Some time ago, one crazy dude by the name of John W. Hinckley Jr. wanted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. So, on March 30, 1981, he shot him – or, precisely, his bullet ricocheted off the presidential limousine and hit Reagan. Three other people were shot as well, cause John’s aim sucks. 12 days later, Reagan was back in the office. So, John is a total failure. And one seriously disturbed specimen.
See, he wanted to impress Jodie Foster. One day in 1976, he made himself comfortable, made some popcorn, and watched a movie – “Taxi Driver”. He was obviously very impressed with Jodie Foster who portrayed a child prostitute. A bit disturbing since she was 14 and he was 21 at the time… Anyway, instead of putting some posters on the wall and signing with a fan club, John went a bit obsessive and began to stalk poor Jodie for years. He would repeatedly phone her and even slip poems and love letters under her door. He wrote to Jodie that he was simply too shy to directly approach her and introduce himself… Yeah… That’s nuts, right?
John was very much bumped that he wasn’t able to develop any “meaningful” contact with Jodie – I guess his poems sucked as much as his aim. So, he needed a new plan to get her attention. What’s the best source of inspiration? Movies! Let’s go back to “Taxi Driver”. There’s one scene in the movie where a character called Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro, plots to assassinate a presidential candidate. Bingo! John decided that assassinating the president would definitely impress Jodie. Again, that’s nuts, right?
So, here we are – March, 1981. John writes one last letter to Jodie to inform her that he would assassinate the president since “I cannot wait any longer to impress you”. And Ronald Reagan is the “lucky” and newly elected president. John fires 6 shots somewhere in the direction of the president in Washington D.C. at 1:30pm. He fails to kill Reagan – we already know that his aim sucks – and gets arrested. Fast forward to June 21, 1989 to the trial’s verdict: John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity and placed in a Washington mental institution – St. Elizabeth Hospital.
The verdict led to widespread uproar and, as a result, the U.S. Congress and a number of states rewrote laws regarding the insanity defense. Three states have abolished the defense altogether. And I don’t get why. I do think John Hinckley is a psycho or legally insane – to show class and use legal terminology. I think it’s a valid line of defense IF the accused is indeed a psycho (the urge to use legal terminology didn’t last long). It’s the big “IF” but I’m convinced that “real” crazies belong to mental institution not prisons. It wasn’t them, the voices told them to do it, they did it to save the humanity, they had to kill a dangerous alien, they had to impress Jodie Foster, they can’t even remember a thing after this mad party and excellent Johnny Walker… Wait, scratch the last one.
It’s not the end of the story just yet. Now, 30 years later, John Hinckley may well be on his way to be released. According to court records, the forensic psychologist at St. Elizabeth Hospital has testified that Hinckley has “recovered to the point that he poses no imminent risk of danger to himself or others.” John is expected back in court very soon, sometime this spring. And I don’t like the idea of him somewhere among us, mostly legally sane people. I really don’t. Can a nutcase be indeed cured? There are no drugs to treat this kind of disease and I’m not a believer of holding hands, singing kumbaya and talking about one’s problems. I can easily imagine John being okay-ish for few days, even weeks. Till he watches another movie…
All these crazy ideas one can get from watching movies… I watched “Saw” last night … hmm…