Attempted Assassination of Lavender
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|Attempted Assassination of Lavender|
|Date||December 2nd, 2018|
This assassination attempt came during the height of a foreign relations debacle for Lavender, which was the Achadia Crisis. Amid growing tensions with Acadia, Duck Island, and the Western Union in general, two Acadian and Duck nationalists decided to take matters into their own hands to defend their countries' honor.
The attempt on Lavender's life came about at a time of great tension between Shops Island and the home countries of the assailants.
For much of 2018, Lavender had repeatedly made provocative statements regarding Duck Island's "illegitimacy" as a nation, and thus refused to recognize the Duck nation as an actual country, instead calling them a bunch of "posers" and "scrubs". The Ducks responded to this by banning many high-profile Shopper politicians from entering the country. This added to an already-long list of banned politicians and diplomats which even included Vice-President Chill57181. A few months later, the president of the United Provinces, Simon McClark, approached Lavender hoping for a wide-spanning trade deal between the Western Union and Shops Island. The Shopper president refused this request, stating that Duck Island would have to be expelled from the union first - the Western Union said this would never happen and would be contrary to the Western Union Charter, as well as urged Shops Island and Duck Island to better relations.
At the same time, tensions between Shops Island and Acadia were growing rapidly. Amid a crackdown on dissent by Brant, Lavender threatened to cut ties with Acadia if they did not improve their penguin rights situation. The Acadians did not respond well to this threat, however, and Brant was more cavalier than ever about cracking down on dissent for the sake of "security". Tensions reached a fever pitch in November, however, when Hockey Manlet, a famous Acadian hockey player and frequent critic of Brant, was arrested for speaking his mind. He was soon released, but this high-profile arrest caught Antarctica's attention; this started what would later be known as the Achadia Crisis. In response, Lavender cut all ties with Acadia and threatened physical force, in spite of attempts by the Western Union to calm tensions.
At home, Lavender had spent the better part of 2018 trying to push through a substantial amount of infrastructure funding in the Common Legislature. This bill would provide extra funding to the Shops Island Bureau of Transportation, expand the Shops Island Highway System, and greatly increase the capacity of Shops Island's power grid by sponsoring major hydroelectric projects in the Mario Mountains. This last proposal was the most controversial part of the bill, and caught a lot of flack from both sides of the aisle as a result. As the year was coming to an end, Lavender made it his personal goal to travel the country and promote this infrastructure bill.
The Assassination Attempt
On December 2nd, 2018, Lavender gave a speech at the University of Goberna to a crowd of reporters and interested students regarding the infrastructure project which was on the table. His speech was fairly mundane in terms of content, although there were considerable protests outside the auditorium which were hosted by disgruntled taxpayers and other opponents to the Lavender administration. After fielding questions from reporters and students as is typical, Lavender was supposed to hop in his presidential limousine and leave the campus without much fanfare.
Instead of following proper protocol, however, Lavender asked his bodyguards to allow him to go outside of the auditorium and to "discuss" matters with the protestors. Despite repeated rebuttals by his security detail urging him to reconsider, Lavender stepped outside the auditorium in full light of the media. He waddled up to the large group of protestors, who were held by police behind a makeshift barricade. The president made his way upon the lineup of protestors, shaking flippers and spouting out typical positive political nonsense such as "Never never never give up!" or "Dissenting opinions are much appreciated; they're key to a functional democracy!", according to the media outlets which were present. Everything seemed to be proceeding without an issue until Lavender stopped to have an actual conversation with one of the more vocal protestors. According to one of the president's bodyguards who recalled the conversation after the assassination attempt, the conversation was terse and one-sided with Lavender trying to create a legitimate dialogue, while the protestor just spouted out partisan talking points.
At 11:49 AM PST, five shots rang out in the crowd. While the president should have been vigilant and watching for threats, the impromptu debate between Lavender and the protestor distracted both him and his security detail. Two cloaked penguins, both carrying handguns, fired shots from within the crowd and made their way towards the president, still firing shots. After five shots had been discharged by the assailants, they were both taken down by the SIA security personnel present. The attempted assassination had luckily resulted in only minor injuries to the crowd nearby.
Unfortunately, one bodyguard was killed by the assailants after heroically jumping in front of the president to save his life. Another bodyguard sustained a gunshot wound to his right flipper. Even though a bodyguard leapt into harm's way to protect Lavender, he himself was still struck by a bullet in the abdomen, just above his right foot.
