John Hinckley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, will soon be freed from the psychiatric hospital where he has resided for 35 years.
Hinckley attacked Reagan outside a Washington, D.C., hotel on March 30, 1981. He shot Reagan in the chest, Press Secretary James Brady in the head, and wounded a policeman and a Secret Service agent. Hinckley was tackled and arrested at the scene, while Reagan was rushed to the hospital. The president survived, offering at the hospital the now-famous quip “I hope you’re all Republicans” to the doctors. The bullet missed his heart by an inch.
Brady was paralyzed from the waist down.
Hinckley was ruled not guilty in 1982 by reason of insanity. He was obsessed with and stalked actress Jodie Foster, and wished to impress her by recreating Robert De Niro’s mission in Taxi Driver (assassinating a politician), which starred Foster. Hinckley wrote to her: “The reason I’m going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you. This letter is being written only an hour before I leave for the Hilton Hotel. Jodie, I’m asking you to please look into your heart and at least give the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your love and respect.”
Now doctors at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C. believe Hinckley, 61, is ready to reenter society. He has been transitioning back in for several years, being allowed to visit his mother’s home and volunteer. His full release will come with restrictions. He will still be required to go to therapy and check in with his doctors weekly. Further, to quote CBS,
- He cannot speak with media. Any media contact by him or his family will constitute a violation of his release.
- No drugs, no weapons.
- No contact with the family members of his victims, which include the Reagan family, Brady family, Thomas Delahanty or Timothy McCarthy.
- He cannot travel to areas where current or former presidents, Congress or senior executives or “United States Secret Service protectees” are found.
- He can use the internet but cannot Google himself, research weapons, porn, or his victims.
- He may not set-up any social media accounts without unanimous permission from his treatment team.
Hinckley will be released as early as August 5, 2016.