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Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This Day in History: A Gay Man Saves A President's Life

~ The man in yellow circle stopping the woman in red circle from killing the President back in 1975..

Back in 1975, then President Gerald Ford survived two assassination attempts on his life within a span of three weeks..

Both mentally ill shooters being women..

The first was Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme who was part of the Charles Manson "family",.  Her failed attempt was on September 5th, 1975 and she served 34 years in prison.

The second insane woman as Sara Jane Moore who made the attempt to take Ford's life 40 years ago on this day, September 22nd.
Moore had a fascination and an obsession with Patricia Hearst and after she was kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, her father Randolph Hearst created the organization People In Need (P.I.N.) to feed the poor as a response to the SLA's claims that the elder Hearst was "committing 'crimes' against 'the people.'"

Moore was a bookkeeper for P.I.N. and an FBI informant when she attempted to assassinate Ford.

She was about 40 feet away from President Ford when she fired a single shot at him with a .38 caliber revolver. After realizing she had missed, she raised her arm again..
Oliver Sipple, a Marine and Vietnam Vet no longer on active duty, dove towards her, knocking her arm the second time, perhaps saving Ford's life.

Sipple said at the time: "I saw [her gun] pointed out there and I grabbed for it. [...] I lunged and grabbed the woman's arm and the gun went off."

The single shot which Moore did fire from her .38 caliber revolver ricocheted and hit John Ludwig, a 42-year-old taxi driver. Ludwig survived.

Moore was sentenced to life but ended up being released after 32 years..
Now at the time Sipple was rightfully made into a hero by the media: A United States Marine Corps Vet who fought in Vietnam. (shrapnel wounds suffered in December 1968 caused him to finish out his tour of duty in a Philadelphia veterans hospital, from which he was released in March 1970)

Most people at the time did not know Sipple was gay.

He made no effort to hide it in San Francisco where he lived having participated in many gay pride parades and gay rights demonstrations and was active in local causes, including the historic political campaigns of openly gay City Council candidate Harvey Milk..

But at the time not even his family knew he was gay and probably because of it, Sipple did not want his name used or location known by the media.

Milk as all political zealots do, decided for his own political agenda and interests to out Sipple to the local media and push that he be written up as a gay hero without Sipple's consent.

Upon finding out, his mother refused to speak to him and Sipple then insisted to reporters that his sexuality was to be kept confidential.

Once news of his orientation went public, there was no invitation to the White House for Sipple, not even a commendation.   Weeks later, Sipple received a brief note of thanks from Ford.
Sipple sued the SF Chronicle for invasion of privacy.  He also filed a $15 million invasion of privacy suit against Chronicle columnist Herb Caen who wrote the story, seven named newspapers, and a number of unnamed publishers, for publishing the disclosures.

The Superior Court in San Francisco dismissed the suit, and Sipple continued his legal battle until May 1984, when a state court of appeals held that Sipple had indeed become news, and that his sexual orientation was part of the story.

So by saving a President from death who ultimately did not appreciate it, a private man lost his right to keep his life private because others with social-political agendas cared more about themselves and validating their life choices.

Later in his life, Sipple went through a period of estrangement with his parents, but the family ultimately reconciled with him.
Sipple's mental and physical health sharply declined over the years.

He drank heavily, gained weight to 300 lbs, was fitted with a pacemaker, and became paranoid and suicidal.

The incident brought him so much attention that, later in life, while drinking, he would express regret towards grabbing Moore's gun.

On February 2, 1989, he was found dead in his bed, at the age of 47.

Earlier that day, Sipple had visited a friend and said he had been turned away by the good ole' Veterans Administration hospital (sarcastically stated of course) where he went concerning his difficulty in breathing due to pneumonia.

Sipple was buried in San Francisco and his funeral was attended by about 30 people
The morals of the story:

1) Being 'famous' is not what its cracked up to be especially if you never have actively sought it

2) For every gay person pushing themselves and their politics front and center while looking to be media darlings, most are just normal hardworking people living a normal existence who simply want to blend in quietly and live their lives without drawing attention to themselves.

In addition, the people who push the social politics do not always represent the wants or wishes of most others.

3) Whether it be a President, Policeman or the Pope, sometimes its best to not get involved because it won't be appreciated anyways