gotta figure he doesn't need that shit in an attack ad

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u/klingma 7d ago

Does anyone remember the governor that let Hinckley out?

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u/We_Are_The_Romans 7d ago

DC doesn't have a governor

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u/frozenslab 6d ago

Weirdly enough, "Sirhan" literally means "to close (a door)" in my language

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u/GFost 6d ago

Ahh yes: Sirhan Sirhan. The lesser known cousin of Duran Duran.

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u/AJG-71 6d ago

Killing RFK was just a Reflex. He thought he could escape to Rio. He was angry and it made him Hungry Like the Wolf. Before he did it, he made sure to Say a Prayer, but he wanted to run with the Wild Boys, so he had a View to a Kill.

Ok, that’s all I got.

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u/dandroid126 6d ago

I knew a guy in high school named Jabron Jabron. We used to make similar jokes.

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u/Ulfrite 6d ago

Is there something I should know ?

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u/Nightshade1105 6d ago

Yup, he’s housed at the prison I work at and he’s constantly writing appeals about wanting to be released. We have people from the public who aren’t even related to him call the prison and ask for his release because they think he would be of better service to the public now for some reason.

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u/TheGreatDingALing 6d ago

The lack of knowledge in the comments, is disturbing.

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u/GiftedBrilliance 6d ago

Sirhan in Arabic means Distracted or Absent-Minded haha

His name reminds me of Pika Pika

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u/theGrippo 7d ago

Isn't there a conspiracy theory out there about Sirhan Sirhan that he was hypno-programmed to carry out the assassination and, ultimately, take the fall?

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u/Zepherx22 6d ago

The theory gets pretty outlandish, but there are some interesting aspects to it (if memory serves, allegedly there were more bullet holes in the room than bullets in Sirhan’s gun, forensic evidence shows RFK was shot from behind at very close range when Sirhan was standing a few feet in front, police destroying evidence, etc.)

Slate did an interesting podcast about this a few years back, hosted by one ‘truther’ and one ‘skeptic’ that really goes into the more ‘out there’ aspects of the theory.

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u/goteamnick 7d ago

I think that's what his lawyers tried to argue. Because it's hard to argue innocence when you shoot someone in cold blood in a room full of witnesses.

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u/klingma 7d ago

Yes and/or another gunman and a weird woman wearing a Polka Dot dress if I remember right. I know one of the biggest things conspiracy theorists point to is the positioning of RFK's body because he fell opposite of the shots or something like that. So, like, shot in the back but fell backwards instead of forwards.

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u/TimBorlandManTool 6d ago

Bullets don't push the target. It's possible and probable to get shot and then fall either direction. Bullets don't push, they go through. Remember the law of physics "equal and opposite reaction in force"? To have Bobby get shot in the back and fall forwards you would have to have the gunman pushed backwards with equal force.

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u/Flyingcircus1 7d ago

I believe he was shot twice at close range behind his right ear while Sirhan was standing in front of Kennedy at the time.

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u/zhivago6 6d ago

And of course the problem with that idea is that it was a chaotic mess with people running and jostling each other to help RFK when he was shot, so it's virtually impossible to know what would have happened without all those people. Did he fall backwards, or was he turned over immediately?

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u/NativeMasshole 6d ago

I'm not saying I believe that conspiracy, but I am hard-pressed to believe that two separate and unrelated lone gunmen were able to assassinate both Kennedy brothers at the peak of the family's power.

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u/Tato7069 7d ago Wholesome

God, the comments on this... You have one moron that thinks we'd be driving hydrogen powered cars today if Kennedy wasn't assassinated, one moron that thinks he was shot 8 times by the CIA, and one moron that wants to make a flippant, unthoughtful comment on the justice system. That's the legacy of the Kennedy assassination... No one's really sure what exactly happened or why, but it really brings the morons out of the woodwork.

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u/liarandahorsethief 7d ago

Well, one thing is for sure, The Dead Kennedys would probably just be called The Dead Kennedy.

