April 21, 1989: Tiananmen Square Protests Begin
On this day in 1989, students began protesting in Tiananmen Square in Beijing, the symbolic central space of China. Several weeks later, when the government sent in the army to end the demonstrations, the citizens of Beijing poured into the streets in support of the students.
The demonstrations ended in a massacre on the night of June 3-4, when the government sent the troops into the city with orders to clear Tiananmen Square. One day later, a single, unarmed young man stood his ground before a column of tanks on the Avenue of Eternal Peace. Captured on film and video by Western journalists, this extraordinary confrontation became an icon of the struggle for freedom around the world.
In 2012, FRONTLINE took a look back at how the iconic image of the “tank man” came to be, more than twenty years after the massacre at Tiananmen Square.
Photo: A Chinese man stands alone to block a line of tanks heading east on Beijing’s Changan Blvd. in Tiananmen Square on June 5, 1989. (AP/Jeff Widener)
April 14, 1865: Abraham Lincoln Is Shot
On this day in 1865, John Wilkes Booth, a supporter of the Confederacy and of slavery, shot Lincoln as the president and his wife watched a performance at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, D.C.
The president died the next morning, and Vice President Andrew Johnson entered the nation’s highest office.
Chronicle the life of the 16th President of the United States with American Experience’s Abraham Lincoln biography.
Photo: An 1863 daguerreotype of Lincoln, at the age of 54.
The Posse Comitatus Act is the United States federal law (18 U.S.C. § 1385, original at 20 Stat. 152) that was passed on June 18, 1878, after the end of Reconstruction and was updated in 1981. Its intent (in concert with the Insurrection Act of 1807) was to limit the powers of Federal government in using federal military personnel to enforce the state laws.
The Act, as modified in 1981, refers to the Armed Forces of the United States. It does not apply to the National Guard under state authority from acting in a law enforcement capacity within its home state or in an adjacent state if invited by that state’s governor. The United States Coast Guard, which operates under the Department of Homeland Security, is also not covered by the Posse Comitatus Act, primarily because the Coast Guard has both a maritime law enforcement mission and a federal regulatory agency mission.
Observe your cat. It is difficult to surprise him. Why? Naturally his superior hearing is part of the answer, but not all of it. He moves well, using his senses fully. He is not preoccupied with irrelevancies. He’s not thinking about his job or his image or his income tax. He is putting first things first, principally his physical security. Do likewise.