The attempted assassination of President
McKinley is one of those calamitous events in the history of nations
against which the wisdom of man is incompetent to provide. It is
the deed of an insane criminal which no one could forefend or foresee.
The shooting of the President by Czolgosz
is paralleled by the act of a man man [sic] who, with a mind unhinged
by brooding over religious subjects, is suddenly seized with homicidal
mania, and commits a murder for the imagined good of his own or
the victim’s soul. Such a delusion reveals a diseased brain, and
undoubtedly there is a similar lesion in the case of the men who
commit or attempt assassinations in the belief that they are discharging
their duty to themselves and mankind.
Czolgosz calls himself an “anarchist,”
and perhaps merits the title. Certain it is that there are persons
so denominating themselves who profess to believe in the beneficeuce
[sic] of assassination, of all absurd political vagaries the least
rational[.] Rejecting the authority of government, they themselves,
in carrying out their propaganda by deed, exercise the last prerogative
of government, that of taking human life—a prerogative of such doubtful
tenure that governments have in many cases relinquished it. The
advocate of assassination is like the follower of the Golden Rule,
who, as Huxley said, can exist only in a community where he is protected
from the operation of his own dogma by those who reject it.
We do not see how anyone who justifies
the act of Czolgosz could put up the most feeble defense—except
the protection of the laws whose representative has been stricken
down—if he were himself to be led out and shot. Shooting is his
doctrine, and as a propagandist he must rejoice rather than murmur
on beholding such plain evidence that he has not preached it in
vain. He should congratulate himself on the spread of the doctrine
among his fellows, and count that moment the proudest of his life
when he sees it put in practice, even upon himself.
It will be a fatal day to the sympathizers
with Czolgosz and the approvers of his deed when the logic of homicidal
anarchy becomes clear to the community; for in that day the professed
advocate of murder will be lynched offhand. And his reflections,
if he is given time for thought, will be akin to those of the eagie
[sic] killed by an arrow winged with his own feathers.
Nothing reported concerning Czolgosz
is more easy of belief than the statement of his stepmother that
he is a fool.