During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Hinckley began purchasing weapons and practicing with them. He was prescribed anti-depressants and tranquilizers to deal with emotional issues. Despite psychiatric treatment for depression, his mental health did not improve. He began to target the newly elected president Ronald Reagan in 1981. To this purpose, he collected material on the assassination of John F. Kennedy by Lee Harvey Oswald, whom he saw as a role model.
Around 1987, Hinckley applied for a court order allowing him periodic home visits. As part of the consideration of the request, the judge ordered Hinckley’s hospital room searched. Hospital officials found photographs and letters in Hinckley’s room that showed a continued obsession with Foster, as well as evidence that Hinckley had exchanged letters with serial killer Ted Bundy and sought the address of mass murderer Charles Manson. The court denied Hinckley’s request for additional privileges.
Over the past seven months I’ve left you dozens of poems, letters and love messages in the faint hope that you could develop an interest in me. Although we talked on the phone a couple of times I never had the nerve to simply approach you and introduce myself…. The reason I’m going ahead with this attempt now is because I cannot wait any longer to impress you.