Debating Hinckley's Privileges - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

9/4/03

Debating Hinckley's Privileges

John W. Hinckley Jr., Texas Tech's most infamous non-graduate. Last on campus roughly 25 years ago, today (September 4th), virtually no one recognizes his photo, many, not even his name. His professors have either retired, moved away, or died. A former classmate, who declined to appear on camera, described him as "a nice guy."

Confined to a mental institution for the past 22 years, Hinckley wants freedom; even if it's just unsupervised visits with his parents. But what type of privileges does the person who attempted to assassinate the President of the United States deserve?

"You can't try to assassinate the president, that's crazy," said sophomore Melody Dean. While nearly everyone agreed that trying to kill the President was insane..."Well, yeah, anybody who tries to assassinate the President is nuts!," said Chip Hemby. Of nearly 20 people interviewed, almost half said Hinckley deserved a second chance.

"22 years is a long time to be put away, I'm sure if you asked Ronald Reagan he'd say it's not long enough, but I think everyone deserves a second chance," said Liz Hardwick. Unsupervised visits to see Mom and Dad were ok. "If the physicians watching him think it's ok, then yes," said Chris Cain.

But the other half? "Unsupervised visits?! No way, they should be supervised," said Dean. Hinckley is getting what he deserves. "You should be put in prison for life," said Sarah Cook. "I think he should be punished more for trying to kill the President," said Kathleen Pearson.

Hinckley will hear what a judge has to say in early November.

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