Historical Legends: Teddy Roosevelt

Presidents are too soft these days. They're cracking jokes about Iron Man, taking selfies with little kids, and watching TV in the comfort of their homes. Remember when the leaders of this nation had to fight to make a name for themselves? Like — literally fight. In our humble opinion,Teddy Roosevelt may have been the last tough-as-nails president of the U.S.A. He carried a pistol on his person at all times and owned a small bear named Jonathan Edwards. With an insane ability to withstand pain, Teddy also had no problem taking a bullet. More on that below.

Leave it to the ghost of a dead president to instigate an assassination attempt of a current one. At least, that was the case back in 1912, when John Flammang Schrank was apparently visited by the spirit of William McKinley, who demanded that he avenge his death by shooting Teddy Roosevelt. Totally reasonable request.

Like any good submissive ghost-whisperer, Schrank went down to the Gilpatrick Hotel in Milwaukee where Roosevelt was greeting the public, whipped out a revolver, and nailed Teddy right in the chest with a .32 caliber bullet. Instead of dying — like most people do when they get shot  — the 26th President of the United States took the blood-stained speech from his coat pocket and spoke to the crowd with the bullet lodged in his body. “I give you my word,” he addressed the crowd, “I do not care a rap about being shot; not a rap.”

Schrank was immediately detained as Roosevelt threw out some presidential shade by saying “it takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose” and then proceeded to deliver a 90 minute campaign speech, before he was taken to the hospital. X-Rays taken after the event showed the bullet had lodged itself against his fourth right rib on an upward path to his heart.

Some say it was Roosevelt’s metal glasses case, thick overcoat, and 50-page speech that kept the bullet from killing him… others say that it was his rough 'n tumble exterior and ball-busting disposition on life that saved the President from demise. All we know is that delivering a 90-minute speech with a bullet in your chest makes you badass as all hell.

Jeremy Glass is the Supercompressor Vice editor and Teddy is his second favorite Roosevelt.