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Wed May 15, 2019, 04:58 AM

47 Years Ago Today; Arthur Bremer attempts to assassinate presidential nominee George Wallace


Arthur Herman Bremer (/ˈbrɛmər/; born August 21, 1950) is an American who attempted to assassinate U.S. Democratic presidential candidate George Wallace on May 15, 1972 in Laurel, Maryland, which left Wallace permanently paralyzed from the waist down. Bremer was found guilty and sentenced to 63 years (53 years after an appeal) in a Maryland prison for the shooting of Wallace and three bystanders.

After 35 years of incarceration, Bremer was released from prison on November 9, 2007.


Bremer turned up in Wheaton, Maryland, for a noon appearance which Wallace made at Wheaton Plaza, during a shopping center rally on May 15, 1972. He was dressed in dark glasses; patriotic red, white, and blue; and was wearing his new campaign button which said "WALLACE in '72". He strongly applauded Wallace, in contrast with many others present, who heckled and taunted the speaker. Two tomatoes were thrown at Wallace during the rally, but missed. Based on this reception, Wallace refused to shake hands with anyone present, denying Bremer the opportunity to carry out his plan.

At a second rally, which took place at Laurel Shopping Center, 16 miles away in Laurel, Maryland, there was minor heckling but it did not last. About 1,000 people were present; they were mostly quiet and it was generally a friendly crowd. After he had finished speaking, Wallace shook hands with some of those present, against the advice of his Secret Service guards. At approximately 4:00 p.m., Bremer pushed his way forward, aimed his .38 revolver at Wallace's abdomen and opened fire, emptying the weapon before he could be subdued. He hit Wallace four times. Wallace fell back and lost a pint of blood, going into a mild state of shock. One bullet lodged in his spinal cord. The other bullets hit Wallace in the abdomen and chest. Three other people present were wounded unintentionally: Alabama State Trooper Captain E C Dothard (Wallace's personal bodyguard), who was shot in the stomach, Dora Thompson (a campaign volunteer) who was shot in the leg, and Nick Zarvos, a Secret Service agent. Zarvos was shot in the neck, and his speech was severely impaired following the shooting.

Bremer had planned to yell his carefully chosen catchphrase, "A Penny For Your Thoughts!", as he shot Wallace. However, in the heat of the assassination attempt, he forgot to do so.

After emptying his revolver, Bremer was wrestled to the ground and then arrested. Bremer himself was taken to a hospital for treatment of a head wound he had sustained. Just after midnight, he was arraigned and taken to the Baltimore County Jail, where he would be held for the next two months.

Upon searching it, police described Bremer's car as a "hotel on wheels". In it they found blankets, pillows, a blue steel 9mm 14-shot Browning Semi-automatic Pistol, binoculars, a woman's umbrella, a tape recorder, a portable radio with police band, an electric shaver, photographic equipment, a garment bag with several changes of clothes, a toilet kit, and a 1972 copy of a Writers' Yearbook and the two books he had borrowed from the Milwaukee public library ten days earlier.

Trial and conviction
His subsequent trial in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, was condensed to five days, and was held only 2½ months after Bremer shot Wallace, beginning on July 31, 1972. The defense argued that Bremer was schizophrenic and legally insane at the time of the shooting, and that he had "no emotional capacity to understand anything"; but the jury rejected this argument after the prosecution countered that he was perfectly sane. Arthur Marshall, for the prosecution, told the court that Bremer, while disturbed and in need of psychiatric help and treatment, was sane, knew what he was doing, had been seeking glory and was still sorry that Wallace had not died.

Jonas Rappeport, the chief psychiatrist for the circuit court in Baltimore, who spent nine hours with Bremer in June 1972 on four separate occasions, said Bremer had a "schizoid personality disorder with some paranoid and psychopathic features", but also stated that this didn't "substantially impair his capacity to understand the criminality of his actions".

On August 4, 1972, the jury of six men and six women took 95 minutes to reach their verdict. Bremer was sentenced to 63 years in prison for shooting Wallace and three other people. When asked if he had anything to say, Bremer replied, "Well, Mr. Marshall mentioned that he would like society to be protected from someone like me. Looking back on my life I would have liked it if society had protected me from myself. That's all I have to say at this time." The sentence was reduced to 53 years on September 28, 1972 after an appeal. On July 6, 1973 Bremer's second appeal to have the sentence reduced further was rejected.

