American John Hinckley, who attempted to assassinate the President of the United States in 1981, was released in 2022. An amateur guitarist, he now wants to perform in public.
American John Hinckley, who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981 to “impress” actress Jodie Foster, is a free man and now seeks some form of redemption through music. Declared criminally irresponsible by the courts, John Warnock Hinckley spent 34 years confined in a psychiatric hospital, before being authorized in 2016 to go live with his mother, under judicial supervision in Williamsburg, Virginia, 250 kilometers south of the federal capital Washington. On June 15,after 41 years, 2 months and 15 days, finally freedom“, had tweeted the 67-year-old man, released from any control of justice.
Now free, John Hinckley, who always wanted to be a musician, is now a guitarist-songwriter who has another dream: to play in concert, in front of an audience. Because on June 15, his regained freedom was accompanied by a “immense disillusionment“, tells the sixty-year-old to AFP who met him at his home in Williamsburg, his dry guitar slung over his shoulder.
A New York concert hall where he was to perform canceled everything, citing, according to him, “grave and serious threatson safety. Same cold showers repeated before live concerts in Chicago, Virginia and Connecticut.
Read alsoThe amazing story of the man who wanted to kill Ronald Reagan
“Obsessed” by the image of Jodie Foster
But, insists John Hinckley, after 41 years of deprivation of liberty and psychiatric treatment, he is “now a different person“desiring to share his music in a world that knew him as a young man”violent and unbalanced“.
On March 30, 1981, he shocked America and the world by shooting Republican President Ronald Reagan (who died in 2004 after serving two terms from 1981 to 1988) outside a hotel in Washington. One of his bullets ricocheted off the armored presidential limo and hit Reagan in the chest. Three people were injured, including then-White House spokesman James Brady.
The young John Hinckley at the time, obsessed with Jodie Foster since the release in 1976 of the legendary film by Martin Scorsese “Taxi Driver“, had then declared to have wanted to impress the actress.
He had been declared criminally irresponsible by the courts and interned for more than three decades at St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in Washington.
But John Hinckley did not disappear from the public space during the 1980s and 1990s. The famous Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim (1930-2021) made him one of the characters in his musical “killersand American rock band Devo turned one of his poems into a song.
A vinyl in the making
Living recluse with his cat in the historic and tourist town of Williamsburg, Mr. Hinckley spends his days painting, composing songs and posting his music on YouTube.
He boasts of having 50,000 followers on Twitter and some 5,000 listens per month on Spotify.
The amateur musician says he has written thousands of titles, a mix of folk and acoustic rock repertoire, inspired by world icons Bob Dylan, Neil Young and the Beatles, with unequivocal lyrics about his extraordinary destiny. He sings about his thirst for freedom, his remorse and his quest for redemption. And while waiting for a concert hall to want him, John Hinckley has a vinyl album that should be released by the end of the year on the independent label Asbestos Records.
But his relative notoriety is not at all to the liking of the Reagan Foundation, which defends the memory of the former president. She accuses him of trying toprofit from his act of infamy“. He replies that he has repeatedly tried to apologize. “I’m sorry for what I did” but “I’m not who I was then“, he assures, describing himself as”completely alienated, depressed and unbalancedover 40 years ago.
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The man who wanted to kill Ronald Reagan seeks redemption in music
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