Background of the Assailant- John Hinckley Jr.

Background of the Assailant- John Hinckley Jr. - Marisa...

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Unformatted text preview: Marisa Wessel Cai Guise Richardson History 176 September 20, 2007 Background of the assailant - John Hinckley Jr. John Hinckley, Jr., the youngest of three children, was born on May 29, 1955, in Ardmore, Oklahoma. The family, who owned the Hinckley Oil company, moved several times, first to Texas, where John attended Highland Park High School in Dallas County, and then to Colorado. From an early age he was clingy and very dependent upon his mother. As a teenager Hinckley became withdrawn and obsessed with public figures such as John Lennon. in 1975 he went to Los Angeles with the hope of becoming a songwriter. In Hollywood, Hinckley saw Martin Scorsese's film "Taxi Driver" at least 15 times, read the book it was based upon, and listened to the soundtrack for hours. In the film, Travis Bickle, played by Robert DeNiro, becomes infatuated with Betsy, a political campaign worker played by Cybill Shepherd. She rejects him after he takes her to see a porn film. To win her love, he tries and fails to assassinate the candidate who she is helping to campaign. Upon his failure he becomes obsessed with protecting lris, a 12-year—old prostitute who was played by Jodie Foster. Bickle shoots lris' pimp and becomes her hero. Hinckley identified with Bickle and began to develop some of his characteristics such as his clothing preferences, fascination with guns, liking for peach flavored brandy, and his habit of keeping a diary. Hinckley took his obsession with becoming Travis Bickle one step further by developing a fixation with Jodie Foster. He began to stalk Jimmy Carter during his 1979 presidential campaign and was arrested for possession of firearms in the Nashville airport, after following Carter to a campaign stop. Hinckley's parents sent him to a psychiatrist named John Hopper. He didn't detect any mental illness but said his problems were just emotional immaturity and recommended that the Hinckley’s stop giving him money, which they did, despite his letters home which were full of pleas for money. He invented a pretend girlfriend named Lynn Collins who was based on Betsy's character in "Taxi Driver." Something that Travis Bickle had done in the movie. He was so convincing that his mother JoAnne felt as though she had lost an old friend when she was informed that Lynn Collins didn't exist. When Jodie Foster entered Yale University, Hinckley moved to be nearer to her. He slipped poems and messages under her door and called her twice. in one of his letters read... Jodie, GOODBYE! I love you six trillion times. DON'T YOU MAYBE LIKE ME A LITTLE BIT? (YOU MUST ADMIT IT I AM DIFFERENT). It would make all the difference. John Hinckley Hinckley began to come up with wild plans to attract Foster‘s attention, such as hijacking an airplane and committing suicide in front of her. He settled on assassinating the president thinking that if he were a historical figure, they would be equal. In 1981, he began to target President Ronald Reagan. He began researching Lee Harvey Oswald, who became his role model. Just before the attempt on Reagan's life, he wrote Foster another note which read... 3/30/81 12:45 P. M. Dear Jodie, There is a definite possibility that I will be killed in my attempt to get Reagan. It is for this very reason that I am writing you this letter now. As you well know by now I love you very much. Over the past seven months I've left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me. Although we talked on the phone a couple of times I never had the nerve to simply approach you and introduce myself. Besides my shyness, I honestly did not wish to bother you with my constant presence. I know the many messages left at your door and in your mailbox were a nuisance, but I felt that it was the most painless way for me to express my love for you. I feel very good about the fact that you at least know my name and know how I feel about you. And by hanging around your dormitory, I've come to realize that I’m the topic of more than a little conversation, however full of ridicule it may be. At least you know that I’ll always love you. Jodie, I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever. I will admit to you that the reason I'm going ahead with this attempt now is because I just cannot wait any longer to impress you. I've got to do something now to make you understand, in no uncertain terms, that I am doing all of this for your sake! By sacrificing my freedom and possibly my life, I hope to change your mind about me. 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 me the chance, with this historical deed, to gain your respect and love. I love you forever, John Hinckley On March 30, 1981, Hinckley fired six times at Reagan as he left the Hilton Hotel in Washington, DC. The gun was loaded with six Devastator rounds, designed to explode on impact, however, all of them failed to do so. Hinckley wounded a press secretary, James Brady, a police officer, Thomas Delehanty, and a Secret Service agent, Timothy McCarthy. President Reagan, was wounded when a bullet which bounced of off the bulletproof glass of the presidential limousine hit him in the chest. Hinckley was arrested at the scene still attempting to fire the gun. All of the men who were shot survived, but Brady was paralyzed on the left side of his body. Hinckley later called the shooting "the greatest love offering in the history of the world," and compared himself to Napoleon, saying that now he was a household name and that he and Foster would be forever associated with each other and their love would be eternal. At the trial in 1982, Hinckley insisted that Foster testify, but he threatened her and ran from the courtroom when Foster was asked to describe her relationship with John Hinckley and she replied “I don't have a relationship with John Hinckley. At the closing of the trial, "Taxi Driver" was shown and his reaction showed the impression it had made on him. He watched the movie with his mouth open and only took his eyes off the movie twice. Once when Betsy turns Travis down for a date, and again when lris embraces her pimp. The second time, Hinckley buried his face in his hands. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity on June 21. Hinckley was confined at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington, DC As a result of the verdict, the US. Congress rewrote the law regarding the insanity defense. Four states abolished it altogether. Twelve years later, President Clinton signed the Brady Bill, requiring a waiting period and background check on all handguns purchased. Hinckley had pen pals including serial murderer Ted Bundy and Lynnette Fromme who tried to assassinate Gerald Ford. He also tried to get Charles Manson’s address. Hinckley was allowed to leave the hospital for visits to his parents in 1999 and 2000. These privileges were revoked when Roger Adelman searched Hinckley's room at St. Elizabeth's and discovered twenty photographs of Jodie Foster hidden there, all of which had been collected after his hospitalization. In 1988, the Secret Service received a tip from a mail-order house which had received a request from John for a nude drawing of Jodie Foster. These things all seemed to prove the fact that Hinckley was not, as the lawyers during his trial had claimed, over Jodie Foster. Works Cited ABC. Flashback 1981 Reagan Assassination Attempt. Washington D.C, 23 July 2007. Archives, Paperless. President Ronald Reagan Assassination Attempt - John Hinckley FBl files. 28 September 2007 <www.paperlessarchives.com/Reagan_Assassination__Attempt.html>. BBC. BBC on this day March 30th 1981 President Reagan is shot. 28 September 2007 <news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/March/30/newsid_2530000/2530913.stm>. FBl. "President Ronald Reagan Assassination Attempt - John Hinckley FBl files." 1 May 1981. Paperless Archives. 28 September 2007 <www.paperlessarchives.com/Reagan_assassination_attempt.html>. Kelly, Jack. AmericanHeritage.com[ l he Ronald Reagan Assassination Attempt. 30 March 2006. 28 September 2007 <www.americanheritage.com/people/articles/web/20060330.shtml>. Schuster, Simon and. Ronald Reagan... Assassination attempt. 28 September 2007 <www.ronaldreagan.com/march30.html>. Wolf, Julie. The American Experiance l Reagan | People & Events | John Hinckley Jr. 1999.28 September 2007 <www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/Reagan/peopleevents/pande02.html>. ...
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This note was uploaded on 04/17/2008 for the course HIST 176 taught by Professor Guise-richardson during the Fall '07 term at Missouri S&T.

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Background of the Assailant- John Hinckley Jr. - Marisa...

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