On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. shot U.S. President Ronald Reagan and three others as Reagan was leaving a speaking engagement in Washington, DC. Reagan's life was saved at George Washington University Hospital.

Hickley's father, John Hinckley Sr., was a donor to George H.W. Bush's 1980 Presidential campaign. Bush came in second to Ronald Reagan for the Republican nomination and was chosen to be his Vice Presidential running mate. Bush's son Neil, and Hinckley's older son Scott had been scheduled to have dinner together the following evening.

Had Reagan died, George H.W. Bush would have ascended to the Presidency.

Sarah Jane Moore attempted to assassinate President Gerald R. Ford in San Francisco nearly six years earlier. Her first shot missed Ford by five inches; she was tackled as she got a second shot off. It hit a bystander who survived.

Until that day, Moore was a volunteer bookkeeper for a Hearst family charity called People in Need and an FBI informant. She had already been investigated by the Secret Service that year and the day before police confiscated an illegal handgun in her possession.

Just seventeen days previous, Squeaky Fromme attempted to shoot Ford in Sacramento, California. A Secret Service agent captured her, and it turns out she had loaded the gun improperly.

Fromme was a longtime disciple of Charles Manson and was jailed for interfering in his trial for the 1969 Tate-Labianca murders. Additional associates of Fromme were convicted for two 1972 murders in Stockton, California.

History remembers each of these failed assassins as "lone nuts." But imagine if any of them had succeeded. The Hinckley-Bush connection, the Moore-FBI connection, and the Fromme-Manson connection would have been investigated more thoroughly by the press and independent investigators.

The accused John F. Kennedy assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, has undergone such scrutiny. His stint in the Marines, time in the Soviet Union, and activism on behalf of Cuba created the portrait of a possible spy. But Oswald's biography and connections weren't any stranger than Hinckley's, Moore's, and Fromme's.

What sets Oswald apart isn't just that Kennedy was actually killed. It comes from something Oswald had little control over; the decisions made after Kennedy was shot.

In 1963, there was no federal law against killing a federal official such as the President. Texas law required the Dallas County medical examiner Earl Rose to examine the deceased. His office was just across the corridor from the trauma room in Parkland Hospital where Kennedy was pronounced dead. But the Secret Service insisted on taking the body immediately back to Washington under newly sworn-in President Johnson's orders.

Rose said it didn't matter that the body was of the President of the United States, the law required that he perform an autopsy. He also didn't want to "lose the chain of evidence." Accounts differ on how forceful and threatening the Secret Service became, but Rose eventually relented.

An autopsy was performed that night at Bethesda Naval Hospital in Maryland by doctors from the Navy and Air Force in a room full of Secret Service and FBI agents and military personnel.

Unlike them, the Dallas Medical Examiner wasn't a federal employee. President Johnson wasn't his boss.

This cannot be understated: the Secret Service broke the law by taking - stealing - Kennedy's body. And in doing so, they violated the essence of the republican form of government: that the law applies to everyone alike.

Ironically, treating Kennedy's body differently just because he was President was a disservice to the Kennedy family and to the American people. If you lost a loved one to homicide, and the proper procedures for an autopsy were illegally ignored, would you feel that justice was being served?

The conspiracy theories related to the JFK assassination weren't created in a vacuum. The head of the federal government was murdered, and then members of the federal government broke the law and interfered with the investigation.

As Earl Rose feared, the chain of evidence was lost. Many of the questions surrounding the assassination relate to the integrity of the autopsy that eventually was performed.

I won't discuss the specifics of any particular theory. But one thing is clear: when the Secret Service stole JFK's body, they obstructed justice. And they did so on the orders of Lyndon B. Johnson.

In the assassination attempts of Ford and Reagan, proper legal procedures were followed according to the laws at the time. That's why most people seem satisfied with the outcome. Justice was served.

Proper procedures weren't followed with the JFK assassination. In fact, Texas law was broken in when JFK's body was stolen. With the theft of JFK's body, justice was never given a chance.

It is fair to ask "Why?"