After reports surfaced that John Hinckley, Jr., who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, might receive a full release, Reagan biographer Craig Shirley ripped the idea.
John Hinckley is not a well man. His release from his hospital a few years ago was a mistake and a full pardon would be an atrocity. This is a man who nearly killed a sitting president because of his obsession with a movie star. It may have been 40 years but he still should be monitored. Experts can say what they want, but there’s no guarantee this man would not blow again. All that aside, we live in an age when actions don’t seem to have consequences, and Hinckley should still face the consequences for trying to kill a head of state.
13 News Now reported last week, “John Hinckley’s lawyers stated in a court filing Thursday that he wants to schedule a hearing for unconditional release. Experts who’ve assessed Hinckley say he poses little risk to himself or others.”
Hinckley, 65, currently lives with his mother and brother, as he has since 2016 after spending decades at a psychiatric hospital in Washington. In September 2019, his attorney said at a court hearing that he wanted to get a job in the music industry.
“Health professionals have said that the mental illness that the 25-year-old Hinckley was suffering from when he shot Reagan has been in full and stable remission for decades. U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman has said he is no longer a danger to himself or others and has gradually allowed him more time away from the hospital and more freedom,” 13 News Now noted. “According to court records he anonymously sells books online as well as items at an antique mall.”
Max Friedersdorf, Reagan’s Assistant for Legislative Affairs, recalled that, contrary to the polarity that exists today, after Reagan was shot by Hinckley and nearly died, there was an extraordinary moment between the Democrat House Speaker Tip O’Neill and the bed-ridden Reagan:
He stayed in the hospital about ten days. Other members came later, a very, very few. Howard Baker came. I think Mrs. Reagan made an exception with Tip and probably Howard Baker—those are the only two I can remember when I was there.
So Tip came down, he did go in, and it was rather poignant. I stayed in the room. Mrs. Reagan, I think she slipped out. I don’t think she was in there. But Tip got down on his knees next to the bed and said a prayer for the President and he held his hand and kissed him and they said a prayer together. One about, what is it? Walking by still waters, the psalm-The 23rd psalm. The Speaker stayed there quite a while. They never talked too much. I just heard him say the prayer, then I heard him say, God bless you, Mr. President, we’re all praying for you. The Speaker was crying. The President still, I think, was a little, he was obviously sedated, but I think he knew it was the Speaker because he said, I appreciate you coming down, Tip. He held his hand, sat there by the bed and held his hand for a long…
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