Willie R. Tubbs, FISM News
Add to the pantheon of sentences most journalists wouldn’t expect to write nor readers expect to encounter: John Hinckley Jr. is going on tour.
This July, Hinckley, the man who 41 years ago attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, has announced on Twitter that he is taking his one-man show, “The John Hinckley Redemption Tour,” on the road and will play before a crowd of 450 people at a venue in Brooklyn on July 8. He will follow with a show in Chicago on July 23.
Stay tuned for more dates added to The John Hinckley Redemption Tour. pic.twitter.com/XvRFB5SmCi
— John Hinckley (@JohnHinckley20) April 13, 2022
A sign of the times, although it is left to the reader to decide if this is a positive of negative indicator – Hinckley’s Brooklyn show, which will take place at the Market Hotel, is sold out.
“I’m very excited about my upcoming show,” Hinckley tweeted last week. “Ticket sales are good. July 8, Market Hotel in Brooklyn NY.”
According to Guitar.com, Hinckley, who received a conditional release from institutional psychiatric care in 2016, has spent much of his time these last six years writing and releasing music on Spotify. His full and unconditional release, which is pending, will allow Hinckley to travel the country.
Hinckley was found not guilty by means of insanity following a March 1981 attack in which he attempted to impress a then-18-year-old Jodie Foster by assassinating Reagan. While the president survived the attempt on his life, he and three others were wounded.
That a judge ordered Hinckley’s unconditional release in 2021 has been the source of great frustration for several family members of the late president, and the recent announcement of a tour also drew the criticism of the Ronald Reagan Foundation and Institute.
“The Reagan Foundation and Institute is both saddened and concerned that John Hinckley, Jr. will soon be unconditionally released and intends to pursue a music career for profit,” the organization said in a statement.
Mr. Hinckley is the man responsible for the attempted assassination of President Reagan and the shooting of three other brave men, one [former White House Press Secretary James Brady] who eventually died of his injuries years later. We strongly oppose his release into society where he apparently seeks to make a profit from his infamy.
Reaction on social media has been mixed as well as awash in an equal dose of insincerity and outrage.
The Market Hotel has defended its choice to book Hinckley.
“The man served 40 years in prison / mental health treatment, paid his debt to society,” the hotel tweeted in response to criticism. “Several darlings of indie music had mental health issues + committed violence / tried to kill people. Daniel Johnston for instance attempted murder more than once and tried to crash an airplane.”
Hinckley, who was 25 at the time of the shooting, has long expressed remorse for his actions.
In 1984, he hand wrote an open letter of apology in which he said, “I thank God no one died, but I still live with the fact that [Brady] is partially paralyzed and his life is less than what it should be. The emotional pain that I caused is also tremendous, and I know your wife and family suffered greatly.”
The letter also read, “On March 30, 1981, I was a different person than I am today. Three years of therapy and love has made all the difference in the world.”
Hinckley told the world in 1984 that he was “getting well” and spending his “days writing poems and playing my guitar, and I’ve never been happier in my life.”