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Forgotten Coverage of the
Reagan Assassination Attempt

Neil Bush, John Hinckley, and the Reagan Assasination Attempt

Bush Son Had Dinner Plans With Hinckley Brother Before Shooting 
The Associated Press Domestic News
March 31, 1981, Tuesday, PM cycle

John Hinckley, brother of Neil Bush's scheduled dinner date
John Hinckley

HOUSTON
The family of the man charged with trying to assassinate President Reagan is acquainted with the family of Vice President George Bush and had made large contributions to his political campaign, the Houston Post reported today.

Scott Hinckley, brother of John W. Hinckley Jr., who allegedly shot Reagan, was to have dined tonight in Denver at the home of Neil Bush, one of the vice president's sons.

Neil Bush, the President's Brother
Neil Bush

The newspaper said in a copyright story, Scott Hinckley, brother of John W. Hinckley Jr., who allegedly shot Reagan, was to have dined tonight in Denver at the home of Neil Bush, one of the vice president's sons.

The newspaper said it was unable to reach Scott Hinckley, vice president of his father's Denver-based firm, Vanderbilt Energy Corp., for comment. Neil Bush lives in Denver, where he works for Standard Oil Co. of Indiana.

In 1978, Neil served as campaign manager for his brother, George W. Bush, the vice president's oldest son, who made an unsuccessful bid for Congress. Neil lived in Lubbock throughout much of 1978, where John Hinckley lived from 1974 through 1980.

On Monday, Neil Bush said he did not know if he had ever met 25-year-old John Hinckley.

 

From what I know and I've heard, they (the Hinckleys) are a very nice family and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign."
SHARON BUSH
"I have no idea," he said. "I don't recognize any pictures of him. I just wish I could see a better picture of him.

Sharon Bush, Neil's wife, said Scott Hinckley was coming to their house as a date of a girl friend of hers.  "I don't even know the brother. From what I know and I've heard, they (the Hinckleys) are a very nice family and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign. I understand he was just the renegade brother in the family. They must feel awful," she said.

The dinner was canceled, she added.

George W. Bush said he was unsure whether he had met John W. Hinckley.

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Report Links Suspect with Bushes

U.P.I. 
March 31, 1981, Tuesday, PM cycle

DENVER
N eil Bush, son of Vice President George Bush, is part of Denver's booming oil business scene so it was not unusual his path would cross that of Scott Hinckley, the older brother of the man who shot President Reagan.

Young George Bush did not recall meeting the suspect.... ''It's certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to him,'' he said. ''I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing they had on TV and the name doesn't ring any bells."
The younger Bush, a ''land man'' for the Amoco Oil Co. in Denver, told the Houston Post in a copyright story published today he and Scott Hinckley were to have had dinner together tonight. The dinner party at Neil and Sharon Bush's modest one-story home in southeast Denver was canceled.

Scott Hinckley, vice president of Vanderbuilt Energy Co., the independent oil and gas exploration firm founded by his father in Texas and moved to Denver in 1974, was secluded with his parents at the home of a neighbor and not available for comment on his acquaintance with Bush.

Bush, whose job involves preliminary negotiations between Amoco and various owners of land for prospective oil and gas wells, also could not be reached.

Amoco spokesman R.N. Murphy said hundreds of independent energy companies were moving to Denver in anticipation of the oil shale and coal development boom on Colorado's Western Slope.

 

''It is not unusual for companies to enter into a joint drilling venture but to my knowledge there are no partnerships between Amoco and Vanderbuilt Energy,'' said Murphy. ''I have contacts with all the major companies but I had never heard of Hinckley until yesterday.

Bush told the Post he knew the Hinckley family because they had made large contributions to the vice president's campaign. He said he could not recall meeting John Hinckley Jr., who shot President Reagan and three other men as they exited the Washington Hilton Hotel Monday.

''I don't recognize any pictures of him,'' Bush said. ''I just wish I could see a better picture of him.''

Sharon Bush said she did not know the suspect.

''They (the Hinckleys) are a nice family ... and have given a lot of money to the Bush campaign,'' she said. ''I understand he (John Hinckley) was just the renegade brother in the family. They must feel awful.''

Another of the vice president's sons, George W. Bush, lived in Lubbock in 1978 and ran unsuccessfully for Congress. Police have said John Hinckley Jr. lived in Lubbock at that time and once attended Texas Tech University.

Young George Bush did not recall meeting the suspect.

''It's certainly conceivable that I met him or might have been introduced to him,'' he said. ''I don't recognize his face from the brief, kind of distorted thing they had on TV and the name doesn't ring any bells.

''I know he wasn't on our staff. I could check our volunteer rolls.''

Peter Teeley, the vice president's news secretary, said by telephone from Washington he knew nothing about any Hinckley-Bush family connection.

''I don't know a damned thing about it,'' Teeley told a Post reporter. ''I was talking to someone earlier tonight and I couldn't even remember his (Hinckley's) name. All I know is what you're telling me.''


