Thirty Years Ago, Some Children Cheered Reagan Assassination Attempt

As a reminder that leftists have been poisoning the wells of civility and basic human decency for a very, very long time, I present these two items from the Associated Press and United Press International on April 1 and 2, 1981, respectively:

  • Via AP, dateline Tulsa -- "Teachers Stunned as Children Cheer Reagan Shooting"
  • More generalized coverage from UPI -- "Children Cheer News President Was Shot"

Details are after the jump.

Here's the AP item, which deals with the reaction at one Tulsa school:

APonTulsaSchoolkidsCheeringReaganShot041981

Here's the UPI item, which mentions similar incidents in Minnesota, Chicago, and New Orleans:

UPIonKidsCheeringReaganShot041981

This search at the New York Times indicates that the paper did not find the children-cheering story newsworthy.

Look at who these educators were trying to blame, namely "an insensitivity to violence that has built up over a long exposure to television." Puh-leeze. I can see how that might conceivably transfer to indifference about people being killed, but that doesn't explain why someone would be happy about it. Someone -- parents, teachers, possibly others -- taught these children that Ronald Reagan getting shot would be something to cheer about. I suspect that those who were quoted were distracting from a situation they had caused.

Those who weren't around at the time or who were apathetic won't recall that Reagan was intensely despised by the media, the intelligentsia, and the educational establishment. All of them waged a non-stop campaign during the 1980 election season to convince people that electing Ronald Reagan president would be the equivalent of signing a nuclear holocaust death warrant -- and that if he didn't do that, he'd starve them to death by cutting government spending. I remember because, sad to say, I was sufficiently persuaded by the first argument to feel compelled to vote for John Anderson that November.

That early teens would find these lines of non-reasoning especially persuasive shouldn't surprise anyone.

There was a silver lining to the ugliness: As a result of learning about children cheering the Reagan assassination attempt, one man turned himself in to police and confessed to a murder he had committed eight years earlier:

ManTurnsSelfInAfterKidsCheerReaganShot041981

That noted, it may be that the man involved, Daniel Kariem, was not prosecuted because the case was so old. The Internet news trail goes cold here. Info concerning whether the conviction led to jail time for Mr. Kariem would be welcome.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.

Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer
Tom Blumer is a contributing editor for NewsBusters.