Publication information
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Source: Outlook
Source type: magazine
Document type: editorial
Document title: “The Execution of an Assassin”
Author(s): anonymous
Date of publication: 9 November 1901
Volume number: 69
Issue number: 10
Pagination: 613-14

“The Execution of an Assassin.” Outlook 9 Nov. 1901 v69n10: pp. 613-14.
full text
Leon Czolgosz (execution); Leon Czolgosz (last words).
Named persons
Leon Czolgosz; William McKinley.


The Execution of an Assassin

The murderer of President McKinley, Leon Czolgosz, was executed by electricity in the prison at Auburn, N. Y., on Tuesday of last week. So far from showing any sign of repentance, his last words (with the exception of a regret at not seeing his father) were a declaration that he was not sorry for his crime—and it is a curious fact that he himself used the word crime to describe the act for which he was not sorry—coupled with the assertion that President McKinley was “an enemy of the good people—of the good working people.” So far as we have seen, no one has even thought of indignantly contradicting this assertion, and for the simple reason that no one thinks that any one else believes it—the good working people perhaps least of all. After the execution the murderer’s body was buried in the prison, and means were taken to destroy utterly all tokens of the existence of this man. It may be noted with approval that the requirements of the law were carried out with dignity, without sensationalism, and without painful struggles or horrible incidents; four minutes after the prisoner crossed the sill of the death-chamber he was officially pronounced to be dead, and in point of fact the execution itself was the work of less than a minute, while consciousness was extinguished in a fraction of a second. Only the witnesses required by law were present; but it is understood that the provisions of the New York law governing executions are now construed [613][614] so as to allow trustworthy representatives of the press associations, one for each, to be included among the witnesses, and this is but reasonable; the reports in the papers were, as a rule, devoid of undue sensationalism. In every respect people and press have shown a right disposition and have wisely refused to see a cause for public excitement or perturbation over the stern, orderly execution of justice. Curiosity-mongers and silly sentimentalists have not been allowed to obtrude themselves on public notice in connection with the criminal. The assassin was tried in due accordance with law, his rights were guarded by two of the ablest members of the New York bar, he was fairly as well as quickly convicted, and now the punishment has followed in due course. Henceforth the people will and should forget the very existence of this creature who with vicious ignorance, in his hatred of the existing order, struck at the head of the State. Czolgosz was not a type, but an unreasoning, though not insane, moral pervert.



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