It’s hard to believe that Barack Obama’s eight year presidency is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday Aretha Franklin was singing him into the White House, and has it really been only five years since the Supreme Court gave his Affordable Care Act the big thumbs up?
Pretty much every president in history has been polarizing, but I don’t think there’s ever been a commander in chief as controversial as Mr. Obama. Like roller derby or chili on top of your spaghetti, there’s no middle ground on the subject – there’s a whole lot of people out there who love him and there’s a whole lot of people out there who hate his guts, and they’re probably going to be feeling equally passionate about him and his impact on American history for decades to come.
Like virtually every other highly visible public figure, Barack Obama has been the subject of numerous threats. While a lot of them were unfounded, I’ve been able to uncover at least seven times Obama-haters LITERALLY took action to erase the commander in chief from the history books, only to get foiled in the most spectacular of ways (due in no small part to their own awe-inspiring stupidity.) With the moving vans all loaded up at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, how about we mark the end of an era by reflecting on some of the most insane, harebrained assassination plots ever conceived to off the O-man?
1. A Guy Named Adolf And His Two Meth Head Stooges Try To Pick Off Barack At The DNC (2008)
Three white supremacists – Nathan Johnson, Tharin Gartrell and the almost impossibly named Shawn Adolf – cooked up a plot to visit the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver and shoot Obama with a high-powered sniper rifle – believe it or not, hidden inside a fake video camera a’la that one scene in The Bodyguard. Alas, the feds got the drop on the trio when one of them got busted for driving high on meth in a truck containing wigs, fake IDs, bulletproof vests and enough firepower to do a dramatic recreation of Red Dawn right there on the side of the road. Of course, he fessed up to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and got his other two pals busted. Ultimately, ringleader Adolf got 10 years in the slammer (interestingly enough, a concurrent sentence to a totally unrelated robbery conviction) while both Johnson and Gartrell were free men by the time 2010 rolled around.
2. Two white supremacists plan to kill a whole bunch of black students, then run over Obama (2008)
Tennessee neo-Nazis Paul Schlesselman and Daniel Cowart met on the Internet and soon began arrangements to murder 88 African-American students at a still-unnamed college before plowing down Obama with guns a blazing in a car with a swastika painted on the hood … all while dressed as Colonel Sanders, for some inexplicable reason.
Alas, after bragging about shooting out a window at a historically black church as practice, it wasn’t long before Johnny Law was knocking on their respective doors and asking them why they had sawed off shotguns laying all over the place. As you’d expect, the two cracked under pressure and pled guilty to conspiracy to kill the pres: ultimately, Schesselman got booked with a 10-year-stay at a federal prison, while Cowart got 14 at the cross-bar hotel.
3. Guy tries to shoot the president and it takes four days before anybody realized he opened fire on the White House (2011)
On Nov. 11, 2011, 21-year-old Idahoan Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez (an aspiring cage fighter who believed Obama was the Antichrist and sent videos to Oprah declaring himself to be the second coming of Jesus) rolled up Constitution Avenue, stuck a semi-automatic rifle out the passenger side window and proceeded to fire at least seven shots at the White House in a haphazard attempt to gun down the president (who, as fate would have it, wasn’t even home that evening.)
Unbelievably, a Secret Service supervisor declared the noise was from backfiring equipment at a nearby construction site and random gangbangers shooting at each other and snipers were soon ordered to stand down. It wasn’t until FOUR DAYS LATER that the Secret Service changed their mind, when a janitor showed them pieces of broken glass and shattered cement chunks scattered all over the Truman Balcony.
In all likelihood, the shooter would’ve gotten away with the brazen crime, had he not crashed his car just yards away from the White House with all the weapons still inside it. He was quickly apprehended and sentenced to 25 years in prison in 2013.
4. U.S. Army personnel plan a deadly coup against the commander in chief (2012)
Four Georgia men – Isaac Aguigui, Michael Burnett, Anthony Peden and Christopher Salmon – were popped by the po-po when word got out about their plans to overthrow the U.S. military at Fort Stewart, blow up a dam, poison the nation’s apple supply and eventually assassinate the president.
Things went south for the paramilitary group when a fifth member, Michael Roark, threatened to tell the authorities, so naturally, they did the only reasonable thing any of us would do: they killed both him and his underage girlfriend to keep their cover from being blown.
Surprisingly, it’s pretty hard to cover up a double homicide, and when the investigators spotted the $87,000 worth of weapons and explosives in their possession, it didn’t take long before their militia aspirations went up in smoke. In the end, Peden, Aguigui and Salmon all got sentenced to life in prison, while Burnett got a reduced sentence for spilling the beans about his brothers in arms’ nefarious schemes.
5. A Texas woman sends poison to the president (2013)
In 2013, two letters tainted with ricin (believe it or not, a highly deadly compound made out of castor beans that can give people organ failure) intended for delivery at the Oval Office were intercepted by the U.S Postal Service. The poison-laden mail contained a meandering screed from some gun nut who threatened to kill anyone who dared infringe upon their Second Amendment rights.
As it turns out, the whole thing was a ploy engineered by failed The Walking Dead extra Shannon Richardson, who mailed the shit herself and then dialed up the feds and blamed it on her estranged husband. She pled guilty in December 2013 and was sentenced to 18 years in prison a year later, in the process giving all of us yet another reason to be wary of temperamental redheads.
6. The KKK tries to kill POTUS with a radioactive death ray (2013)
Now here’s a story I am SHOCKED never got the publicity it truly deserved. Longtime KKK sympathizer Glenn Crawford enlisted the help of New York engineer Eric Feight in 2013 to construct – and this is a direct quote from a federal affidavit – “a mobile, remotely operated, radiation emitting device capable of killing human targets silently and from a distance with lethal doses of radiation.” So in other words, THEY LITERALLY BUILT A FREAKIN’ DEATH RAY TO KILL THE PRESIDENT.
The problem is, Crawford just had to run his mouth while visiting miscellaneous synagogues and trying to recruit folks of the Hebrew persuasion to join him in a domestic war against Muslims, and it wasn’t long before the feds dropped the dime on ‘em. Feight was sentenced to eight years in prison in 2015 while mastermind Crawford was given a 30-year sentence a year later; needless to say, their arts and crafts time in the slammer will probably be monitored rather closely.
7. ISIS operatives bumble their way through the laziest assassination attempt ever (2015)
You gotta’ be one stupid sonofabitch to try killing the president, but give this New York trio special credit for concocting quite possibly the sloppiest assassination plot in history. Uzbeks Abdurasul Juraboev, Abror Habibov and Kazakh Akhor Saidakhmetov – for the sake of Spellcheck blowing up, I’m just going to call them Moe, Larry and Curly from here on out – decided to impress ISIS by saying they were going to hijack some flights, blow up random sites in Coney Island and, the biggie, assassinate the sitting commander in chief.
Of course, Moe couldn’t resist going on some pro-Islamofascist website and bragging about all this shit he was going to do, for real, ya’ll. Apparently unaware the FBI has “I’m gonna’ kill POTUS, LOL” flagged as an instant Google alert, the three suspects were soon apprehended by the authorities (with Curly experiencing the intensified indignity of being arrested at his Florida cell phone repair kiosk.) Currently, all three men are awaiting trial, with a guilty verdict hopefully resulting in all sorts of wacky slapstick misadventures down at Camp X-Ray for years and years to come.