- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Is John Hinckley “cured”? Who’s going to take the weight for killing James Brady?

Did Freddie Gray Jr. kill himself? Should anybody take the weight for his death?

With the Democratic Party’s ongoing kumbaya moment in Philadelphia sucking the wind out of front page-worthy news, this is as good a time as any to note two national criminal justice stories.

First, though, the questions posed in this context.

In Baltimore in April 2015, a young man named Freddie Gray Jr. was arrested, and in Washington in March 1981, a man was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. In the former case, Gray died following injuries in the hands of police, and six police officers were charged with his death. Baltimore State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Wednesday that all criminal charges against all six officers have been dropped. Her actions mean none of those officers will apparently face criminal justice scrutiny.

The other case, which is ongoing, involved in the killing of James Brady, he of the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, which Congress passed and then-President Clinton signed into law in 1993, and both pro-gun rights and advocates of gun control are familiar with: the Brady Campaign to Prevent Violence. Injured by the first of six bullets fired by John Warnock Hinckley Jr. that fateful day of March 30, 1981, Brady never regained his full faculties from the shooting, which also injured then-President Ronald Reagan, a Secret Service officer and a D.C. police officer. A federal D.C. jury subsequently found Hinckley not guilty by reason of insanity, and the now-61-year-old has spent most of his life since then confined to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital for the mental ill.

Hinckley’s attorneys, however, have always pressed for his release, and a judge has finally agreed. So the very man who tried to assassinate a president and shot two law enforcement officers could become a free man. The very man who left Brady unable to fully recover from the wounds left by .22-caliber Rohm RG-14 revolver and died of his gunshot wound could become a free man next week.

There are several strings attached to Hinckley’s pending release. However, regardless of the strings attached to the judge’s rulings, the impression is that medication and confinement have rendered Hinckley “cured.” If that is indeed the combination that neutralized Hinckley’s insanity, then the D.C. government should patent the formula and begin handing it out — free of charge.

Baltimore should be first in line. Like the Obama Justice Department’s gun-funneling scheme, Baltimore prosecutors’ too-fast moves to find justice for Gray, and Mrs. Mosby’s too-furious explanation on Wednesday, backfired. At a morning press conference, she blamed everybody but the woman in the mirror. And she was angry (political aspirations, sigh).

Federal prosecutors, meanwhile, need to rethink why in the world they think Mr. Hinckley should roam freely. Just because he’s “cured” of insanity doesn’t render him “harmless.”

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