John Wilkes Booth: His own biggest fan

John Wilkes Booth: his own biggest fan


And so we’ve all heard from the recent news that Osama bin Laden apparently engaged in watching himself on television as broadcasted by the various news channels. I saw one particular clip of him doing so. He seemed utterly glued to the screen. What was the curiosity? Was it that he enjoyed seeing how he had impacted the world? Did he find keen interest in what the media thought of him? Again, my thoughts on this go back to another murderer-John Wilkes Booth.

After he shot Abraham Lincoln and fled from Washington City, Booth was “on the run” for what would be twelve days. He really didn’t have much prepared for his flight. However, he reasoned that his “network” and, perhaps, the “kindness of strangers” would assist him towards his destination-Virginia.  At one point, he and one of his fellow conspirators David Herold hid in the Zekiah swamp territory. It was not a very comfortable place to hide, but they were in real danger of being discovered by Federal troopers scoping through the area.

The decision was made by Booth that they needed to “stay put” for awhile. This was based partly on the advice of the Confederate underground who aided in their flight. More than that, when John Wilkes Booth was there in that forsaken wilderness hiding from authorities-what did he ask for? What did he crave the most? What was central on his mind? Not food (they provided him with that)-not fresh clothing-and not much of anything else. What John Wilkes Booth really wanted…were NEWSPAPERS!

Booth, like bin Laden, wanted to see and read about himself in the media. He wanted to read his “reviews.” He was an actor. He lived for the praise of the public. He thought for sure that his deed would earn salutes from his beloved South. So, he was brought newspapers. He was sorely diasppointed. Contrary to what he had thought-he was condemned, for the most part, for what he had done. In fact, he became so upset by what he read, he wrote a response in his “journal” amounting to rebuttal. Yes, Booth had a following. In the end, Booth lived long enough to understand that he sacrificed his career, life-everything-for a public that did not consider him a hero. He was, indeed, his own biggest fan. Perhaps bin Laden felt the same way…

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