Have you ever tried to get a girl’s attention? You do everything that you can think of just to get her to notice you, and if it wasn’t meant to be, it’s as if she hardly knows that you even exist. The only way that you can hope to stand a chance is if you come up with a clever plan. Well, if you happened to be a young actress named Jodie Foster, you probably already had a fair number of admirers in 1981. One of them, John Hinckley, Jr., was probably well aware of the competition he faced to receive her consideration. So, he came up with a simple and clever plan. He decided to assassinate the President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.
Hinckley was very clear about the romantic overtones of his actions, stating in a letter that he wrote to Foster a mere hour before he was to attempt the assassination: “Jodie, I would abandon the idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you, whether it be in total obscurity or whatever.”
Unfortunately for Hinckley, things did not work out the way he would have hoped. First of all, as we all know, Jodie Foster did not become Mrs. Jodie Hinckley, Jr. Secondly, John Hinckley, Jr. was quickly apprehended and put on trial. What he later claimed was that he had suffered from temporary insanity, which made him want to kill the President in order to impress Jodie Foster.
The President, though stunned by Hinckley’s actions, responded with affable charm when apologizing to his wife, Nancy, after the attempt on his life: “Honey, I forgot to duck.” He would go on to helm a presidency that was noted for its mellow optimism, even being warmly reelected for a second term.
And what was Jodie Foster’s response? (Bear in mind that she had even been contacted by Hinckley twice on the telephone, and had been stalked by him before the incident occurred.) Overnight, her attitude toward the celebrity-life was altered. In a 2005 article written by Mihaela Stroia, Entertainment Editor of Softpedia, Foster was quoted as saying, “I don’t really ever go into it, but the whole John Hinckley episode when I was 18 – something became terribly clear to me in a very short period of time.” That something? She realized in the midst of all of the media attention that “‘There’s a certain way of having my life as a celebrity, and I don’t want it. Whatever it takes, I’m going to not have that.'”
And whatever happened to Hinckley himself? He probably still wishes that Jodie Foster had only decided to give him a chance all those years ago. In April of 2000, he was granted the right to have unsupervised furloughs, but this right was taken away only a month later when guards found in his possession a book about Jodie Foster.
Sometimes it’s best to realize that if it wasn’t meant to be, it just wasn’t meant to be.