Hinckley’s request might ‘stigmatize’ the rest of society

John Hinckley Jr. shot then-President Ronald Reagan in 1981. The attack nearly killed Reagan. His press secretary, James Brady, was left with permanent brain injury.

Hinckley pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity and has spent most of the ensuing years under compulsory treatment at a mental hospital. Now his lawyer and doctors want him to be released with minimal conditions. Even an ankle monitoring bracelet would “stigmatize” Hinckley, a doctor said.

Let us hope a federal judge hearing Hinckley’s request for release bears a few things in mind:

* Hinckley has been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder. He is not cured of it; his doctors say it is “diminished.”

* He has been caught misleading psychiatrists. At one point he wrote his doctors would “never know the true John Hinckley.”

* His psychiatrists still want Hinckley to be required to attend weekly sessions with them. Why, if he is no longer a threat?

* Hinckley already spends half his time outside the hospital, monitored only loosely.

* Giving him what would amount to full freedom sends a terrible message to other deranged, would-be assassins: If you try to kill the president, there will be no real punishment. In the end, you may be set free.

What rational person would risk decades in a mental hospital, you ask?

Rational people do not commit acts such as Hinckley did in shooting a president. The judge should deny his request.