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John Hinckley Jr. gained national notoriety in 1981 when he attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan outside of a Washington, D.C. hotel.
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Reagan's press secretary James Brady was the most severely wounded—he was struck in the head. A police officer was hit in the back, and a Secret Service agent was shot in the abdomen. Another of Hinckley's bullets pierced one of the president's lungs, narrowly missing his heart.
Reagan managed to walk into the hospital after Hinckley's attack. According to several reports, he explained to his wife Nancy Reagan that "Honey,
I forgot to duck." He underwent surgery to repair his injured lung. Reagan made a full recovery, but James Brady wasn't as fortunate. He was left with permanent brain damage and confined to a wheelchair. Brady later became a well-known gun control advocate.
As for the failed assassin himself, Hinckley was taken into custody at the scene. He later explained that the shooting was "unprecedented demonstration of love" and that he and Foster were like "Romeo" and "Juliet," according to The New York Times. Hinckley was put on trial for his crimes the following year. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity and then sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital, a psychiatry facility in Washington, D.C.
Hinckley was committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital after his trial ended in 1982. Early on, he showed some strange interests. He was pen pals with convicted serial killer Ted Bundy before Bundy's execution in 1989. By the late 1990s, however, his parents claimed that their son had made progress in his recovery. He worked a clerical job within the hospital and was allowed to walk around freely through the institution. For many years, Hinckley had also a girlfriend, a former patient of the hospital. His parents fought for greater freedoms for their son.
In 1999, Hinckley was given to permission to have supervised visits with his parents outside of the hospital. He temporarily lost some of his privileges the following year after a book on Jodie Foster was found in his possession. In 2003, Hinckley was allowed to resume visits with his family. Since then Hinckley's family has continued to campaign for increasing his time away from the institution and for unsupervised visits. These efforts have been decried by Reagan's family, including his daughter, Patti Davis, and wife Nancy Reagan, over the years.
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When one lover attacks another in a moment of unbridled emotion—or tries to eliminate their romantic competition—it's traditionally been known as 'a crime of passion.' These days, fits of rage over lost love are often chalked up to 'temporary insanity.' Whatever you call them, crimes committed in the name of love have been part of our cultural history since ancient times. Here are some of the most famous examples of passion-gone-wrong, from those who couldn't bear to part with their true love to those who found themselves on the receiving end of an obsessive romance.
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