After John Hinckley Jr. received a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity for shooting Ronald Reagan more than three decades ago, Reagan daughter Patti Davis recalls Dan Rather explaining on CBS News that Hinckley could well become a free man some day. Well, "some day" has arrived—Hinckley will be allowed to leave his mental hospital and live full-time with his mother—and Davis is not in a forgiving mood toward the man who almost killed her father. "I remember getting chilled when I heard Rather’s commentary all those years ago," writes Davis in the Washington Post. "Something in me knew he was right even though everything in me hoped he was wrong. I’m not surprised by this latest development, but my heart is sickened."
Hinckley and his legal team essentially wore down the system over time, writes Davis, working to get his freedom incrementally increased through the years. If public outcry arose, they backed off, waited it out, and tried again. Now Hinckley is about to go free. But this is still the same man, she writes, who shot an American president and three others, tried to correspond with Charles Manson and Ted Bundy while hospitalized, and had girlfriends including Leslie deVeau, who murdered her own daughter. Davis recalls his attorney, Barry Levine, telling her years ago that she should forgive Hinckley: "The pope forgave the man who shot him," he said. Her response: "That's why he's the pope and I'm not." Click to read her full opinion.