The president's security detail immediately grabbed Lavender and rushed him away to his limousine, which quickly drove away and made its way to Goberna's hospital. By the time he arrived, Lavender had fallen unconscious. News of the assassination attempt spread like wildfire. The fate of the Shopper president was uncertain, and doctors reported his condition to be "critical" upon his arrival at the hospital.
Appointment of an Acting President
Immediately after the assassination attempt, the SIA contacted Shopper Vice-President Chill57181, who was at his home on Chill Island at the time. They briefed him on the situation, and stated that he was to become acting president unless he was to decline. In an unprecedented move, the Vice-President declined the role of acting president. After tensions had cooled down, Chill referred to his recent tenure as acting president as the main reason he declined the responsibility.
Upon Chill's denial, the director of the SIA, LMGT, was the next to be contacted. According to Shopper law, the director of the SIA was the next person in line for the presidency in the event of incapacitation or death. LMGT was quietly sworn in as acting president at 12:31 PM PST on the same day as the assassination attempt. Immediately after his impromptu inauguration, LMGT was briefed by Lavender's chief of staff regarding classified material which was unbeknownst even to him, the director of the SIA.
When the assassination attempt took place, first lady Violet was on duty as a nurse. She was informed by her manager of the incident, and she left work early to head to Shops City Square to assist the acting president. Her security detail and the bodyguards protecting Red and Blue were put on high alert and extra reinforcements were provided to the first lady and twins.
LMGT's first order of business as president was to address the nation, which was shaken to the core by the attempt on the president's life. To date, this had been the first high-profile attempted assassination of a sitting Shopper president. In his hastily-prepared speech, LMGT praised Lavender's "strong resolve" and emphasized his "hunger for the truth" regarding the identities of the assailants. LMGT noted that the Shopper populace most likely had an "appetite for revenge", but encouraged Shoppers to show restraint until the facts presented themselves.
The facts soon did present themselves. The two assailants were quickly identified by the SIA as expats from Acadia and Duck Island. The SIA was also quick to note that neither of the assailants had any ties to the sitting governments of either country, and that they had both renounced their citizenship upon arrival to Shops Island. Upon deeper digging into their histories, investigators found that both assailants were avid readers of the Penstubal Post and often spouted anti-Shopper rhetoric on Chitter and Beakbook.
As acting president during a time of heightened tensions, LMGT made sure not to ruffle any feathers. He openly condemned the Penstubal Post for its "extremist" rhetoric, but showed restraint in refusing to condemn either Acadia or Duck Island directly. Both president Brant and Waddler Whatever called LMGT to send their condolences.
Acting president LMGT presided over the first and only session of the Common Legislature after Lavender's attempted assassination. In this session, the president's infrastructure bill was approved by both the Administrators and the Bureaucrats by an almost unanimous vote.
After he was brought to hospital, doctors quickly identified that Lavender's intestines had been severely damaged by the gunshot wounds, and that he would need a tissue transplant to ensure a safe and speedy recovery. After one week of waiting, Lavender went under the knife and got his much-needed transplant, after having been bumped up many spots on the donor's list upon the insistence of his chief of staff. For most of his time in hospital, Lavender was quiet, tired, and according to the doctors even delirious at times. He finally came to after his surgery, however, and he re-assumed the presidency on December 14th, 2018. He made a public statement thanking LMGT for filling in for him, and stated that there was "much work to be done".
- Penquino - Although Penquino called for imprisonment for life for Lavender's attackers (in spite of them being dead), he mainly called for swift action to be taken against Penstubal and The Penstubal Post for inciting such violence with no such facts behind any of their claims. He said "This guy [Penstubal] has been here only a few months, and it's already clear that all he wants to do is incite violence and sow mistrust with his newspaper's conspiracy theories." Penquino called for the immediate revocation of Penstubal's visa, and deportation back to the United Provinces or anywhere else, and the closure of the Penstubal Post due to its blatant and intentional inaccuracies.
- Penstubal - Penstubal said he was shocked when he heard about the attempt on Lavender's life. He condemned the assassins and dedicated the entire front page of the Penstubal Post to Lavender, and in the article on Page 2 and 3 it says that "The Penstubal Post is opposed to Lavender's international and domestic agenda, but would never endorse any attempt on his life". Penstubal defended his Post, saying it never incited violence against Lavender in any single article, and offered a short defense of everything his Post says about Lavender and ended it with by saying how a tragic incident occurred and how a bodyguard lost his life, and that that should not be politicized and instead the public should be focused on mourning. Later, he called the assassins mentally disturbed and stated that the media should talk about the failing mental health system in Shops Island rather than attacking his Post for "offering valid criticism of the government".
