Jodie Foster, Ronald Reagan and a Madman

(40th President Ronald Reagan)

Today in 1981, not long after taking office as President, Ronald Reagan was shot in an assassination attempt by gunman John Hinckley, Jr. Hinckley was trying to get the attention of Jodie Foster, whom he was obsessed with since her 1976 role in Taxi Driver.

 

 

Hinckley also shot three others: Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy, Washington D.C. police officer Thomas Delahanty and White House Press Secretary James Brady. Brady would be paralyzed from his gunshot wound to the head and would sadly die in 2014 from causes related to the 1981 shooting. 

 

 

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity, though the prosecution declared him legally sane. He was released in 2016 to live with his mother under court supervision.

 

 

Reagan, who was a staunch advocate of gun rights over gun control, did not cave on his views following the assassination attempt. However, 10 years later, his views seemed to change more in favor of gun control, when he endorsed the Brady Bill. Here's his quote endorsing the bill, named after the paralyzed Press Secretary:

"'Anniversary' is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot... four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special – a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol – purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance. This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now – the Brady bill – had been law back in 1981… If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land. And there would be a lot fewer families facing anniversaries such as the Bradys, Delahantys, McCarthys and Reagans face every March 30."