One of Ronald Reagan's many acts of magnanimity that has not been mentioned this week was his wish to pardon John W. Hinckley Jr.

In early 1983 Mr. Reagan called me to say he was thinking of pardoning Mr. Hinckley personally, though not legally, but he only wanted to do so if it was consistent with Mr. Hinckley's clinical needs.

I told Mr. Reagan that he would be welcome as a member of the treatment team. After he laughed, I said it would not be in Mr. Hinckley's interest to be pardoned because Mr. Hinckley's sense of responsibility should not be reduced.

Mr. Reagan's wish to pardon illuminated his unwillingness to hold a grudge -- even toward someone whose gunshot came within millimeters of killing him.



The writer chaired the psychiatry department of Saint Elizabeths from 1979 to 1995.

I didn't vote for Ronald Reagan, but like thousands of other Americans I stood in the blazing heat on Constitution Avenue for what proved to be a moving experience -- the passing of the caisson carrying the body of the 40th president of the United States. This was the kind of historic event that many of us have never seen before and may never see again.

However, when watching TV coverage of the viewing in the Rotunda, I was disappointed to see not one Democrat participating in the ceremonies. Democrats lined the Rotunda, but none were included as speakers.

Admittedly, the Republican Party is in power, but what a missed opportunity to show that the parties could speak together and stop the partisan bickering.

Mr. Reagan was elected not once but twice, with votes from the so-called Reagan Democrats. I have to believe the Gipper would also be disappointed.


Silver Spring