Tell me how you really feel about it?
Seriously, though, reading through the strong reactions and comments regarding Sara Jane Moore's interview on the Today Show are not really surprising given the lack of knowledge about the times and San Francisco in the 1970s.
If one were to casually glance at a short cast of characters from the 197's, one would truly appreciate Sara Jane's chameleon ability to charm everyone she met. She was brilliant at gathering data, sourcing details of events and gaining trust. Her story against the backdrop of 1970s San Francisco is critical to our understanding dangers we don't even see.
Many are flummoxed at her release, shocked at what some see as a lack of remorse, and a few say that her appearance is an "irrelevant" issue.
Is the act to attempt to assassinate a President irrelevant especially when the threat comes packaged in the guise of a nice, middle-class housewife and mother?
If you were standing on that sidewalk next to Sara Jane Moore when she was 45 years old, would you have expected her to pull a gun from her purse, aim and pull the trigger at the head of the U.S. President?
The fact that she missed does not diminish the act. She still meant to kill him. Gerald Ford would tell you the same thing he told me in 2003: "There is no difference in the act of assassination whether the person succeeded not. The intent to kill is the same."
There was nothing irrelevant about San Francisco in 1975 -- and Sara Jane Moore was in the middle of it all
So many unanswered questions: Huffington Post readers wondered what Sara Jane meant when she when she said the radical leftist groups pushed her to the edge?
Viet Nam Vets Against the War? New World Liberation Front? Prairie Fire Organizing Committee? Socialist Workers Party? United Prisoners Union--or wait, Tribal Thumb.
•Who was she involved with and why were they pushing her to knock off Ford?
The local FBI recruited Sara Jane to be a card-carrying informant and gained her entre into the most well known and obscure political groups in the city.
•Were they after Ford or was he just a symbol?
It was never about Ford
•She said if she didn't kill him, others would? Who were those other potential assassins?
After multiple "outings" of Sara Jane's involvement in the radical political movement and her days as a "Double Agent," she found shelter in one of the most dangerous and violent organizations in San Francisco at the time. U.S. Attorney, F. Steele Langford, was quoted in the New York Times during Moore's hearing. He said in that interview that had there been a trial, others would have been accused of conspiracy to kill the president.
We have much to learn from Sara Jane Moore. She slipped through the threat assessment definition of a potential assassin at the time. Not the Secret Service, FBI or SFPD caught on to the sweet, clever, well spoken person you saw on television. She hasn't changed. The question we need to learn from her, is have we changed? Will we know better next time?
Geri Spieler is the author of, Taking Aim At The President, Palgrave Macmillan
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