A Latin phrase, meaning: "Thus ever to tyrants"

Used as a rallying cry during the American Revolution, and now the motto of the state of Virginia.

Also often used as a motto by anarchist and cracker groups.
John Wilkes Booth is reported to have shouted "sic semper tyrannis" when he shot Abraham Lincoln; his reasoning may be obscure to those who regard slavery as tyranny, but we should try to keep an open mind. We may disagree but it's worthwhile trying to understand where he was coming from.

When Timothy McVeigh, who bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, was captured, he reportedly wore a t-shirt with a portrait of Lincoln and the same motto.

Benjamin Daniel Smith, the former World Church of the Creator member who shot several people in Chicago in July 1999, had used the same motto in his high school yearbook, in 1996.

None of this really means much. People who shoot others for political reasons usually believe that they're fighting tyranny (which is not to say that they're necessarily wrong). Why else bother? John Wilkes Booth popularized the phrase in the US, and so it gets used a lot. Political extremists seem often to have an almost "magical" faith in stock phrases. They're searching for something simple and absolute to live by. There's also the benefit in dramatic terms of having memorable dialog.


By the time I was done writing this, --OutpostMir-- had beaten me to the punch on the Lincoln thing, but I'm keeping that part for the sake of the snide remark at the end of it, which would be baffling without context. Fortunately, --OutpostMir-- included details that I blew off.

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