Saving the president's life but losing control of his own.
The death of President Gerald Ford, and the near universal praise for the man, brings to light an incident many people have forgotten. There were two attempts to kill President Ford and both failed.
In the second attempt left wing activist Sara Jane Moore fired a gun at the president. Her first shot missed. She aimed to fire again but a man in the crowd, Oliver Sipple, stepped in. When he saw Moore pull a gun he lunged for her and deflected her aim. She missed the president by only a few feet.
Sipple, born in 1941, had been a member of the U.S. Marine Corps had served in Vietnam where he was wounded twice. He moved to San Francisco, where the assassination attempt took place, and lived on veteran’s disability pension.
Sipple did what he thought was right. But his life was turned upside down. It came out that he was gay and the media descended on him. Sipple said: “My sexual orientation has nothing at all to do with saving the President’s life, just as the color of my eyes or my races has nothing to do with what happened in front of the St. Francis Hotel.”
Three days later he received a thank you letter for President Ford for his actions.
While friends of Sipple knew about his sexual orientation it was something he never revealed to his family -- and with good reason. His mother, a born again Baptist, upon seeing the news stories announcing her son’s sexuality cut him out of her life. Sipple pleaded with the media to leave him alone. But left-wing gay activists Harvey Milk thought Sipple could be sacrificed for the good of the community and was the one who leaked private details of Sipple’s life.
The loss of his family was devastating on Sipple. He filed a lawsuit against the columnist who first published the leak from Milk and against newspapers that wrote about his private life. But he lost the suit. Alienated from his family his health deteriorated and Sipple went into a depression and began drinking. He was fitted with a pacemaker. He was died at the age of forty-seven in 1989.
He save a president’s life but in the process lost his own. His prized possession was the framed letter from President Ford which hung proudly on his apartment wall. Sipple was sacrificed by Harvey Milk because Milk felt that it would further the gay cause by having it known that the man who saved the president’s life was gay. He gave no thought at all to what this would do to the individual gay man in question. This is the problem with with collectivists who discount the well being of the individual.
And this may also explain President Ford’s support for equality homosexuals. Ford was keenly aware that the man who possibly saved his life was gay. He sent a letter of sympathy to Sipple’s funeral as well.
Photo: Sipple is on the left. You can see him reaching out and grabbing Moore who is behind the woman in the stripped jacket and slightly to her right.