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Criminology Project: John Hinckley Jr. Essay

1349 words - 6 pages

Some may ask themselves, “Who is John Hinckley Jr.?” For most people, they know him as being the man who tried to assassinate former President Ronald Reagan. But why did John feel the need to kill the president and what drove him to do it. While doing the research to answer those questions into why the crime was committed, some information and fact were brought up to the surface that is quite disturbing.
To begin, John grew up in a pretty normal household as a privileged child. He had a father, John Hinckley Sr., who devoted to his family, a mother, and two other siblings. Hinckley Sr., his father, formed Vanderbilt Energy Corp. as a publicly owned, independent oil and gas exploration company with operations from south Texas to Canada. In 1983, he sold Vanderbilt Energy Corp. and retired from the oil business. Soon after, he founded the American Mental Health Fund to raise public awareness of the prevalence and warning signs of mental illness and to erase its terrible stigma (Vaughan).
Growing up, Hinckley Jr. had always seemed like he was going to grow up as a popular kid; he was involved with many sports, which he was a quarterback and also played basketball, and even became class president for a few years. But as John got older, he started to stray away from society and began to stay to himself. His family liked to think of it as him just being shy instead of lacking in social interaction (Linder). As a teenager, John Hinckley Jr. was always fascinated with celebrities. So in 1976 after leaving Texas Tech, where he went to college and would return never receiving a degree after the seven years he was in and out, Hinckley Jr. left his home in Colorado for Hollywood to fulfill his dream as a songwriter ("Biography: John Hinckley, Jr.").
While spending his time in Hollywood, Hinckley Jr. had gone to see a movie that came out in 1976 called Taxi Driver. The movie is about a man named Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro, who is alienated from society as a taxi driver and tries to seek attention from a girl named Betsy. The only way that Travis feels he can receive the attention is by assassinating the presidential candidate that Betsy is working for. Unfortunately for Bickle, he is never able to get close enough to get to the candidate. After his plan completely fails, Bickle then begins to form an interest in saving a young 12-year-old prostitute by the name of Iris, played by Jodie Foster. In order to save her, Travis goes to the hotel that Iris works at and shoots her ‘pimp’ and murders him along with the hotel manager and the client of Iris. After seeing this film, Hinckley Jr. starts to form an obsession for Jodie Foster. He also began to believe that he saw himself in Travis Bickle. Hinckley Jr. was so infatuated with Taxi Driver that he saw the movie a total of fifteen times. He felt that in order to win Jodie Foster over, and to get her to even know he existed, was to assassinate the president of the United States. This would be...

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