Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Hinckley Release Brings Back Memories of the Attempt on Reagan's Life

WARNING: THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS CONTENT THAT MAY BE UNSETTLING. DISCRETIONARY VIEWING ADVISED

The news is out. John Hinckley, the young man who attempted to knock off the president because of an obsession with actress Jodie Foster, is being released. What was he thinking? The courts concluded he was insane and they put him away. This week they have concluded it will be safe to release him, that he is not a danger to society. In fact, for twelve years he's been granted temporary release on numerous occasions to visit with his mother.

* * * *

I remember the moment like it was yesterday. We were living in Mexico at the time, working at an orphanage. We had just returned from town in the van. As we parked by the house and before we got out, Juan the cook came running up to the vehicle wearing an expression of distress. Susie's window was rolled down and he ran up to it, his hands gripping the door, shouting in Spanish, "The president of the United States has been shot!"

Susie and I leapt out and rushed down to the orphanage director's house where we found the other American's gathered in a semi-circle in front of the television. The news coverage, in Spanish, was almost comical because there were absolutely no details. it went like this:

Whether the president was hit or not..."No sabemos." (Which means, we don't know.)
Whether he is alive or muerte, "No sabemos."
Whether others were wounded or killed... "No sabemos."
On and on, question after question, with the same answer, "No sabemos."
This must have gone on for more than an hour and we stayed glued there because it was our only source of information.

All the while they kept playing and re-playing the footage of the shooting, the same questions repeated over and over, followed by the same refrain, "No sabemos." Eventually they showed footage outside the hospital, but again, the same lack of information: "No sabemos."

Here is unsettling footage that shows Reagan's cheerful, confident stride as he exits the Washington Hotel Hilton. Notice how swiftly the scene devolves into chaos and distress. I would call this PG-13.


Hinckley's release has become the occasion of a number talking points related to mental illness, the insanity defense, mental illness realities and gun control issues. (See WSJ story here.)

Watching the shooting by John Hinckley brought to mind another shooting many people saw on live television. In viewing the two one after the other, one can't help but notice similarities. In both instances the person being shot was surrounded by security officials (police, secret service agents) and media.



Most of us are familiar with the history of presidential assassinations in this country. It might be interesting to get schooled on how many failed attempts there were. Check out this slide show.

A conspiracy theorist might conclude that the release of Hinckley was timed for this week as a distraction from the Democratic Convention. On the flip side, other conspiracy theorists might be thinking that Hinckley's release at this time was timed to reinforce last night's convention message in favor of greater gun controls and strengthening of the Brady Bill.

Meantime, ....

3 comments:

LEWagner said...

Hinckley's father was president of World Vision, and the Hinckley family and Bush family were friends.
Mark David Chapman was also associated with World Vision, at Fort Chaffee, Arkansas.
All coincidence, I'm sure. Even though World Vision has been called a "front for the CIA", by many.
Thank a vet for your freedom. :)

Ed Newman said...

If you ever played the game Clue then you know the manner in which questions are asked -- like "Col. Mustard did it in the Billiard Room with the Candlestick." The players each reply whether they can disprove it or not. The player who asked the question knows what's in his hand and when everyone says, "I can't disprove it," every other player knows he learned something.

My initial Snopes search and another search resulted in my concluding for the moment, "I can't disprove it." The assertions here are certainly interesting. reL the World Vision connections. Thanks for sharing.

To the peanut gallery: Any other thoughts on that?

LEWagner said...

I don't know if you know who I worked for from 1973 to 1975 ...
It goes deeper than Snopes and Wiki, believe me.
Or don't, I don't really care much.