Family 'Destroyed' By Assassination Attempt
By JOHN MOSSMAN
The Associated Press. April 1, 1981, Wednesday, PM cycle

EVERGREEN, Colo.
The parents of John W. Hinckley Jr., "just destroyed" by their son's alleged assassination attempt on President Reagan, hope to see him "as soon as possible" but have no definite travel plans, their attorney says.

 

The father's move [temporarily relinquishing his duties as chairman of Vanderbilt Energy Corp.] came amid confirmation that the Department of Energy was reviewing Vanderbilt's books. Jack Vandenberg, a DOE spokesman in Washington, said auditors met with Scott Hinckley in Denver on Monday
John Hinckley Sr. and his wife, Joanne, stayed at their next-door neighbors' house all day Tuesday as 70 reporters assembled on the front lawn and gawkers drove slowly past.

A statement released by counsel for Vanderbilt Energy Corp. said the elder Hinckley had "temporarily relinquished his duties" as chairman of the Denver-based firm "because of a tragedy involving a member of his family."

John Hinckley Jr., 25, who was arrested seconds after Reagan was shot in Washington, was being held Tuesday at a Marine base in Quantico, Va.

The corporate statement did not mention any change for Scott B. Hinckley, vice president of operations for Vanderbilt and brother of John Jr.

The father's move came amid confirmation that the Department of Energy was reviewing Vanderbilt's books. Jack Vandenberg, a DOE spokesman in Washington, said auditors met with Scott Hinckley in Denver on Monday.

The Washington Star quoted an unnamed "White House official" as confirming that DOE auditors asked for an explanation of an overcharge when oil price controls were in effect between 1973 and 1981. The Star said DOE auditors told Scott Hinckley there was a possible penalty of $2 million for the overcharge.

 

The Hinckleys, through attorney James Robinson, issued a brief statement Tuesday expressing their "deep concern" for President Reagan and all those involved in Monday's shooting, including their son, John.

Robinson said the Hinckleys had spoken by telephone to their son Monday night and Tuesday afternoon and were trying to hire a Washington lawyer for him. It was confirmed later in Washington that the Hinckleys had retained the law firm of millionaire defense attorney Edward Bennett Williams.

The Hinckleys said they planned to see their son "as soon as possible, but at this time they have no definite travel plans worked out," Robinson said.

They sent "personal expressions of sorrow" to the wounded men and their families, he said.

The Hinckley's reiterated through Robinson that they have provided psychiatric care for their son in the past, adding that "recent evaluations alerted no one to the seriousness of his condition."

William Sells, the Hinckleys' next-door neighbor and in whose home the couple was staying Tuesday, said the couple was "just destroyed" by their son's arrest and the attempt made on Reagan's life.

In Washington, an aide to Vice President George Bush disputed a Houston Post report that the Hinckleys made large contributions to Bush's presidential campaign. The aide, Shirley Green, said no record of such a contribution could be found.

The Houston newspaper also reported that Scott Hinckley was to have dined Tuesday night in Denver at the home of Neil Bush, one of the vice president's sons.

Neil Bush's wife Sharon said Scott Hinckley was coming to their house as the date of one of her girlfriends.

"I don't even know the brother," she said. "I understand he was just the renegade brother in the family. They must feel awful."

The FBI investigated a bomb threat directed against the Hinckleys on Tuesday, but nothing came of it.

The senior Hinckley is described by associates as a devout Christian who belonged to a weekly Bible reading club and recently did work in Africa for a Christian service organization.


Clements Criticizes Shooting Coverage

By FRANK COOK
United Press International
March 31, 1981, Tuesday, AM cycle

FORT WORTH, Texas
Gov. Bill Clements Tuesday criticized reporters for concentrating on Texas links to various assassination attempts, including the attempt on President Reagan, saying if newspeople continued to link the state to would-be killers the state's reputation would be seriously damaged.

 

''This hasn't got anything to do with Texas, but if the news media works on it long it long enough it could hurt the state.'
GOV. BILL CLEMENTS
Clements talked with reporters briefly after addressing the Southwest Cattle Raisers Association Convention.

Although the governor lives in Highland Park and is involved in the oil business, he said he did not know the family of accused assassin John W. Hinckley Jr., 25, previously of Highland Park, whose father is president of Vanderbilt Energy Corp. of Denver.

Clements said he felt ''horrible'' when he heard Hinckley was from Texas, the same state in which Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John Kennedy in 1963 and where Mark Chapman, killer of former Beatle John Lennon, was born.

''This hasn't got anything to do with Texas, but if the news media works on it long it long enough it could hurt the state,'' Clements said.

''People in public office always run a risk of this sort of thing. There will always be unstable people, and this young man (Hinckley) was unstable.''

Clements said he had not increased his personal security since the assassination attempt Monday in Washington and said he and others in public life accepted the possiblity of having attempts made on their lives as a part of public service.

