Hinckley Wants A Girlfriend
The following information comes from two articles in the Washington Post, here and here.
John Hinckley, Jr., the man who attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan and forever ruined the life of Press Secretary James Brady, wants to move on with his life and find a girlfriend:
"Presidential assailant John W. Hinckley Jr., who is petitioning the court for more freedom, is lonely and longing for a close relationship like the one he had for many years with a former psychiatric patient, a psychologist testified yesterday.What's that? He dumped deVeau because of scrutiny? I get it! He rejected her, not the other way around. Keep that in mind.
"'He wants to have a girlfriend. He wants intimate contact with a female,' Paul Montalbano, chief of pretrial services at St. Elizabeths, the Southeast Washington mental hospital, testified yesterday.
"The psychologist said such a desire is natural for a man who has ended a long relationship, as Hinckley did this year. Hinckley, 50, cut his ties to Leslie deVeau after the relationship came under scrutiny during hearings to decide whether he was ready for expanded freedoms."
Hinckley's past as it relates to the assassination attempt is well known:
"Hinckley was an aimless college dropout when he came to Washington and shot Reagan and three others in March 1981. On the day of the shootings, authorities found an unmailed letter to Foster in the hotel room where Hinckley was staying. 'Jodie,' the letter said, 'I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever.'...In the months before the shooting, Hinckley traveled 10 times to New Haven, Conn., where Foster was living, telephoned her dormitory room six times, left love letters for her and made tapes of himself playing the guitar and singing love songs."Significantly attenuated" sounds like jargon designed to avoid legal liability. "Significant" might mean that Hinckley can now control his obsessions, or it might mean that he can control those obsessions only until they are challenged by real-world rejection. I see lots of hedging and ambiguity in those words "significantly attentuated." And doesn't "remission" mean that his mental illness can recur?
"Hinckley has been found to suffer from major depression, a psychotic disorder and narcissistic personality disorder, but he is by all accounts much improved. His depression and psychosis are in remission, and the narcissistic disorder is significantly 'attenuated,' doctors say."
In the past few years, Hinckley has been allowed excursions limited to the Washington area. Some of these excursions have occurred in the company of hospital chaperones, but the more recent ones have been in the company of only the Secret Service. Now Hinckley is petitioning the court for overnight visits to his parents' home in Williamsburg, and one of those proposed visits would comprise a full week.
Here is the matter which now faces the court, which may rule as early as October 14:
"But how ready is Hinckley to venture a bit more into the real world and into the ups and downs of romance and rejection? It was the question on everyone's mind during three days of hearings last week in the courtroom of U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, who has overseen the case since 2001....The man likes to sing to women, and according to the psychologist, romance isn't the reason he is singing to women. Somehow, this singing to women strikes me as odd. It was also an earlier manifestation of his obsession with Jody Foster.
"Each side offered a parade of expert testimony. The assessments were often conflicting, depending on whether the witness was called by the defense or the prosecution. There was little middle ground. The experts ceded little -- or, in the case of Hinckley's therapist -- nothing to the other side.
"There was nothing romantic, psychologist Sidney Binks insisted, in Hinckley's interest in the psychology student who interned at the hospital last year. Yes, he offered to sing to her and, yes, he walked her to her car on occasion. But she was not the only woman he had wanted to sing for, nor was she the only staff member he escorted to the parking lot, Binks said."
"On the hearing's first day, the questions and answers centered on how Hinckley handled his breakup with deVeau and how he has acted toward women since then. Hinckley met deVeau when both were confined at St. Elizabeths. She was found not guilty by reason of insanity in the 1982 shooting death of her 10-year-old daughter and was released from the hospital eight years later.Regarding the above-mentioned intern, Hinckley full well knew that patient liaisons with hospital personnel are expressly forbidden. And he full well knew that the hospital chaplain was part of the personnel of St. Elizabeth's. Yet, he attempted to make contact anyway. Now, did he cancel the appointment because he realized that keeping it might have a negative effect on his upcoming hearings? Remember that he also broke off his relationship with deVeau because the relationship had come under scrutiny. I don't see that Hinckley has had any experience with rejection by a member of the opposite sex. How will he react if he experiences real and painful rejection?
"Saddened by the breakup, Hinckley did not spiral into depression, Montalbano testified. His longing for a new female companion has been obvious to those who treat him, the psychologist said.
"The intern was apparently not his only romantic interest. Smitten with a hospital chaplain, he scheduled an appointment with her. But when asked about it by his doctors, Hinckley admitted that the appointment was mostly a chance to see a 'pretty lady' and agreed to cancel it, Montalbano said."
According to one of the Washington Post articles,
"Hinckley is seeking more freedom....And, according to testimony, he wants to meet women, perhaps at singles events, and maybe even find a wife."Aha! There is more to this requested release. And Hinckley even has some plans as to how to start his contact with the opposite sex out in free society. But just how much does he know about such relationships? As far as I know, he never had a girlfriend other than a perceived one in Jody Foster and in fellow-patient deVeau, whom he dumped.
And some cautionary words appear from St. Elizabeth's:
"Montalbano also said that given the scrutiny such a partner would endure, Hinckley may face a hard road to romance: 'Mr. Hinckley remains optimistic, but perhaps naively optimistic.'"Yes, I rather imagine that scrutiny by the Secret Service or even on the part of Hinckley's parents could well be off-putting for a potential girlfriend. Then again, some women seem to prefer getting involved with men who have a shady past.
Is John Hinckley, Jr., really well--or just pretending to be well so that he can achieve his goal? And what, exactly, is his goal?
Something in my memory nags at me, but I don't find it in the recent articles. Didn't Hinckley, while under treatment in the hospital, secretly amass some sort of Jody-Foster collection? And wasn't that collection discovered after the psychiatrists said that he was well enough for partial release? That faint recollection is one reason I question his doctors' assurances even though I know that recent partial releases have been uneventful. And I've heard no more of any collections.
Nevertheless, Hinckley's singing to women and following those forbidden employees to their cars seem akin to stalking. And he made tapes of himself singing love songs to Jody Foster, too.
I hope my suspicions are wrong.