Source: Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette
Source type: newspaper
Document type: article
Document title: “Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned”
City of publication: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Date of publication: 17 September 1901
Volume number: 116
Issue number: 44
|“Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned.” Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette 17 Sept. 1901 v116n44: p. 5.|
|Frederick T. Aschman (public statements); McKinley assassination (poison bullet theory).|
|Frederick T. Aschman.|
|The condition of the newspaper (an online scanned document) is poor in places, rendering selected letters/words difficult or impossible to read.|
Fatal Bullet Not Poisoned
Chemist Aschman Points Out the Improbability of This Theory.
RESULT OF AUTOPSY IS AGAINST IT
To Poison a Bullet Effectively Is a Difficult Matter, Requiring Considerable
Chemical Knowledge. Analysis of Remaining Balls Easy.
Fred[e]rick T. Aschman, the well
known chemist, does not take any stock in the theory that a poisoned bullet
was used by the assassin of the president.
“It seems to me to be highly improbable,” said he. “It would be a rather difficult thing effectively to poison a bullet without cutting grooves in it or otherwise roughening it. I[t] will be very [e]asy [f]or a chemist to [d]etermine by analysis whether the bulle[t]s left in the revolver were poisoned or [?].
“There are two g[e]nera[l] kinds of poison that [m]ight have been used,” said the chemist, “organic and inorganic or chemical. The organic poison might be obtained from snake venom, [b]acteria of gangrene, or [s]ome other kind of bacteria. The chemical [p]oison might be an arsenic or copper solution, or any one of the group of mineral poisons, or some one of the rar[e] alkaloids.
“I[f] an organic poison were used, in my opinion, it would be rendered harmless by the action of the lead in the bull[e]t, lead being a poison and destr[u]ctive to all forms of organic life, and also by the fire of the powder. The lead and fire ough[t] to kill the bacteria and render them entirely harmless.
“If a chemical poison were used, one of two things would happen. If the chemical were anything but a mineral, the lea[d] would render it ha[r]mless, as in the case of the organic poiso[n], but if it were a mineral, the lead would not have any effec[t] upon it, [and] could not render i[t] harmless.
“But I do not [b]elieve [t]hat a mine[r]al poison or any o[t]her kind of chemical poison would produc[e] gangrene, and hen[c]e the only kind of poison that could be applied by means of a bullet would not produce the effect that was discovered by the autopsy of [t]he president’s body. It s[e]ems to me, therefore, highly improbable that the missile was poisoned.
“I am not enou[g]h of a physician to speak with authority on this subject, but it looks to me as though the un[u]sual condition of the wound, the gangrene being present thro[u]ghout the course of the bullet, was du[e] to a bad condition of the blood. Even had the bullet be[e]n poisoned it would in a[l]l probability have been cleaned off entir[e]ly b[e]fore it had plowed through its whole course. Bu[t] the reports show that the gangrene was pres[e]nt all along [t]he course of the bull[et], and not only at the point where it entered.”
Mr. Aschman is also of the opinion [t]hat the assassin’s intelligence is not su[ffi]c[ie]nt for him to have had the knowledge of poisons necessary to select the proper one to carry out [his?] scheme. He d[ec]lared tha[t the] whole controversy can easily be settled by an analysis, which he says is comparatively simple.