John Hinckley Jr.: It's 'Kind of Scary' in America

Would-be assassin, now free, wants to focus on his music, not the shooting
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 20, 2022 11:47 AM CDT
John Hinckley Jr.: It's 'Kind of Scary' in America
US marshals escort John Hinckley Jr. as he returns to a marine base via helicopter in Quantico, Va., on Aug. 8, 1981.   (AP Photo/Barry Thumma, File)

(Newser) – John Hinckley Jr. is a free man, no strings attached. The man who shot Ronald Reagan is now living in Virginia and trying to get a music career going (listen to a song here), and he just gave an interview to Input magazine. Some snippets:

  • Next topic: Hinckley seems to bristle when the interviewer switches from music to ask about the shooting. "You know, a lot of the interviewers, they do this," Hinckley says. "They say, 'Oh, we'll just talk about the music.' And they veer off into things from the past, and I'm trying not to do that. I'm trying to not dwell on the past." But in regard to the shooting, does he feel redeemed? "I'm not sure if 'redeemed' is the right word."

  • Irony: They talk about how three Hinckley concerts (the only three so far scheduled on his "Redemption Tour") have been canceled, in part because of security concerns. "Well, I agree with them to the extent that America right now is kind of scary with all the mass shootings going on and everything," says the would-be assassin. "You know, I watch the news like everybody else."
  • Mood: Hinckley says he's a "happy" man these days but acknowledges darker themes in his songs. "If you hear a tinge of sadness, it's because I did 35 years in a mental hospital," he says. "And let me tell you, that'll take a lot out of you to be an inpatient in a mental hospital for 35 years. It takes a lot out of you spiritually, physically, emotionally."
(Read more John Hinckley stories.)

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