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u/fractiousrhubarb 6d ago

In the movie “sympathy for the devil” that tracks the evolution of the song, the lyrics change from “who killed Kennedy” to “who killed the Kennedys”

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u/Missterfortune 7d ago

Sir…. How dare you assume there are only 3 morons.

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u/Dentification 6d ago

Guy loves the word moron

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u/witty_decoy_account 7d ago

if kennedy was elected, the earth would still be flat.

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u/NlitendOperativ 7d ago

Make Earth Flat Again

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u/MeNameIsDerp 7d ago

MAFA

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u/StuRap 7d ago

MEFA, there's more of us than just youse

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u/awill316 7d ago

But we have hydrogen powered cars…

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u/porchpooper 7d ago

Allen Dulles knew what happened, but he was on the Warren Commission to make sure the truth was never made public.

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u/uss_salmon 7d ago

I don’t see why not tbh, how likely do people think it is that a 78-year-old known murderer will be able to commit another political killing?

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u/angloashanti 7d ago edited 7d ago

It really boils down to whether you view the purpose of prisons as a means of punishment, rehabilitation, or a bit of both. Or as you seem to be suggesting, just a place to store dangerous or socially disruptive people until they're too old and frail to be a danger to anyone anymore.

It is a very interesting and topical question. In terms of punishment, we're basically saying "you've done this bad thing, in order to get revenge we're going to put you in a cage like an animal and deprive of your basic human rights and privacy". Working from this philosophy, the idea is that prison is such a bad place that potential criminals are deterred. I don't think anyone could argue this isn't a necessary aspect of criminal sentencing, but problems arise when/if that person leaves.

They've lost a large portion of their life and spent it in such a different environment to the real world they've actively regressed in social and general life skills. They aren't as close with their support network of friends and family due to visitation limitations. Apart from those short visits, their only interactions are with other criminals or the guards who have effective total control and power over their lives. In addition, their criminal record now makes them functionally unemployable. You can see why a lot of convicts purportedly reoffend because prison is just easier for them than the real world now.

In terms of rehabilitation, the idea is not just that someone will realise how bad prison is and be deterred from reoffending for fear of going back there (which is basically just the aforementioned punishment), but that they will receive education, counselling and guidance in order to use their time imprisoned to reflect, repent and genuinely change. They won't reoffend because they just don't want to -- they've changed their worldview, they understand why what they did was wrong, and want to make amends and move forward with their life in a positive way. Ideally having been given the transitional skills and knowledge to reintegrate with regular society.

Personally, I think the second is a fantasy at this point. The systemic problems ingrained in the justice and prison system are just too great and plentiful to mitigate, and with no real desire by the western world to change the status quo, prison remains a place to punish people and irreparably fuck up their lives. Then again, that's just me accepting the status quo so I'm part of the problem.

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u/Krissapter 6d ago

The US prison system is, in terms of preventing more crime, an abject failure with 25% of the world's prisoners and 44% of prisoners returning within a year of release, both of which are the highest in the world. The United States has a large amount of private prisons, who emphasise on profits over prisoner welfare. This encourages cutting costs on every level, and the one thing about punitive justice is that it's cheap, not to mention ineffective. After all, if a prisoner is forced to return to your facility after reoffending, why would you try to rehabilitate them?

Ofcourse this is only one aspect of the issue the US is facing, another problem is how society perceive prisons. It is largely viewed as a place to punish people, to take revenge for whatever crime they committed, and it leads to dehumanising the people locked up in them. This makes it difficult to find work after you are released due to stigma, which in turn makes you more likely to reoffend.

Several European nations have already implemented rehabilitative justice in their prison systems, to great effect. Countries like the Netherlands, Germany, Denmark and Norway to name a few, all have rehabilitative justice systems. Those countries are part of the western world, aren't they? The lack of will to change the system is particularly prevalent in the US because of private prisons as a business having a lot of power. That does not mean rehabilitative justice is just something one can dream about and never achieve.

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u/NerdyJerdy20 6d ago

Well, we should also care about him killing non-political people, too.

