On March 30, 1981 in Washington DC, John Hinckley fired six bullets at President Ronald Reagan in an effort to impress the actress Jodie Foster. Reagan fully recovered but his press secretary, James Brady, who was also hit, lived the rest of his life in a wheelchair. The courts found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity. As soon as next week, Hinckley will be released from the mental hospital where relives to stay with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Virgina. From NPR:
Under the terms of the order, Hinckley is not allowed to contact his victims, their relatives or actress Jodie Foster, with whom he was obsessed. Hinckley also will not be permitted to "knowingly travel" to areas where the current president or members of Congress are present. The judge said Hinckley could be allowed to live on his own or in a group home after one year.
"Mr. Hinckley shall abide by all laws, shall not consume alcohol, illegal drugs... shall not possess any firearm, weapon, or ammunition and shall not be arrested for cause," Senior U.S. District Judge Paul Friedman ordered...
In a prepared statement, the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute said, "Contrary to the judge's decision, we believe John Hinckley is still a threat to others and we strongly oppose his release."
If you're searching for some uplifting bedtime reading, you might enjoy this e-book of a 1953 CIA report titled "A Study of Assassination," made public in 1997 as part of a Freedom of Information Act request. Here are a few choice nuggets:
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Assassination is a term thought to be derived from "Hashish", a drug similar to marijuana, said to have been used by Hasan-ibn-Sabah to induce motivation in his followers, who were assigned to carry out political and other murders, usually at the cost of their lives.
It is here used to describe the planned killing of a person who is not under the legal jurisdiction of the killer, who is not physically in the hands of the killer, who has been selected by a resistance organization for death, and who has been sele cted by a resistance organization for death, and whose death provides positive advantages to that organization....
The essential point of assassination is the death of the subject. A human being may be killed in many ways but sureness is often overlooked by those who may be emotionally unstrung by the seriousness of this act they intend to commit. The specific technique employed will depend upon a large number of variables, but should be constant in one point: Death must be absolutely certain. The attempt on Hitler’s life failed because the conspiracy did not give this matter proper attention...
It is possible to kill a man with the bare hands, but very few are skillful enough to do it well.
Marina Litvinenko, widow of Alexander Litvinenko (a British citizen who was assassinated in London by two former KGB agents who poisoned him with radioactive polonium) has accused the British government, Secretary of State William Hague, and PM David Cameron of sabotaging the coroner's inquest into her husband's death. Hague and Cameron intervened in the coroner's hearing to seal key evidence that implicated the Russian government in Litvinenko's killing.
Sir Robert Owen, who is leading the inquest and who has seen the material, characterised it as "documents that examined whether UK officials could have done more to prevent his murder." 's widow says that this is part of "a secret political deal with the Kremlin." This comes against a charm offensive by the UK government to increase Russian investment in Britain.
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The former Labour government severed all contacts with Russia's FSB spy agency in 2007 after concluding it had played a leading role in Litvinenko's assassination. Putin is the agency's former chief.
Mrs Litvinenko added: "This is a very sad day, a tragedy for British justice which has until now been respected around the world, and a frightening precedent for all of those who have been trying so hard to expose the crimes committed by a conspiracy of organised criminals who operate inside the Kremlin."
In his ruling (pdf), Owen said the inquest scheduled to take place later this year might now result in an "incomplete, misleading and unfair" verdict.
The coroner said he would consider inviting Theresa May, the home secretary, to hold a public inquiry instead.