Assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan

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The moments that leaded to the assassination attempt, 1981

The Assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan happened on Monday, March 30, 1981. 69 days after becoming President, Ronald Reagan was leaving after a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C..[1] Shots were fired as he left to enter the presidential limo. The assassination attempt started concern about gun control.

After the shooting[change | edit source]

Reagan got a punctured lung and heavy internal bleeding. He got medical attention quickly.[2] No formal transfer of presidential power took place, although Secretary of State Alexander Haig stated that he was "in control here" while Vice President George H. W. Bush returned to Washington.

Controversy[change | edit source]

There was a controversy at the White House when Reagan was at the hospital. At a press conference, Alexander Haig spoke to reports and said the he was "in charge" because of the order of succession. Bush was out of Washington and he thought that as Secretary of State he was to succeed, but in reality, Speaker of the United States House of Representatives Tip O'Neill was to succeed Reagan and Bush to be in charge. Haig was angry about his mistake as did O'Neill. This feud left Haig to resign about a year.

The shooter[change | edit source]

The shooter was 30-year old John Hinckley. Hinckley said that he wanted to shoot President Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster.[3] He planned the assassination after he saw the movie Taxi Driver and there was a scene similar to the event.[4]

Aftermath[change | edit source]

Nobody was killed in the attack. Press Secretary James Brady was left paralyzed and permanently disabled. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He is in a psychiatric facility.

Reagan was the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. The members of his staff were anxious for the president to appear to be recovering quickly, and the morning after his operation he saw visitors and signed a piece of legislation. Reagan left the hospital on the 13th day. He was able to travel outside of Washington 49 days later.

Hinckley trial[change | edit source]

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity on June 21, 1982. The defense psychiatric reports had found him to be insane[5] while the prosecution reports declared him legally sane.[6][7]

Following his lawyers' advice, he declined to take the stand in his own defense.[8] Hinckley was confined at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he is still being held.

References[change | edit source]

  1. Wapshott, Nicholas (2007). Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher: A Political Marriage. New York, NY: Sentinel. pp. 167. ISBN 978-1-101-21787-0.'s%20theatre%20%22curious%20sensation%22&pg=PT168#v=onepage&q=reagan%20assassination%20ford's%20theatre%20%22curious%20sensation%22&f=false.
  2. "Remembering the Assassination Attempt on Ronald Reagan". Larry King Live, March 30, 2001.
  3. "The Insanity Defense, Post-Hinckley". New York Retrieved February 12, 2014.
  4. Taxi Driver by Denise Noe. Crime Library. Courtroom Television Network, LLC. Retrieved February 27, 2007.
  5. Psychologist Says Hinckley's Tests Similar to Those of the Severely Ill, by Laura A. Kiernan, The Washington Post, May 21, 1982. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  6. John Hinckley's Acts Described as Unreasonable but Not Insane, by Laura A. Kiernan, The Washington Post, June 11, 1982. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  7. Hinckley Able to Abide by Law, Doctor Says, by Laura A. Kiernan, The Washington Post, June 5, 1982. Retrieved March 3, 2007.
  8. John Hinckley Declines to Take the Stand, by Laura A. Kiernan, The Washington Post, June 3, 1982. Retrieved March 3, 2007.

Other websites[change | edit source]

Media related to Reagan assassination attempt at Wikimedia Commons