Ronald Reagan Opened Fire on Passing Motorists
It was on this day 20 years ago when then President Ronald Reagan stood near a freeway and fired a handgun at passing cars, history buffs will recall.
It was a lovely spring morning in 1986. McDonald's was heating up the burger wars with the release of their McDLT's in special hot-side-hot cool-side-cool Styrofoam packages. Tony Danza was mugging and shrugging his way into America's hearts with the smash hit TV sitcom "Who's the Boss." And the Bangles were climbing the charts with their mega-hit "Manic Monday."
But it was a manic Wednesday when a vacant-eyed President Reagan abruptly left a meeting on tariffs and trade, walked to a nearby on-ramp, produced a low caliber hand gun and dazedly shot at passing cars.
"I don't think he was aiming at anything in particular. But on a freeway, you are going to have cars crossing the line of fire," said a chuckling Larry Speakes, then White House Press Secretary.
All three networks broke into their regular broadcasts to cover the presidential pot-shots. This prompted some D.C. viewers to jump into their cars and risk getting shot by the 40th President. Some actually had their cars damaged by the discombobulated Commander in Chief.
It all turned out OK though. One of those slugs recently sold on eBay for over $14,000! Also, thank goodness, no one was hurt.
When Ronald Reagan ran out of bullets he staggered back to his meeting to the applause of bystanders.
Linda Rooney from Chevy Chase was there. "I'd never seen the President before. When he was done shooting, clapping was all I could think to do."
When asked why he shot into traffic, Reagan was puzzled. He didn't remember any of it. After colleagues showed him the videotape, the President quipped, "Well, there I go again." And the room burst into laughter.