- Chill57181 - Vice-President Chill declined the role of acting president, instead preferring to be there for Lavender as a "close friend" and confidant. Chill made many public appearances alongside acting president LMGT to help him through the tough times, and advised him on matters of foreign affairs when help was needed. He also offered his condolences to Red and Blue, noting that they shouldn't have been put through something like this.
- Bro - Bro strongly condemned the attacks against a sitting president, proclaiming to reporters "what if it was me!?". He blamed Brant Esser and Waddler Whatever for their "belligerent actions" against Shops Island, and called for an attack on both countries as retaliation.
- Shops Island - Acting President LMGT kept a professional composure and strongly condemned the actions of the Acadian and Duck attackers, stating that the assassination attempt was completely unjustified and that severe punishment would be brought against anyone affiliated with the attacks. He also condemned the Penstubal Post, urging them to change their tone so that the paper would not incite any more violence in the future. LMGT asked the whole of Antarctica to keep Lavender in their hearts during his recovery.
- Once he recovered from his wounds, Lavender broke from presidential tradition and recanted everything LMGT had said about his attackers. Lavender immediately condemned the governments of Acadia and Duck Island for allowing such a dastardly attack to occur, and swore that there would be a "steep price to pay" for allowing such events to unfold. Lavender later went on to strongly pressure the Western Union to expel both countries, even though Acadia was undergoing a process of democratization and Duck Island had genuinely done nothing wrong.
- United States of Antarctica - President Megg reacted with horror to the news of Lavender's shooting. She quickly phoned the Shopper president and offered her best wishes. Lavender urged her to "get back" at Acadia and Duck Island for their "misdemeanors" on behalf of the USA, although Megg politely refused as to avoid starting any unnecessary disputes.
- Acadia - Brant Esser said that what had happened to Lavender was a "tragedy", but insisted and heavily emphasized that neither he nor his administration had anything to do with the Acadian assassin. Despite the two leaders having a cold relationship with one another since the start of the crisis, Brant Esser offered his condolences to Lavender and condemned the attack as well.
- Hockey Manlet released his own statement on the matter, in which he said that the attack on Lavender was "profoundly uncool" and sent him a get well card and autographed jersey. Shortly after, he began ranting on Chitter that it was proof about how "radically dangerous" Brant's leadership could be and accused him of personally orchestrating the attempt on Lavender's life because he was salty about the ongoing Achadia Crisis.
- Duck Island - President Waddler Whatever of Duck Island said that the assassination attempt was "bad", but refused to comment any further.
- United Provinces - The government issued a statement saying that they are "appalled" by the events in Shops Island and they condemned "with the strongest words possible" the "despicable act of terror". President Simon McClark said that he wishes Lavender a speedy recovery and that he is offering Shops Island any help that the United Provinces might be able to provide.
- Western Union - Ludovica Carvilia, the president of the Western Union Commission, condemned the attack on Lavender and characterized the attempt on his life as an "act of terrorism". Carvilia urged an investigation into the killers and said she was prepared to launch an internal Western Union investigation into the killers because they are from two Western Union member states, Duck Island and Acadia. She also said that Duck Island and Acadia "must be accountable" for the "reckless behavior" of their citizens. She refused to address calls for Duck Island and Acadia to be expelled from the Western Union, instead saying only that "we must not rush into conclusions", referring to the accusations that the two countries supported and organized the terrorists in their undertakings.
- Magonia - Emperor Slender expressed his condolences towards the SIA agent who perished in an attempt to protect Lavender and wished the Shopper President a speedy recovery.
- Snowzerland - Kaiser Swiss Ninja found the whole ordeal quite funny, refusing to give out condolences like most Antarctic leaders. Instead, he stated that Lavender "got what was coming to him" for his multiple recent statements directed against Acadia.
- Castilla - King Carlos offered his deepest condolences to Lavender after his assassination attempt. He also praised acting president LMGT for his restraint and professionalism for his short stint as commander in chief. The Castillan king also noted that it was "quite concerning" to see Acadia's unpleasant involvement unfolding across the Antarctic stage. Under Lavender's urging, King Carlos joined Shops Island and many other Ninja Archipelago nations in freezing all overseas Acadian assets, as well as ending any hopes Acadia had for a defense pact, and threatening to ends the nations' trade agreements.
