As the news spread Monday morning that John Hinckley Jr. would likely be granted unconditional release from supervision next June, there was widespread reaction and commentary over the gunman who nearly took the life of newly inaugurated President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981.
But one person especially close to the situation believes Reagan, who died in 2004, would have supported the release of Hinckley — now 66 and, since his release from St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington, living in the Williamsburg, Virginia, home of his mother. She died last year at age 95.
''My father would approve of his complete release, as he forgave him years ago,'' said Michael Reagan, the oldest of the 40th president's three living children.
Reagan, an author and radio and TV commentator, told Newsmax that ''like Pope John Paul II, my father lived the Lord's Prayer''— a reference to its words ''forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us.''
John Paul, who was severely wounded by gunman Mehmet Ali Agca on May 13, 1981, in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City, recovered after losing three-fourths of his blood.
On Dec. 27, 1983, he visited Ali Agca in prison, forgave him, and embraced his assailant. Never disclosing their conversation, the pontiff later said: ''I spoke to him as a brother, whom I have pardoned and who has my complete trust."
Reagan survived the bullet fired from Hinckley's pistol, and Secret Service agents Tom Delahanty and Tim McCarthy recovered from their bullet wounds. Press secretary Jim Brady was also wounded by Hinckley and remained incapacitated for the rest of his life. He died in 2014.
While president, Reagan often said he prayed for Hinckley.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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