One thing I hate about the modern age is that we seem not to have consequences anymore.
It’s a sad state of affairs.
If we did, last summer maybe some of these crazy young anarchists who seem to have too much time on their hands wouldn’t feel empowered to riot in the streets and burn the businesses and homes of those who work for a living. But one area we should---no we must---have consequences is when it comes to menial things like trying to kill presidents and killing their staff.
Forty years ago, John Hinckley, Jr. tried to murder President Ronald Reagan to touch an actress. Hinckley’s bullets injured Reagan severely and several others, and Reagan himself nearly died from the ordeal. Hinckley was a disturbed young man who thought killing a head of state would impress actress Jodie Foster. Hinckley was arrested and finally incarcerated in a mental hospital when he should have gotten life in prison or even the electric chair.
But today, our non-consequentialist attitudes have reached even Hinckley’s situation. This past week, his lawyers said he plans to ask for a full pardon so that he could move from the gated community where he’s been living since he was outrageously discharged from his mental hospital back in 2016.
I’m sorry, but Hinckley should not be pardoned. Period.
On principle, even if he wasn’t a disturbed man, he tried to kill a sitting president. In most countries, trying to take out the head of state is usually treated as a serious crime. That used to be true here as well. But alas, the corrupt left once again want to undo a case that should have been closed the second Hinckley was first incarcerated.
Jim Brady---my friend---was horribly wounded in the head and suffered his entire life. When he died some years later, the coroner’s report said he was murdered which makes Hinckley a cold-blooded killer. Nothing more.
That fact is though, that Hinckley still is disturbed, psychotic. When he was first discharged in 2016 by a Clinton appointed liberal judge, the Secret Service affirmed that he was still obsessed with Jodie Foster. That was five years ago, and if Hinckley hadn’t been able to get over his fixation by 2016, I doubt the additional five years since then have changed anything.
What’s more there are no assurances that, even with careful supervision, Hinckley could be trusted to function in normal society. He’s been a sicko his entire life. Over the years various psychiatric experts involved with Hinckley have testified about his treatment. Hinckley has been increasingly allowed more freedoms, and it is said he has vastly improved since that fateful day in 1981. I doubt it. Be that as it may, the fact is that even with all the care and treatment he’s received in four decades, there’s no guarantee that something in the outside world wouldn’t set Hinckley off again. If it did, we’d only have our disregard for consequences to blame. The attempted assassination of Reagan has become a political football, nothing less. Liberals of course argue for his release, conveniently forgetting they argued for the incarceration of Sirhan Sirhan when he murdered Robert Kennedy.
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity when he shot Reagan (a travesty in of itself), but at least then he was confined to an institution where he could be safely supervised. But allowing him a full pardon would be the ultimate insult not only to Reagan, James Brady, and the others he wounded that fateful day, but it would also be a slap in the face to the very idea of consequences.
Detractors might say that if Reagan could forgive Hinckley, then surely we could give him this allowance. It’s certainly possible to forgive someone for doing a terrible thing, but that doesn’t mean the person should be excused of consequences. As the wise carpenter once said “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s,” and the judge reviewing this plea should consider that when dealing with Hinckley’s request.
Ronald Reagan assassin
Mental Hospital discharge
Not guilty by reason of insanity