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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

No, no, do not let him go

Should John Hinckley be released from psychiatric custody? As Ed Morrissey points out, he is already mostly out. He stays with his mother in a gated community for 17 days every month. Now his lawyer, Barry Levine, say he has been in "full and stable remission for more than two decades" and is "clinically ready" to live full-time outside a mentl hospital:

Levine has argued that living fulltime with his elderly mother while she’s still alive will enable Hinckley to show the world he’s no longer a threat. Levine and hospital officials are asking that Hinckley be granted “convalescent leave,” living full time on the outside but still meeting regularly with a psychiatrist and therapists.

If this were any other murder attempt, I think we could have all those arguments about mental illness and whether or not he is still dangerous and poses a threat. But this wasn't just any crime. He tried to kill the sitting president of the United States! That made it not just an assault of a politician but an attack on the whole country. Never let the guy out and, furthermore, cancel the leaves he's already getting. The knowledge that a would-be presidential assassin walks the streets and "goes to movies and the bookstore, shopping and eating out like anyone else" is galling.

Besides, I think it could be argued that prosecutors erred when they decided not to prosecute Hinckley for murder in the death of James Brady, despite the fact that a medical examiner decided his death at 73 was a direct result of the bullet fired into his head 34 years ago.