JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor:
Jennifer Reiling, Editorial Assistant.
Regicide has been shown to have been committed, in a large proportion
of cases at least, by persons of weak or unbalanced minds. This was notoriously
the case with the assassins Guiteau and Prendergast in this country, who worked
without accomplices, following out the dictates of their own insane delusions.
In times of great excitement it is very natural to suppose that some ill-balanced
individual without being actually insane might commit a crime and the responsibility
be somewhat questionable under the circumstances. When, however, such a crime
is the result of a conspiracy of a number of individuals, as in the case of
the assassination of President Lincoln and of the Emperor Alexander, it is
somewhat different. The assassination of King Humbert [of Italy], which has
just occurred, appears to belong more to this class than to that of the irresponsible
lunatic homicides. The assassin in this instance seems to have been an adherent
of a body that is at present endorsing his action, and the suspicion of a
widespread conspiracy is certainly justified in such a case.
THE ASSASSINATION OF KING HUMBERT.. JAMA. 2000;284(5):537. doi:10.1001/jama.284.5.537