Title: Operation RawhideOperation-Rawhide1
Author: Paul Thomsen
Pages: 70
Reading Level: 9-12
Star Rating: ★★★★

Few Presidents were as well loved as Ronald Reagan, but there were some who hated him….. and were willing to express that hatred in steel.

The Story.

President Ronald Reagan – nicknamed Rawhide – is only sixty-nine days into his presidency, but already he’s become accustomed to the routine of meetings and press conferences. March 30, 1981 is just such another day; President Reagan has completed a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel and he is preparing to return to the White House when a man steps forward. This man fires six bullets at the President, missing him with each shot. But the sixth, ricocheting off of the limousine door, pierces his chest, grazes a rib and pauses an inch from his heart. With the President coughing up blood, Secret Service Agents direct his course to the George Washington University Hospital. If medical help is not found soon, the President will die.

Dr. Aaron has just come off of a grueling heart surgery. He needs a rest. But there is no time to rest with the President’s life at stake. With a prayer to God for help, Dr. Aaron makes ready for surgery. If Reagan lives he will be the first President to ever survive an assassination attempt. But will he live?


As part of the Creation Adventure Series, Operation Rawhide incorporates short pieces describing God’s creation and explaining why it could not have come about by evolutionary processes. For example,

The heart is a perfectly organized mechanism that begins its work shortly after conception in the mother’s womb. Beating, beating, three thousand times an hour, eighty thousand times a day whether at work or asleep – never resting, never stopping, millions and billions of times over a lifetime. That masterful combination of muscles and electrical impulses draws in oxygenated blood from the lungs and superboosts it to the other body organs – to the millions of receptacles on the back of the eyes that help give us sight, to the millions of nerve endings on our fingers giving us touch, to the millions of electrical connectors in the brain giving us the ability for thought, wisdom, and feelings. Feelings that are inherent to all mankind – the sensation of beauty that one feels while viewing a golden sunset across a fall-colored, hushed lake; feelings of power watching a surging, crashing ocean; feelings of love when a mother holds her newborn baby. None of these sensations – beauty, power, or love – could have just happened by time and chance. This incredibly complicated, perfectly organized, functioning, living heart could not have come about or developed by mutation over billions of years of mistakes through evolution. The most evident, perfect example of a Sovereign Creator God is life itself, for only a Supreme Being has the capability of producing it – only God could have put the breath of life into this President’s heart.” [pgs. 51-52] 

On this account, Operation Rawhide was interesting as well as apologetically informing.

Mr. Thomsen correctly identifies America as a Republic several times. He says that

“The very foundation that glued the republic together was cracking and beginning to crumble  from within. Massive racial violence was erupting. Violent crime was on the rise, and running amuck was an exploding drug addiction that was eating at the very core of the nation – its youth. Torn and twisted, the backbone of the nation – its moral fiber – stood on the brink of catastrophic collapse.

This was a battle of foundational values – the collective conscience of the people. It was spiritual warfare.” [pgs. 4-5]


Mr. Thomsen states in one place that he and his family had accepted Christ as their personal Saviour and made him Lord over their lives. In another place Mr. Thomsen refers to a man as ‘demon-controlled’.

Mr. Thomsen describes the events that led to John Hinckley’s Jr.’s assassination attempt on Reagan. He says that

“Hinckley also had a mad fascination for a young movie star he had never met. She had played the part of a teenage prostitute in a film about a demented young man who planned to kill a high political figure and then stalked his victim relentlessly. Time after time he sat through the film, burying into his drug-filled, mesmerized mind the satanic plot – stalk and kill, stalk and kill. As his plan to get the President took form in his mind, he wrote the starlet a letter. In it he said, “I would abandon this idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you. . . . I will admit to you that the reason I’m going ahead with this attempt now is because I just cannot wait any longer to impress you.”

This demon-controlled, sick man went on to close the letter, “I’m asking you to please look into your heart and at least give me the chance with this historical deed to gain your respect and love.” [pgs. 8-9]

Mr. Thomsen says that Hinckley spent the night before his attempt at

“the pornographic stores, filling his mind with corrupting, lewd pictures. His senses were dulled by drugs, pornography, hard rock music, and Nazi doctrine—everything God opposed.” [pgs. 10-11]

These passages aren’t immdediately defiling, but they are sure to raise a lot of questions in the minds of children regarding words and ideas.

There is a reference to crematoriums.

This story includes several accounts of heart surgeries. Because their goal is to heal, these do not have the nasty feeling that brutality induces, but they are enough to make a person squeamish. The following passage describes the beginning of a heart surgery.

“Taking a scalpel, he made the incision from the top of the breastbone to the bottom, working the bottom area a bit more open. Having done that, he slipped the foot of his saber saw under the sternum and squeezed the activator button, sending the blade into an up-and-down blur. Pushing the instrument forward, he proceeded to saw the sternum in two, a slight whiff of smoke rising as the blade easily buzzed through the bone structure. Removing the saw, he inserted the chest spreader, screwing it open. With each twist, the chest cavity yawned wider, exposing the diseased heart in its protective sac, the pericardium. Carefully he cut the sac open – the heart with its four plugged arteries now in full view….

Before the heart could be operated on, it had to be shut down; the heart-lung machine would take over the function of the heart and the lungs by both pumping the blood and recharging the oxygen. To connect the tubes leading to the heart-lung machine, Dr. Aaron first made an incision in the aorta, the big main artery at the top of the heart where blood comes out and flows to the whole body. Into the small incision, he sutured the small tube leading back to the heart-lung machine. Once completed, he made a second incision in the right atrium, the chamber of the heart that pumps the blood to the big aorta. Into the second incision he sutured the other tube, about the size of a thumb. As the tubes cut off the blood supply to the heart and bypassed it to the heart-lung machine, the patient’s heart, having no blood to pump, naturally stopped pumping; however, it continued to beat.

“Sorta looks like a flopping, deflated volleyball,” said the anesthesiologist as he adjusted the anesthetic gas that kept the patient unconscious. [pgs. 28-30]

Something that aspiring doctors and scientists may enjoy, but as for the rest of us….

Conclusion. I knew next to nothing about Ronald Reagan’s assassination attempt prior to reading this story, but now I feel as though I understand the events that occurred and why they occurred.

Review © 2013 Laura Verret

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