Let’s look back and re-visit one of the most famous assassination attempts in history. On March 30, 1981, Ronald Reagan emerged from the Washington Hilton Hotel, fresh from a speaking engagement with a group of trade unionists. The distance between the hotel exit and the limousine was only 30 feet so the Secret Service thought that it wasn’t necessary for the President to wear a bullet proof vest. John Hinckley, Jr. was patiently waiting within the crowd of fans and supporters.
The president passes right in front of his would be assassin and grabbing the opportunity, Hinckley fired six successive shots. The shooting only lasted for 2-3 seconds but that short span of time resulted in panic and injury. A bullet hit former Press Secretary James Brady in the head. One bullet hit Police Officer Thomas Delahanty on the neck as he quickly protected the President. Timothy McCarthy used his body as a shield and was shot in the abdomen. While the shooting was happening, Reagan was being pushed to his limo by Special Agent In Charge Jerry Parr. The sixth and final bullet hit the side of the armored limousine and ricocheted hitting the president in the left underarm slightly grazing the rib and finally lodges on Reagan’s lung. The shooter was pinned down while the limousine took off.
This whole incident became the key plot point of The American’s fourth episode. The shooting wasn’t related to the KGB but tensions rose to the point that most people thought it would spark another World War. Further investigation showed that John Hinckley, Jr.’s motives was to impress actress Jodie Foster, as the shooter suffered from “Erotomania”, a type of delusion where an affected person would think that another person, usually someone who is famous or of high-status, is in love with the affected person.
John Hinckley, Jr. was a big fan of the movie “Taxi Driver” where Foster played a 12 year old prostitute being protected by Robert de Niro’s character, Travis Bickle. It is also interesting to note that in the movie, Bickle also plotted to assassinate a presidential candidate.
Hinckley didn’t end up in a prison but was sent to St. Elizabeth’s hospital due to the fact that he was mentally ill. Recently, he has been awarded more visiting rights as he was reported to be “recovered to the point that he poses no imminent risk of danger to himself or others.”