Guest Author - Vance R. Rowe
It was March 30, 1981 and then US President Ronald Reagan was walking out of the Washington Hilton Hotel when four gunshots rang out. President Reagan was struck by a bullet after it had bounced off of his limousine, his then press secretary James Brady was shot in the right side of his head and suffered from severe brain damage, Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and Washington D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty were also wounded in the assassination attempt. John Hinckley was found not guilty in his trial due to mental incompetence and was ordered to stay at a mental hospital instead of prison.
John Hinckley, Jr. was immediately tackled after getting the shots off and subsequently arrested. Hinckley said he had an affinity for actress Jodi Foster after seeing her in the movie “Taxi Driver” in which she played a child prostitute. Hinckley had said that he had hoped to impress the actress by trying to shoot the president. Before the assassination attempt, John Hinckley went to Yale University where Jodie Foster was a student in hopes of meeting her. That never happened.
This also wasn’t Hinckley’s first time at a possible assassination attempt of a US President. He began stalking President Jimmy Carter and was arrested in the Nashville International airport where President Carter was to make a campaign appearance. Hinckley was found to have firearms in his luggage. After the 1980 Presidential election, his focus shifted to Ronald Reagan.
John Hinckley, after serving more than thirty-five years in prison for the assassination attempt was ordered to be released on July 27, 2016. He will be living with his mother in Virginia and has many restrictions to go along with his release. He is to hold down a job or do volunteer work and is not allowed to talk with the press among other restrictions. Hinckley will also have to go to Washington D.C. once a month to check his mental state and to make sure he is complying with the restrictions set forth. He is also forbidden to contact any of the surviving family members of Reagan’s and James Brady as well as Jodie Foster herself.
On his Twitter social media page, Mike Reagan, son of the former president stated: My father did more than say the Lords Prayer. He lived it in, forgiving John Hinkley Jr...Maybe we should do the same....Mike Reagan.
Former Reagan Press Secretary James Brady died in 2014 from complications due to being shot more than thirty years before. His death was ruled a homicide but Hinckley faced no further charges for the death due to in part of the double jeopardy rule.
So now it’s your turn to be the judge. What do you think? Should John Hinckley be released from the mental hospital to live a life of relative freedom? Or should he have stayed in the hospital until he has died? Come by the Crime forum at Bellaonline and let us hear your thoughts.