If you were alive at the time, you’d remember that the name was on everyone’s lips: John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who attempted to kill President Ronald Reagan in 1981. While his assassination bid did not succeed, he did manage to shoot Reagan in the chest, and severely injured Press Secretary James Brady. Also wounded were a Secret Service agent and a police officer.
I have true remorse for what I did. I know [the victims] probably can’t forgive me now, but I just want them to know that I am sorry for what I did.
He went on to claim that he is no longer the man who carried out such a heinous crime:
Psychologically, that person is dead. I’m a completely different person in mind and spirit.
That may be so, but James Brady, who was paralyzed in the attack, is literally dead as a result of his injuries. (A medical examiner ruled Brady’s 2014 death a homicide caused by the shooting, even though it had occurred decades earlier.) The attack spurred efforts to strengthen gun laws, with Brady and his wife Sarah Brady creating the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.
It’s hard to understand how Hinckley is walking around as a free man.
Hinckley also claimed he could not remember the attack:
It’s such another lifetime ago. I can’t tell you now the emotion I had right as (Reagan) came walking out. I can’t tell you that.
It’s something I don’t want to remember.
After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 15, 2022
Reagan’s daughter Patti Davis opposed Hinckley’s release, saying he was a narcissist who did not feel remorse.
In the CBS News interview he did, however, apologize to those he had shot, as well as to actress Jodie Foster, whom he said he had a “delusional obsession” with and hoped to impress by killing the president. Interviewer Major Garrett noted that neither the families of the victims nor Foster responded to a request for comment.
Hinckley, now 67, lives in Williamsburg, VA, and aspires for a musical career. However, three scheduled performances were canceled because of security concerns. “I don’t know anybody else who’s certainly had a life like I’ve had,” Hinckley said. “I mean, what I tell people now, if you want to get to know John Hinckley, listen to his songs.”
It would seem he needs a little help, though:
I’m looking for a drummer, bass player, and lead guitarist to be in my band. Contact [email protected]
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) June 26, 2022
Hinckley is now a completely free man, unsupervised, unmonitored, and free to fill his days as he so pleases. He mentioned in the interview he is still on two psychotropic drugs, though, so it’s hard to know how mentally fit he is. It just seems wrong that a man who almost killed a sitting US president is walking the streets freely.