On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was shot in the chest outside a Washington, D. C.
The president had just finished addressing a labor meeting at the Washington Hilton Hotel and was walking to his limousine when John Hinckley Jr. fired six shots. The president was shot in the left lung, and the .22 caliber bullet just missed his heart. However, at first Reagan was apparently unaware he’d been shot. He remained in good spirits and even addressed his surgeons: “Please tell me you’re Republicans.”
The next day, the president resumed some of his executive duties. Two of the other victims eventually recovered. White House Press Secretary James Brady, who nearly died after being shot in the eye, suffered permanent brain damage. He later became an advocate of gun control.
Hinckley was booked on federal charges of at- tempting to assassinate the president. After receiving a verdict of “not guilty by reason of insanity,” he was placed in a mental institution.
March 31 turned out to be an important release date for a variety of media. In 1836, the first installment of “The Pickwick Papers,” Charles Dickens’ first novel, was released. In 1943, ” Oklahoma!” premiered on Broadway. And in 1999, ” The Matrix” was released into movie theaters.