Would-Be Reagan Assassin Granted Unconditional Release
John Hinckley, Jr., the man who shot President Ronald Reagan in 1981, will be granted unconditional release next June. Hinckley has been out on conditional release for a few years now, but with law enforcement keeping a close eye on him. The 66-year-old Hinckley will be completely unsupervised starting next year.
We didn’t always treat presidential assassins and would-be assassins with such a laissez-faire attitude in this country. Most of Hinckley’s predecessors died in prisons or mental hospitals, if they weren’t hanged or shot on their way to the courthouse. The guy who tried to assassinate President Trump with a forklift in 2017 is already out of prison on supervised release. It’s just one more sign of our eroding “norms and traditions” that are somehow all Donald Trump’s fault, I guess.
I’ll admit that it’s difficult not to feel some sympathy for Hinckley these days. He’s clearly struggled with mental illness for a long time. He’s a sad, pathetic and lonely man who writes sad, pathetic, lonely, and not-very-good country music songs that he posts to his YouTube channel. How’s that for a double standard? John Hinckley, Jr. has a YouTube channel with more than 20,000 subscribers, while President Trump is permanently banned from YouTube.
Hinckley does have something unique about him, however, which proves one of Donald Trump’s major political truisms. See if you can spot a pattern among all of the presidential assassins and would-be assassins who preceded Hinckley:
British immigrant Richard Lawrence tried to shoot Andrew Jackson in 1835, in front of the Capitol Building. Both of Lawrence’s pistols misfired, and Jackson whipped Lawrence silly with his cane. Lawrence died in a mental hospital many years later.
Second-generation British immigrant John Wilkes Booth assassinated Abraham Lincoln in 1865. Booth was shot to death during his capture.
Second-generation French immigrant Charles Guiteau assassinated James Garfield in 1881. Although he was declared mentally ill due to syphilis, Guiteau was hanged for the crime.
Second-generation Polish immigrant Leon Czolgosz assassinated William McKinley in 1801. He got the electric chair.
Second-generation Bavarian immigrant John Flammang Schrank shot Teddy Roosevelt in the chest at a campaign stop in Wisconsin in 1912. Roosevelt, the toughest president ever, then delivered a 90-minute campaign speech with a bullet lodged in his mighty America First pectoral muscle before going to the hospital. Schrank was found insane at the trial and sentenced to life in a mental institution.
Italian immigrant Giuseppe Zangara fired five shots at Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1933. The attack killed the mayor of Chicago and wounded five others, leaving Roosevelt unhurt. Zangara got the electric chair.
A pair of Puerto Rican immigrants tried to assassinate Harry Truman in a genuine insurrection in 1950. One attacker was killed and the other spent 29 years in prison.
Second-generation German and French immigrant Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated John F. Kennedy in 1963, and we all know what “they” did to that guy.
Second-generation Jewish immigrant Samuel Byck attempted to carry out my personal favorite presidential assassination attempt of all time in 1974. Byck was mad because the Nixon administration SBA turned him down for a loan. After that, the second-generation Jewish immigrant tried to join the Black Panthers, but… they turned him down for some reason. Following those two failures, Byck decided that he was going to hijack a passenger plane and crash it into the White House to kill Richard Nixon.
Carrying a bomb made from gasoline and a stolen .22 revolver, Byck killed an airport police officer and stormed onto a DC-9 on February 22, 1974. After shooting both of the pilots before the plane took off…
Um… Let me just pause here for a moment to mention that this was not a very good plan. This scheme was even more harebrained than the guy who thought he was going to get Trump with a forklift.
Anyway, after Byck shot both of the pilots, he took a stewardess hostage and demanded that she fly the plane for him. Unfortunately, she didn’t know how to fly a passenger plane anymore than Samuel Byck did. By that time, the plane was surrounded by DC police.
In the early 1970s, plane hijackings were still a fairly new phenomenon. The DC police only had one protocol for situations in those days, so they started indiscriminately shooting at a plane full of passengers. Because the ‘70s were awesome!
Most of the cops had little .38 pistols which couldn’t penetrate the sides of the plane, so it didn’t turn into a total bloodbath. One of the cops had a .357 Magnum and a bullet from that gun did manage to penetrate into the plane. Through some miracle, the bullet missed all of the passengers and the hostage stewardess – and hit Byck in the neck, thus ending his presidential assassination attempt before it even “got off the ground.”
And second-generation German immigrant “Squeaky” Fromme – a member of the Manson family – tried to shoot Gerald Ford at point-blank range in 1975. Being an idiot, she forgot to rack the slide on her M1911 pistol to chamber a round first. She pulled the trigger four times – clickety-click pointlessly – before the Secret Service clobbered her. She spent 34 years in prison and was only released a couple of years after Ford passed away.
Every presidential assassin and would-be assassin prior to John Hinckley, Jr. was an immigrant or a second-generation immigrant. (If that fact blows your mind, wait until you learn about serial killers in America!) Hinckley has the distinction of being one of the first genuine Americans to try to assassinate an American president. Not that I think that means he should be allowed to walk around free and unsupervised. He creeps me out.
I watched a couple of his crappy songs on his YouTube channel. His tunes are kind of disturbing. I get the sense that Hinckley is still trying to impress Jodie Foster. (She was a child actress when Hinckley became obsessed with her; Hinckley shot Ronald Reagan to try to impress her.) I don’t have a good feeling about Hinckley being granted unsupervised release. At 66, he’s still young enough that he could hurt an innocent person.
Oh, and as President Trump has mentioned a few times… countries should always thoroughly vet immigrants before letting them in.