A newly published article on Smithsonian.com asks the question, “What happened to Officer John Parker, the man who chose the wrong night to leave his post at Ford’s Theater?”, on the night Abraham Lincoln was shot. The facts about how John Wilkes Booth reached the presidential box unimpeded are well known, as is the detail that John F. Parker, a notoriously unreliable Washington police officer assigned to guard the safety of Lincoln and his party, left his post before Booth’s arrival. What isn’t widely known is what became of Parker himself. Was he charged with abrogating his duty, or expected to bear the blame for what ultimately happened? Would he have barred Booth from entering the box even if he had been properly performing his responsibilities? Author Paul Martin answers these questions and many more here . It’s a pretty deplorable story.