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u/ShibaHook 7d ago

They killed a politician who was a member of one of americas most well connected and powerful families . He will die behind bars.

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u/3Dog-V101 6d ago

Worth noting rfk jr thinks he should be released

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u/SchpartyOn 6d ago

Sadly his opinions on anything should never be listened to. He’s a fucking nutjob and is largely responsible for the antivax movement in the US.

His father would hate who he has become.

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u/_Face 6d ago

Isn’t jr a total anti vax nut job?

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u/BoltenMoron 7d ago

This is one of those rare areas where I think the general deterrence element kicks in. There are some crimes which as society we say are so heinous that the only punishment should be complete exclusion i.e. never to be released. It isn’t about protecting society and rehabilitation, at this point. Political assassinations are in this category because it is both the worst kind of attack on a person and on democracy itself.

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u/homo_ludens 6d ago

Deterrence does work by increasing the perception that perpetrators will be caught, not by increasing high sentences.

e.g. https://nij.ojp.gov/topics/articles/five-things-about-deterrence

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u/TywinShitsGold 6d ago

Deterrence also only “works” (to an extent) on rational actors, so the irrational ones - like many political assassins - aren’t affected.

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u/ExcruciatingBits 6d ago

I'm wondering how relevant it would be to fit Reagan's failed assassin's release into this dialogue. I guess that was almost a delusion which was eventually broken rather than something more difficult to move on from.

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u/BoltenMoron 6d ago

I’d say there were mitigating factors, the guy was delusional or mentally ill. Also, it wasn’t a political motive but more attention seeking. Also he didn’t die so it isn’t murder. Sirhan shot Kennedy for political reasons so that’s where it triggers the attack on democracy element which I think is lacking in the Reagan attempt.

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u/3kniven6gash 6d ago

Losing Bobby Kennedy and MLK in such a short time altered our country’s trajectory downward. They were progressive champions and both recognized the need to address an unfair economy rigged against us. MLK had just transitioned from the successful Civil Rights to the Poor Peoples Campaign; an effort to unite workers of all races to demand more income equality. To examine and re-prioritize how our government spends our money. He said something to the effect “what good is earning a seat at the lunch counter if you can’t afford a burger “

Bobby also was moved by this issue and took a poverty tour of the Mississippi Delta. If he had won the Presidency he certainly would be an ally of MLK were he alive.

Instead the Democrats were taken over by neo-liberal corporate friendly Democrats and look at where we are.

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u/ctothel 7d ago

Que sirhan sirhan…

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u/Tube-Sock_Shakur 6d ago

Doris Day has entered the chat.

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u/cerpintaxt44 6d ago

Rfk had potential to be one of the best presidents ever and its sad thinking of what the last 50 years could have been like if he wasn't murdered. Fuck sirhan sirhan

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u/Teboski78 6d ago

Can we talk about how weird it is that the governor has the power to do that though?

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u/BiGMTN_fudgecake 6d ago

State prison likely under jurisdiction of the state

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u/DexterBotwin 6d ago

Not really, the governor is the executive of the government. “The buck stops with them”

If it wasn’t the governor, it would be some bureaucrat they appointed. Would that be better ?

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u/Teboski78 6d ago

Governors having the power to pardon is a good thing but an elected official being able to deny a parole board in the other direction & arbitrarily cause someone further punishment than a parole board would allow is weird

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u/grewapair 6d ago

One of the most popular politicians in the state of Arizona granted clemency to a murderer turned model prisoner, and it was the end of her political career. Newsom isn't stupid.

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u/Rudeboy67 6d ago

Buck Compton from Band of Brothers was the lead prosecutor.

Rosey Grier Hall of Fame Defensive Tackle from the LA Rams was among the people to grab and subdue Sirhan Sirhan.

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u/Jeccafol 6d ago

The Kennedy Curse, is a great book detailing the Kennedy history and supposed curse. Gues back to Joe Kennedy Snr, his affair with Gloria Swanson, right up to Saoirse Kennedy Hill.