James O'Brien is Leading Britain's Conversation.
My grand-daughter asked me this: How important do you have to be to be assassinated, rather than just killed?
** Definitive **
Name: Ian, Wimbledon
Qualification: Police officer and it came up in a law exam question.
Answer: You have to be a politician or a head of state to be assassinated. Everyone else is just killed. People like John Lennon were just murdered, not assassinated.
Name: John, South Bank
Answer: Originally, assassins were particularly engaged in murdering important people and it was a judgement call by them on whether the person was important enough to be killed.
(James O'Brien: This is 2009, you're going back to India circa 400AD. I want to know, am I important enough to be assassinated, rather than killed?)
Name: Aaron, Ealing
Qualification: I'm an assassin!
Answer: I don't think it's how famous you are, but how you are killed. If you were to kill me, then that would be murder, as you're not a trained killer. If I was killed by a sniper, that would most likely be assassination. It's an assassination if you're a trained killer and there is a contract.