What happened in Washington D.C. in 1982?

1 Answer
Mar 26, 2017


Quite a lot, of both local and national significance


On January 13, an Air Florida plane taking off from National Airport crashed into the 14th Street Bridge, killing all but six of the people aboard. Pilot error was blamed.

Then-local DJ Howard Stern made an appalling joke about the incident on the air. He was promptly fired by station WWDC and made his way to New York's WNBC and a bigger (and eventually national) audience.

On June 21, John Hinckley Jr. was found not guilty of attempting to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. He evaded prison, but spent most of the next 35 years in a mental institution in DC. Public outrage at the verdict resulted in the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984, which raised the bar for insanity defenses.

In November, Mayor Marion Barry was re-elected to the second of his four terms.