Spot­light

Cecil Whig - - ACCENT -

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.

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