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September 1964

Presidential Assassination Syndrome

Author Affiliations


Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(3):245-254. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720270017003

For most people, the shock and horror at the assassination of President Kennedy were doubly compounded by the subsequent murder of the alleged assassin. Even if the assassination could no longer be undone by an understanding of the event, nevertheless, the hope of gaining some insight into the motivations, thoughts, and dynamics of such an unbelievably disturbed individual might have offered at least the promise of some greater intellectual comprehension of the situation.

Lee Oswald is no longer subject to direct psychiatric examination, but there do exist individuals susceptible to observation who may be considered to manifest an analagous, though luckily milder and less dangerous, form of this syndrome. Although assassination of the President of the United States violated no Federal law, to threaten the life of the President of the United States is a punishable Federal offense, under Title 18 of the United States Code, Chapter 41.