- Ghostlia - The micronation of Ghostila was ignorant about what had occurred until the day after Lavender recovered; Ghostly sent Jetpack to give their opinion on the event. Jetpack reportedly said: "We are very sorry to hear of the event. We will send him some Cactus Juice and mashed potatoes and peas for condolences." This action caused Shops Island to quickly make it legal, as there previously were no laws about it, being treated as a variety of Cream Soda.
- Culldrome Isles - Upon hearing of what had happened, Culldrome President Steven Snowen made a trip to Shops Island to visit Lavender in person and to give him his heartfelt condolences. In a press conference held shortly after their visit, Snowen stated that extremists everywhere must be "held accountable" for their deplorable actions, so that such dastardly attacks wouldn't continue to happen.
- Seal Islands - President Christina van Guilera said that this attack by Acadian and Duckish nationalists was a good sign that she had made the right choice in recently joining the Axle Powers. She blamed Acadia's recent defiance of the international community as a contributing factor to the assassination attempt.
- Munijoch - The Globalist stated that the attempt on Lavender's life was "unfortunate", and that he would fully support the Shopper president in any future actions to curtail Acadia and Duck Island for the sake of Shopper safety. He noted that the assassination attempt was a poignant reminder for all Antarctic leaders that they could all be in danger due to the machinations of a few extremists.
- Ed Island - Heirarch EDFan12345 used the attack on Lavender as proof that Acadia and Duck Island were dangerous, and could not be trusted. Ed Island's preventative measures taken against Acadia and Duck Island were praised by Lavender during his recovery, and served as a basis for how Shops Island would treat the two states later on.
After Lavender had recovered from his injuries, he was justifiably angry and he was looking for revenge. His first act when his power was reinstated was to formally sever all ties with Acadia and Duck Island, and to expel all Acadian diplomats from Shops Island and its territories. He then went to the Common Legislature to triumphantly deliver a speech with much bravado and posturing, talking about how he had survived "against all odds". In his speech, he called for "severe punishment" to be levied against Acadia and Duck Island for "their" actions. After a near-unanimous vote from the legislature, the Shopper government began to seize the assets of all Acadian and Duck citizens. Further, by executive order, Lavender ordered the freezing of all financial transactions between the concerned countries, and suspended visas for any Acadian or Duck tourists or permanent residents residing in Shops Island or its territories.
After hearing that the Penstubal Post was a major contributor to radicalizing his attackers, president Lavender filed a massive 5,000,000,000 WB$ lawsuit against the media corporation, stating that its reckless behavior had translated into real-world consequences, culminating in an attempt to assassinate one of Antarctica's most powerful political figures. In this lawsuit, Lavender decried Penstubal as an enemy of the Shopper people, and tried to strip his student visa by executive order, only to be persuaded otherwise by Moon Island's governor Djf.
There were also leaks from the presidential staff detail following the assassination attempt, which shed light into back-door negotiations that had been underway between Lavender and Simon McClark. The two leaders were trying to negotiate a wide-ranging trade deal between the Axle Powers and the Western Union before the attack on Lavender. After he recovered, the Shopper president resumed his negotiations with McClark, but with a much different attitude and a much harsher tone. Before his accident, Lavender said that he would only sign a trade deal if Acadia put new penguin rights clauses into its constitution. After an Eighth Amendment to their constitution was passed as a result of the Achadia Crisis, a trade breakthrough seemed likely. The attempt on Lavender's life, however, derailed negotiations, and later on Lavender demanded something much harsher. He stated that both Acadia and Duck Island would have to be completely expelled from the Western Union before he could sign a trade deal in good conscience. Obviously, president McClark had serious reservations about this, and as a result the trade negotiations have more or less died.
The attempt on Lavender's life, and his bellicose reactions after his recovery reignited the Achadia Crisis right as it looked like matters were going to be settled peacefully. Lavender made it his mission to punish Acadia and Duck Island in any way he could, and even hinted at military action in the future if Acadia did not "seriously repent" for its supposed crimes. To make matters worse, Lavender gave Hockey Manlet honorary Shopper citizenship, making him the first penguin to receive this distinction. It would have been seen as a benign gesture if Hockey Manlet was not considered an enemy of the state by Acadia.
Many political observers argue that while Lavender's belligerent reactions to Acadia and Duck Island are understandable, they are not exactly justified, and that Lavender greatly over-exaggerated to the actions of two penguins who had no formal relation to any foreign government. Some foreign policy experts even went so far as to say that the knee-jerk Shopper reaction to this event has discredited their status as a consistent and trustworthy ally on the Antarctic stage.