''Anyone in public life, be it the mayor of Fort Worth, city councilmen or the governor, has to expect there is a certain risk there,'' he said. ''It's just part of it.''

Despite the assassination attempt in which a ''Saturday night special'' was used, Clements said he still opposed strict handgun controls.

''Guns have to be registered in Texas now,'' he said. ''I'm not sure it would help. People will be able to get guns.''

Clements was with Vice President George Bush on Bush's aircraft in Austin a short time after the assassination attempt on Reagan, but would not characterize Bush's mood at the time.

He also said he received a call from the White House Monday night but did not say who he received the call from or what was discussed.

Clements did say, however, the caller said Reagan was ''doing fine.''

The governor did not comment on the assassination attempt during his address to the cattlemen, more than 2,500 of whom are attending the convention.

Bush addressed the convention Monday morning just minutes before Reagan was shot. Air Force Two carrying Bush went to Austin where the vice president met with Clements before returning to Washington.


New novel questions probe of Reagan shooting

By THERESA WALLA
U.P.I. 
March 9, 1985, Saturday, BC cycle

HELENA, Mont.
Journalism professor Nathaniel Blumberg was so disturbed about the investigation into the attempted assassination of President Reagan that he turned his suspicions into a 377-page novel.

Hinckley's brother was scheduled to have supper with Bush's son the day after the assassination attempt, which struck Blumberg as ''the most remarkable assassination coincidence in the history of this country.''
His concerns were not answered during three years of probing into the strange circumstances surrounding the 1981 shooting of Reagan by John Hinckley Jr.

In his self-published novel, ''The Afternoon of March 30,'' Blumberg blends fact and fiction in looking at the unreported ''connections'' between Hinckley's family and that of Vice President George Bush, the man who came within a heartbeat of the presidency of the United States.

''What I'm really after is the case to be officially reopened,'' said the Rhodes scholar and former dean of the University of Montana journalism school. ''If they can answer all the questions satisfactorily, I'll be delighted,'' he said in an interview. ''In truth, I don't think all the questions can be answered without opening up a whole new can of worms.''

Blumberg's unease is now focused on the indifference shown to what he calls ''the story behind the story.''

Bush, he said, has questions to answer in connection with the attempt. So do the FBI and the judge who presided over Hinckley's trial, according to Blumberg.

''I'm not saying there was a conspiracy to assassinate Reagan,'' Blumberg emphasized. ''I'm saying there was a conspiracy to keep significant information from the public that it has a right to know.''

Blumberg asks his readers to consider his contentions that:

-- Hinckley's brother was scheduled to have supper with Bush's son the day after the assassination attempt, which struck Blumberg as ''the most remarkable assassination coincidence in the history of this country.''

-- The friendship between the Hinckley and Bush families goes back more than a decade to their shared conquest of the oilfields of Texas.

 

 

 

 

-- The Hinckley oil company was warned, just hours before the shooting, that it faced a $2-million fine for overpricing oil. The possible charges were never mentioned after Hinckley's attempt.

-- The widely accepted official story that Hinckley was trying to get the attention of actress Jodie Foster was based entirely on a letter that Hinckley was said to have written, but which the public and the media never saw.

Blumberg's book attempts to documents those assertions and blasts the nation's journalists for sloth and neglect. He said journalists were fed a barely believable story full of inconsistencies.

''And the press had submitted to this in a way I find unprecedented,'' he said.

But Blumberg, a long-time media critic, decided the example warranted more than a critique of press performance in a crisis. Such efforts, he said, usually ''go out there and die.''

Instead, he chose to weave his questions into a novel so it would reach a broader audience and allow him to probe problems in society and corruption in government, as well as maladies of the U.S. press.

The book chronicles the adventures of a fictitious Montana newsman who follows the information trail deserted by the national media.

His documentation is put in the form of an article the fictitious hero is writing.

The professor was living in semi-retirement at his home on the shores of Flathead Lake, near Bigfork, Mont., when he was jarred by a newscast that mentioned the planned supper between Scott Hinckley and Neil Bush.

That sparked an intense interest which has grown into an admitted obsession with the assassination attempt.

''So I began looking into it and checking all the papers and right away all sorts of things began cropping up,'' he said.

The press, according to Blumberg, underreported anything but the official story of the assassination.

He looks skeptically at the theory that Hinckley shot Reagan to impress Foster, who starred in a movie revolving around a similar plot - ''Taxi Driver.''

The novel has been criticized for Blumberg's inexperienced prose style, but praised for its research. However, he has been stung by suggestions that he is crazy or a ''conspiracy nut.''

Blumberg published the book on his own Wood Fire Ashes press to ''retain total control over the quality.''

''Have you ever heard an author say what a great job his publisher did with a book?'' he asks. But, without a commercial advertising campaign, he's had to market the book in an ''organic, straightforward fashion.''

Blumberg says he mails out several copies of the novel each week and expects it to ''stay alive as long as people continue to care about justice.''

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