JOHN HINCKLEY JR. FOUND NOT GUILTY

38 years ago today John Hinckley Jr., was found not guilty of attempted murder—he tried to kill President Reagan—by reason of insanity.
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In June in 1982, John W. Hinckley, Jr., who on 30 March 1981 shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside a Washington, D.C., hotel, was found not guilty of attempted murder by reason of insanity. In the trial, Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that their client was ill with narcissistic personality disorder, citing medical evidence, & had a pathological obsession with the 1976 film Taxi Driver, in which the main character attempts to assassinate a fictional senator. His lawyers claimed that Hinckley had watched the movie more than a dozen times, was obsessed with the lead actress, Jodie Foster, and had attempted to reenact the events of the film in his own life.

The June 1982 verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity” aroused widespread public criticism, & many were shocked that a would-be presidential assassin could avoid being held accountable for his crime. However, because of his obvious threat to society, he was placed in St. Elizabeth’s Hospital, a mental institution. Beginning in August 1999, he was allowed supervised day trips off the hospital grounds and later was allowed to visit his parents once a week unsupervised. In 2018, he was fully released.

In popular culture, Ronald Reagan was often criticised due to social conservatism & right-wing evangelicalism. In 1981 British synth-poppers Heaven 17 released “(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang” & slammed Reagan (and also UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher) policies as tending towards racism & fascism. In 1982 Australian rock band Midnight Oil released anti-Reagan & anti-Republican song “US Forces”. In punk rock scene, Reagan is even more unpopular and got attack explicitly. D.R.I. released 42 brief seconds song “Reaganomics” in 1983. In the same year Suicidal Tendencies released “I Shot the Devil”—the song opens with lead singer screaming “I shot Reagan!”. While Canadian band D.O.A. released “Fucked Up Ronnie” in 1984.

The video here via NikiMadridista, Suicidal Tendencies performing “I Shot the Devil” in Sofia, Bulgaria, in June 2000.

• You might also like JELLO BIAFRA: POLITICO-PUNK 62.

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Text via History, Wikipedia, and Salon.

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Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.
Rudolf Dethu

Rudolf Dethu

Music journalist, writer, radio DJ, socio-political activist, creative industry leader, and a qualified librarian, Rudolf Dethu is heavily under the influence of the punk rock philosophy. Often tagged as this country’s version of Malcolm McLaren—or as Rolling Stone Indonesia put it ‘the grand master of music propaganda’—a name based on his successes when managing Bali’s two favourite bands, Superman Is Dead and Navicula, both who have become two of the nation’s biggest rock bands.

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