General Question

Allie's avatar

How important does somebody have to be before their death is considered an assassination instead of just murder?

Asked by Allie (17436points) July 16th, 2008
Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

13 Answers

Harp's avatar

Hmm. Offhand, I’d say it’s not the importance of the victim that makes it an assassination, it’s the motive of the killer. I think a killing for political ends is an assassination, whereas a killing with theft, jealousy, rage, etc. as the motive would be considered a murder.

richardhenry's avatar

I think Harp is on the mark…

XCNuse's avatar

I have to agree with Harp, I think it has to do with politics more than anything else.

Anyone can be killed and it be considered a murder, but from a political standpoint if that person was politically active then it would be considered an assasination.

Actually I’ll take it a step further, not ONLY politics, I’ll say I think it has to do with media, if you’re well recognized on media then it will most likely be considered an assasination, but hey what do you know, politics are always part of media.

Knotmyday's avatar

I second (third?), and lay “ideology” on the table as well as politics.

Harp's avatar

Right, I think “politics” has to be considered in it’s broadest sense here as meaning “having to do with power and influence”

marinelife's avatar

The other use of the term assassination is that the killer has been hired by someone to kill a person. That makes the killer a professional and an assassin.

Allie's avatar

I can see how the killer would be considered a hired assassin, but would the victim still have been assassinated? Or would it be a murder victim? Is there a term like “assassination victim”?

Great answers so far everyone.

marinelife's avatar

Well, here’s Merriam Webster, which by the way, does not have my hired professional definition:

“as·sas·si·nate Pronunciation: \ə-ˈsa-sə-ˌnāt\
Function: transitive verb
Inflected Form(s): as·sas·si·nat·ed; as·sas·si·nat·ing
Date: 1607

1 : to injure or destroy unexpectedly and treacherously 2 : to murder (a usually prominent person) by sudden or secret attack often for political reasons”

I am going to check the OED.

intro24's avatar

I thought it was a type of murder. Like sneaking up or murdering unexpectedly.

Seesul's avatar

We need gail for this one, I think, but the first time that I ever heard the term used was with JFK. I was fairly young at the time, but I took it as to mean political. Later the term “political assassination” was used, which I took to mean that there were other kinds. To me it is a high profile targeted killing.

AstroChuck's avatar

It you are nobody and out of your mind then you’re crazy.
If you’re someone of means and crazy then you’re eccentric.
The crazy ones get murdered.
The eccentric ones get assasinated.

dragonflyfaith's avatar

Great question and answers, I’ve always wondered about this myself.

Cardinal's avatar

I dunno…......a 60 y/o retired guy was killed up here (Seattle) a few days ago while he was watering a garden he made in a traffic circle and one of the radio stations referred to him as having been assasinated. This was a stupid deal, the killer didn’t intend to hurt the gardening dude that badly, but he is still dead. I think it was a poor choice of words for the radio news bunny.

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