The Finer Points of Murder

Kwame Nkrumah survived at least five assassination attempts. The first three were bombings targeting his car or house. A grenade was thrown at him, causing minor injuries. In January 1964 an assailant entered the Ghanaian presidential residence, Flagstaff House, and fired five shots from close range. A security guard was killed but Nkrumah was unscathed. “Business went on as usual in Accra”, the New York Times reported. The trouble with many attempted assassinations is that the subject refuses to die. A more recent example was the attack on the then presidential candidate, Jair Bolsonaro, in Juiz de Fora, Minas Gerais, in September 2018. Adélio Bispo de Oliveira stabbed Bolsonaro at a rally, piercing his liver and lungs, but Bolsonaro was up and campaigning again within a couple of weeks and went on to win Brazil’s presidency in October. Would-be assassins consistently overestimate the lethality of their chosen tools, believing it easier to kill a man than it really is.

January 8