March 30 - 1981 - The Attempted Assassination of Ronald Reagan
John Hinckley, Jr. was not an assassin because the shots he fired at President Ronald Reagan missed. From a point blank range, he did manage to hit Reagan in the side, puncturing a lung, and severely injured White House Press Secretary James Brady and two law enforcement officers. Yet, ultimately, no one died, and Hinckley was captured instantly. Then it became clear that Hinckley was not just crazy enough to shoot the President, but severely mentally ill. Specifically, Hinckley was obsessed with the actress Jodie Foster, to the point of having moved to New Haven, Connecticut so he could stalk Foster while she attended Yale University. After not being able to directly confront her and leaving her bizarre letters, Hinckley decides his one option is to shoot the President. The aftermath of the attempted assassination had a few peculiar details. First, while Ronald Reagan was in surgery, it was unclear who exactly was in charge of the operation of the government. Second, the injury to James Brady led to great changes in the discussion of gun control. Finally, Hinckley being found Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity changed the laws surrounding such a verdict around the country.