John Hinckley, Jr.'s Other Targets

President Ronald Reagan waves to onlookers moments before an assassination attempt by John Hinckley, Jr. on March 30, 1981. (The White House/Getty Images)

John Hinckley, Jr. is remembered as the man who shot President Ronald Reagan to impress then-20-year-old actress Jodie Foster, but his target made little difference to him. All that mattered was that he'd fallen in love with Foster after watching the 1976 Martin Scorsese classic Taxi Driver (in which, it should be noted, Foster was only 12 years old) dozens of times, but his letters to her had gone unanswered, so he'd resolved to get her attention just like Robert De Niro's character, with whom he identified, by assassinating a high-profile politician.

Considering Carter

First, Hinckley set his sights on Jimmy Carter, who was president of the United States at the time Hinckley started making his plans in fall 1980. Armed with two revolvers, Hinckley flew to Washington, D.C. and posted up in a hotel room just blocks from the White House, but Carter was on the reelection campaign trail, so Hinckley hopped a bus to meet him in Dayton, Ohio on October 2. After Carter finished his speech and descended into the crowd to shake hands with his supporters, Hinckley found himself just a few feet from the president, but Dayton was just a test run to see how close he could get. Satisfied with his experiment, he set off for Nashville, where Carter was scheduled to speak at the Grand Ole Opry on October 9, but the would-be gunman got cold feet. On the way back to Washington, he was arrested at the Nashville airport after security found his guns, but he got off with only a $62.50 fine. Had airport security opened Hinckley's journal, which was in his suitcase next to his guns, they would have learned about his plans to shoot Carter.