A 113-page portion of Bremer's diary was published in 1973 as An Assassin's Diary; it covers the period from April 4, 1972, to the day before he shot Wallace and his subsequent arrest. In it, Bremer states that he was not particularly opposed to Wallace's political agenda, which was notable for its pro-segregationist stance, but that his primary motive was to become infamous and to gain notoriety.

The first half of Bremer's diary (pages 1–148) was found on August 26, 1980, where he had concealed it, heavily wrapped, in a plastic suitcase, at the foot of Milwaukee's 27th Street viaduct. It was dated from March 1 to April 3, 1972. In it, Bremer discusses his desire to kill Nixon (Wallace was clearly a secondary target); fantasized about killing unnamed individuals who angered him, or opening fire at random at the corner of 3rd Street and Wisconsin Avenue downtown; and also confessed his admiration for Vel Phillips, a pioneering black office holder of Milwaukee (who was elected and serving as Secretary of State of Wisconsin when the diary was found). The diary was eventually sold to an official of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, who donated it to UAB's Reynolds Historical Library.

Although Bremer's actions and trial and conviction attracted media attention, he soon faded into comparative obscurity. He did not reach the level of infamy of Lee Harvey Oswald or John Wilkes Booth, both of whom had assassinated presidents.

Bremer's assassination attempt did not end Wallace's political career. Wallace was subsequently elected governor of Alabama twice, in 1974 and 1982. However, the result of the assassination attempt, combined with changing circumstances – both Wallace's, and on the political stage – ended Wallace's presidential aspirations. Public concerns over Wallace's health meant he would never gain the same momentum as he did in the 1972 campaign. He entered the presidential election race in 1976 but withdrew early due to poor support.

Wallace forgave Bremer in August 1995 and wrote to him expressing the hope that the two could get to know each other better. Bremer did not reply.

George Wallace died on September 13, 1998.

Sentence and release
Bremer served his sentence at the Maryland Correctional Institution (MCI-H) in Hagerstown. Bremer was placed in solitary confinement for 30 days after a fight on October 6, 1972. He was reprimanded after another fight in December 1972, and then placed in solitary again for 30 days after a third fight in February 1973. In prison, he declined to receive mental health treatment or evaluation. He worked in the prison library and was described by the chairman of the Maryland Parole Commission, David Blumberg, as "compliant and unobtrusive." He was visited multiple times by his parents before they died.

According to 1997 parole records, psychological testing indicated releasing him would be risky. He argued in his June 1996 hearing that "Shooting segregationist dinosaurs wasn't as bad as harming mainstream politicians." Bremer was released from prison on November 9, 2007, at the age of 57, having served 35 years of his original sentence. His probation ends in 2025.

Conditions of his release include electronic monitoring and staying away from elected officials and candidates. He must undergo a mental health evaluation and receive treatment if the state deems it necessary, and may not leave the state without written permission from the state agency that will supervise him until the end of his probation.


Waste of time - there was no way Wallace could win the nom...

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Reply 47 Years Ago Today; Arthur Bremer attempts to assassinate presidential nominee George Wallace (Original post)
Dennis Donovan May 2019 OP
Kid Berwyn May 2019 #1

Response to Dennis Donovan (Original post)

Wed May 15, 2019, 07:53 AM

1. Nixon sent E Howard Hunt to plant pro-McCarthy pamphlets in Bremer's Apt.

Report: Nixon plotted 'ultimate dirty trick'

UPI, Dec. 6, 1992


After learning this just hours after the shooting, Nixon and Colson, his special counsel, decided to plant McGovern campaign literature in Bremer's apartment in an attempt to make it look as if Democratic party politics were involved in the assassination attempt. With Wallace out of the race, liberal Sen. George McGovern of South Dakota appeared to be the most likely contender for the Democratic nomination and would thus be Nixon's opponent in the general election.

'Nixon is energized and excited by what seems to be the ultimate political dirty trick: the FBI and the Milwaukee police will be convinced, and will tell the world, that the attempted assassination of Wallace had its roots in left-wing Democratic politics,' Hersh wrote.

He said Nixon and Colson ordered former CIA operative E. Howard Hunt -- later to play a key role in the planning of the Watergate break-in -- to Milwaukee to remove Bremer's political tracts and replace them with McGovern campaign literature. However, the plan was canceled when the FBI got to Bremer's apartment first and sealed it off.

Hersh said Colson, now a 'born-again' Christian, confirmed the scheme in an interview and said the tapes captured 'the black side to our natures.'



GOP can’t win without cheating.

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