Who's on your list of time-travel assassinations?

In an otherwise unrelated thread, someone wrote

(link added by moi)

Leaving aside the illogic of the final insult (shouldn’t it be unfuck that guy? :smiley: ), I think we have a subject for a thread – obviously this one. It’s been a while since I started any bloodthirsty and immoral discussions, after all.

So here’s the sitch. I’m donating the use of my Burroughs-Libby cross-time buggy. The verniers are locked so that you can only go backwards in time; the minimum trip allowed is 150 years, and the maximum is 1900 years: in other words, you can go to any date between 111 CE and 1860 CE.* The Novikov compensator is engaged so that your actions on the trip can actually be of effect.‡ The CT buggy has a Star Trek:TNG era library computer and sensor array installed, so you should be able to find anybody you want. There’s also a light saber for, well, killing people,† and a Legion flight ring to effect a quick getaway back to the buggy.

You may make a single trip backwards in time, and then return. Whom will you assassinate for the good of man-the-kind?

*Why, yes, this is set up so you can’t kill Dick Cheney OR Jesus Christ. Why? The latter because we dump on the Christians too much as it is, and the former because I don’t want to be wishing death on living people.
‡ I will fear no paradox.
† Why a light saber rather than a phaser, AK-47, or sniper rifle? Because if you’re going to get all murdery, you should have the balls and/or ovaries to do it face to face.

Hmmm…Hitler is usually my default choice for time-travel assassination targets, but I’m in the mood for something different. Think I’ll use the light saber to decapitate John Wilkes Booth. I can do it in 1860, and prevent him from killing Lincoln years later.

Since I’m your buddy and all, I’m going claim a two-fer and take out General William Tecumseh Sherman May He Rot in Hell while I’m at it.

Well, as a rule, I don’t like to kill preteens. But this guy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luigi_Cadorna) won our recent Worst Military Leader thread, so to prevent a lot of needless World War I casualties, I’m willing to do my civic duty. In 1861 he’ll be 11.

Pity Hitler, Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot would all be too young for me to reach in the time buggy.

Hitler’s dad? If we can figure out who he might have been?

Oh well. The time frame knocks out my only choice.

Off the top of my head, I’d try and find a common ancestor of Hitler, Stalin, Tomas De Torquemada, Noel Edmonds and… Dick Cheney.

(If you don’t like the rules, change the game.)

Why was Sherman bad?

And Lenin.

Franz Conrad von Hoetzendorf would be available but do I really want to shoot an eight year old?

Maybe I’ll just go back and knock off John Calhoun.

I wrote that you get one trip, not one target. Those are close enough in time & space that it shouldn’t be a problem, though.

I’m not sure killing Booth alone will save Lincoln; I’d expect you’d want to take out all the conspirators.

I understand your motives on the second one, but I think it will have the effect of extending the Civil War, and I’m not sure it will save Atlanta in the process.

Rand, Oak is offended by the march to the sea, I think. Being black I hold Sherman in somewhat higher esteem than he, but I understand his attitude. (Hell, even I have to consider Sherman a heroic sociopath at best.) There are still people in Atlanta who spit at the mention of his name.

EH, I don’t think you thought your plan through. Why not go back to 1850, and chop off Cadorna’s father’s head? It’s exactly as immortal but less squicky.

Sarabellum, you’re going to have to hinky with the buggy’s controls to assassinate any of the Kims, and while the OP doesn’t say those are booby-trapped, I’d certainly make that assumption. Even if they’re not – well, verniers are sensitive. Set 'em up wrong and you’re stranded without tech support, and I’m certainly not helping.

Okay, I know why I wouldn’t kill Hitler’s mother. Why wouldn’t you?

Why it’s almost certain you’ll be able to find someone who fits that description, what makes you think that person isn’t also one of YOUR ancestors?

There can be only one?

Muhammad.

Ok, that makes sense if you look at it from that perspective. Being black as well I think Sherman was on the right path.

I’d take out Cortez. That guy was a dick.

So I can’t go back to 1996 and kill George Lucas with a shovel? hmm…

Oh, yeah, Cortez, definitely. Read Gary Jennings’s great historical novel Aztec if you want more reason to hate him.

I might be inclined to play Terminator against Pope Innocent III and his court…

Hmm. After you pointed out that I could go back to one specific TIME but was not limited to one specific TARGET, I began to consider what point in time contained the greatest number of “nexus points of beneficial opportunistic murder” (preferably clustered geographically). But the use of a lightsaber presents a few challenges. For example, it’d be hard to, say, defend the city of Constantinople from the Fourth Crusaders. Unless I were actually a Jedi Knight to boot. And even then I’d have to spend time recruiting a bumbling comic-relief sidekick to come through and save the day with about 20 minutes left. Hmm.

On update, I see Chimera was thinking along the same lines, “crediting” Pope Innocent III and his cronies for the Fourth Crusade. He might be on to something.

This is going off-topic, but I remember hearing of a fellow from NY driving to Florida for Spring Break with more knowledge of history than sense who (a) got pulled over by a Georgia State Trooper on I-95 doing about 90 MPH, and (b) had the following exchange of “witty repartee” with said Trooper:

Trooper: I see you’re fron New York. Maybe y’all drive differently up there, but nobody goes through the state of Georgia that fast.
New Yorker: What about General Sherman?

This earned him about 20 citations and a night in the tank.

Oak could also be airing Native American grievances. In addition to being a practitioner of a scorched earth/total war campaign strategy against the South in the Civil War, Sherman continued this philosophy in the Indian Wars afterwards (especially the Sioux), writing “we must act with vindictive earnestness against the Sioux, even to their extermination, men, women and children”, and that “during an assault, the soldiers can not pause to distinguish between male and female, or even discriminate as to age”.

Good point, guess some serious cross-referencing is in order. Work that card-index baby!

To be serious-ish for a moment, my 5-for-the-price-of-one deal is going to run into some major butterfly effect. It would eliminate my real targets from history, but about the only other thing I could be certain of is that I wouldn’t exist either. Never mind inadvertantly killing my own grandfather. Removing Bill, who was destined to interrupt Fred, who as a result of being distracted inadvertantly put an extra stitch in a sock, which was bought by Jeremy, which as a result took an extra few seconds removing it on a special evening, leading to a different sperm winning that crucial race.

The odd of any of us existing are zero to the nearest approximation.

Crank that puppy up to Nicea, 325 Ad. I have a bit of a bone to pick with the entire bishopric of the church at the time and that would be a lovely time to play with that suitcase nuke I picked up from Abdulla’s Used Military Supply.

Sherman said that during Red Cloud’s War. The number of actual Indians killed during the entire war was maybe fifty at most. So it appears that extermination was not Sherman’s real plan.

1978 - Billy Hickman.
He knows why.