Monday, January 30, 2012

HINCKLEY EXPOSED: THE INSANITY OF FREEDOM

President Reagan's shooter in the 1981 assassination attempt had a series of court hearings last week in Washington, DC.  Hinckley's defense attorney led an appeal for more 'unsupervised' time or convalescence leave.  Federal attorney's yielded testimony from agents who continue to monitor Hinckley on current allowed leaves.  Their testimony revealed Hinckley's continued unstable mentality within the last ten months.  He was observed in a Barnes & Noble Bookstore in July and October of 2011, looking through books about Presidential assassinations and history of American Presidents.  Also, there was testimony of a hospital nurse who stated he had not been forthright about the types of movies he viewed while on leave.  

The new leave plan being considered by the U.S. District Court would increase his visitation to two stays totaling 17 days, followed by six stays of 24 days each.  A final proposal provided to the court would permanently release Hinckley from confinement at Saint Catherine's Hospital.  The court decided to continue hearings after Hinckley's next scheduled leave on February 6.  Judge Paul Friedman stated the ultimate decision on Hinckley's freedom was his alone.

John Hinckley, Jr., was the assailant on March 30, 1981, who shot President Reagan and wounded 3 others outside of the Capital Hilton in Washington, DC.  Hinckley fired six "Devastator" explosive rounds with a Rohm RG-14 .22 caliber pistol within a few seconds as Reagan passed from a breezeway to his limousine.   Hinckley was standing with a crowd of spectators about 15 feet away.  Reagan was struck in the armpit as the sixth bullet ricocheted off the limo.  Hinckley was quickly subdued by secret service agents, police and nearby citizens.  Reagan, Press Secretary James Brady, and two police officers were wounded.  All survived, but most had long term disabilities. Hinckley's court trial was held on June 21, 1982, and he was found not guilty by reason of insanity.  He was confined to Saint Elizabeth's Hospital for psychiatric monitoring.  After several decades of 'good reports', the court permitted him to have 10 days of visitation each month with his mother in Williamsburg, Virginia.  The Secret Service continues to covertly observe him during his time outside of Saint Elizabeth's Hospital.


Looking back on the mentality and acts of John Hinckley, Jr., caution is warranted.  In the late 1970's, he had become fixated on actress Jodie Foster.  He watched the movie "Taxi Driver" starring Foster and Robert De Niro 15 times.  De Niro played a maniacal, taxi driver who made an attempt on Governor George Wallace's life.  Hinckley began following President Jimmy Carter in the late '70's, but was not apprehended for a threat.  He was arrested for possession of a weapon in a airport when Carter was visiting Nashville in October, 1980.  Hinckley sent many letters to Jodie Foster leading up to the Reagan attempt. He followed Foster across the country.  He, in fact, briefly enrolled in a writing class at Yale to be in class with Foster.  Foster spoke of the letter she received just after the shooting with Hinckley stating he hoped, '...the magnitude of his action would get her attention.'

Judge Paul Friedman closed last week's hearings citing the law, "...as long as a mental patient is being treated, they can be hospitalized."  He continued, "...if they are no longer mentally ill, they must be released."

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