March 30th 1981: Reagan assassination attempt
On this day in 1981 at 2.27pm John Hinckley Jr. shot the President of the United States Ronald Reagan in the chest outside a hotel in Washington DC. The President was leaving the Washington Hilton after giving a speech when he and three others were shot by the gunman. Hinckley’s motivation was to impress the young actress Jodie Foster having seen her in the film ‘Taxi Driver’. When he opened fire on the day, he injured White House Press Secretary James Brady (who would later become an advocate of gun control and lend his name to the Brady Bill), police officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy who had spread himself over Reagan to take the bullet. Hinckley was apprehended and eventually found not guilty by reason of insanity and remains in a psychiatric facility. Reagan suffered a punctured lung and, despite coming very close to death, made a speedy recovery at the George Washington University Hospital. In the operating room, Reagan joked “I hope you are all Republicans”, to which the lead surgeon replied “Today, Mr President, we are all Republicans”. When the First Lady, Nancy Reagan, arrived Reagan remarked to her:
"Honey, I forgot to duck"