The tragic obsession that almost changed history: the Reagan assassination attempt.

reagan assassination 1

Thirty-three years ago today, on March 30, 1981, mad gunman John Hinckley shot President Ronald Reagan and several others outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Reagan and his press secretary James Brady were the most seriously wounded but two Secret Service officers were also injured. Brady was disabled for life. Reagan recovered–much more slowly, in fact, than press reports and some historical accounts record–and went on to serve two full terms. The 1981 incident was the last up-close-and-personal Presidential assassination attempt in U.S. history, meaning, the last one where the would-be assassin was face to face with his target, and the last assassination attempt with a reasonable chance of success.

Hinckley, a 25-year-old ne’er-do-well from Texas, was mentally ill. He became obsessed with the 1976 Martin Scorsese film Taxi Driver, strongly identifying with the antihero, Travis Bickle, played by Robert DeNiro. In the movie Bickle becomes infatuated with…

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