The assassin's bullet played an unique role in the Presidential career of Theodore Roosevelt. He became president when McKinley was shot... and his efforts to regain the presidency from Taft in the campaign of 1912 ended for all practical purposes in Milwaukee with his own attempted assassination.Roosevelt had clearly thought about what he would do if confronted by an assassin.
Once, while discussing McKinley's assassination with reporters, he implied that if it had been he instead of McKinley, he would have shot back. Roosevelt, in fact, was known to carry a gun on occasion during his presidency.However, when the would-be assassin finally struck, Roosevelt was not carrying a gun.
- Once while he was walking across the White House lawn, his suitcoat flapping in the breeze, cavalrymen standing nearby glimpsed the butt of a revolver sticking out of his inside pocket.
- On another occasion, while visiting St. Paul, the President and Samuel Van Sant, governor of Minnesota, accidentally exchanged overcoats. Van Sant found a pistol in Roosevelt's coat pocket.
- On still another occasion, Roosevelt was in Washington, DC, dedicating a Masonic temple. When he opened his suitcoat to take a handkerchief from his pocket, the audience saw the butt of a revolver sticking out of his hip pocket.
Schrank, who had stalked Roosevelt all over the country, was never tried for the assault. He said he was motivated to shoot Roosevelt after a dream:
I saw President McKinley sit up in his coffin pointing at a man in monk's attire in whom I recognized Theodore Roosevelt. The dead president said, "This is my murderer, avenge my death."Schrank was committed to a state hospital in Wisconsin, where he remained until his death in 1943 at age 67. In more than 30 years of confinement, he never received a visitor or a letter.
a pp.374-393, 398