May 04, 1981 12:00 PM

The Assassination Attempt

Our country is being led by an extremely courageous man (PEOPLE, April 13). Our hearts went out to all the Reagans on that awful day. We now know they are bountiful in strength.

Debra Harhigh

York, Pa.

Like most Americans, I was shocked and angered at the attempted assassination of our President. But I was also shocked at reports that John Hinckley’s parents had to have state troopers assigned to protect them from us. They are innocent of any crime, yet they will have to live with the shame of what their son tried to do. My heart goes out to them. We Americans should remember that any one of us could be in their place right now.

Deborah A. Warner

Colorado Springs, Colo.

Another shooting of a famous person. Gun control and gun-related murder statistics suddenly become front-page news. The gun-related murder of an “average” person will be reported as a column filler on page 20 next to store coupons. Why should anyone care? These are just statistics, accepted facts of life (and death) in America. But to those of us that have lost a loved one who didn’t have a chance to duck, these statistics were once living, breathing people and they are now gone. God help those of you who will one day receive a phone call relating words such as “yes, dead,” “murdered,” “shot,” “no apparent motive.” It won’t be too late to fight for national gun control legislation, but it will be too late to tell your slain “statistic” that you loved him.

Anita Blake Swansiger

Madison, Wis.

Alexander Haig is fast becoming a stand-in for U.S. Presidents in crises: first for Richard Nixon, recently for Ronald Reagan. Instead of condemning him for the courage and leadership he displayed when he came forward to tell his fellow Americans that he was in charge, he should be praised. Haig’s expression of reassurance was welcome and considerate.

Mary J. Prinz

Vancouver, B.C.

Diet Guru Richard Simmons

I start each day with Richard and stretch my body with a smile. He’s so compassionate and understanding; even hundreds of miles away and through the television I believe he cares. Richard makes me feel good about me and I love him for it. Twenty pounds lighter and still “Living-It!”

Karyn Fish

Schererville, Ind.

Hip, hip, hooray—thanks to Richard Simmons, my hips are going away!

Beth Barber

Cheraw, S.C.

Nastassia Kinski

The film Tess tears at the heart and shatters the emotions. Its impact is the result of Nastassia Kinski’s solid and sensitive performance. Perhaps she owes a lot to those who have helped her, but we who have seen the movie owe a lot to her. All is not vanity in this case.

J.R. Phelps

Wakefield, Kans.

Masada’s O’Toole & Strauss

Maybe Peter O’Toole wasn’t visibly burned when he didn’t receive the Oscar, but I can tell you I was! Some of the Oscars given out these days seem to me like choosing a glass of beer over the finest glass of wine. How can greats like O’Toole or Hepburn be seated next to some of these amateur jokers in today’s crop?

Kathleen Koohkan

Browns Mills, N.J.

I empathize with Peter Strauss’ ambivalent feelings about changing male-female relationships. It was heartening to see someone verbalize the abyss of confusion into which many of our age have fallen. I am sure Mr. Strauss is even more perplexed now that his ex-fiancée Shana Hoffman has sued him for palimony. Ms. Hoffman apparently has no problems with changing male-female relationships. She has taken a modern approach: If things don’t work out—sue!

Patricia Davies

St. Louis

Vietnam Veterans

My husband served 13 months in combat in Vietnam and is still suffering mentally and physically. He tried to get professional help but psychiatrists simply prescribed a succession of tranquilizers. I could not help him mentally, and, thinking that he did not really want the help that he so needed, I left him. On my return he promised me that he would seek help again. This time I accompanied him to the Veterans Hospital. In one door, checkup, prescription, goodbye, out the other door. I promised him then, after realizing that it was not his fault, that I would help him. So when he suffers from insomnia, I stay up with him. When he has nightmares, I comfort him. But when he comes home quiet and with a clouded face, I take my children and leave the house. Believe me, these men need help, and it’s a shame that when they do reach out no one is there to receive them and guide them back to normal living.

Name Withheld

Picks & Pans

Whoever reviewed Willie Nelson’s new album Somewhere over the Rainbow doesn’t know a hill of beans about good music. Willie could take White Christmas and put Bing’s version to shame. His version of Mona Lisa is as full of emotion as Nat’s. Please give the man a fighting chance.

Brian D. Bowman

Roanoke, Va.

I found your review of Elvis’ Guitar Man very unfair. Yes, at times the Presley guitar was a mere prop, but on occasion Elvis would grab an electric guitar and prove he could rock with the best of them. After “the King” burst onto the scene, guitar sales increased dramatically and everyone wanted to be like Elvis. Great, talented people like John Lennon and Paul McCartney and Jim Page have said they were influenced by Elvis. For these reasons Elvis deserves to be called “the Guitar Man.”

George O. Krenkel

Centereach, N.Y.

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