On March 30, 1981, in Washington, D.C., John Warnock Hinckley Jr., born May 29, 1955, attempted to assassinate US President Ronald Reagan. Two months after Reagan’s first inauguration. Hinckley shot Reagan, police officer Thomas Delahanty, Secret Service member Tim McCarthy, and White House Press Secretary James Brady, who turned out seriously disabled after using a.22 caliber revolver. Hinckley was supposedly pursuing popularity to impress actress Jodie Foster, with whom he had a crush. This article dives into the specifics of this terrifying tragedy and its implications for the nation.
He was judged not guilty because of insanity and was institutionalized for more than three decades. The conviction sparked public outrage, prompting state legislatures and Congress to limit their insanity defenses. A federal judge concluded 2016 that Hinckley may be discharged from psychiatric treatment because he was no longer a danger to himself or others but with several limitations.
John Hinckley Jr. was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma. He moved to Dallas, Texas, with his rich family when he was four. His father, John Warnock Hinckley (1925-2008), was the founder, chairman, CEO, and president of Vanderbilt Energy Corporation. Jo Ann Hinckley (1925-2021) was his mother.
Hinckley grew raised in University Park, Texas, and attended Dallas County’s Highland Park High School. After Hinckley graduated from high school in 1974, his family, the founders of the Hinckley oil firm, relocated to Evergreen, Colorado, to establish the new corporate headquarters. From 1974 until 1980, he attended Texas Tech University on and off but finally dropped out. He moved to Los Angeles in 1975 to become a songwriter. His attempts were futile, and he wrote to his parents, recounting his misfortunes and pleading for money. He also mentioned a girlfriend, Lynn Collins, who turned out to be a ruse. He returned to his parent’s house in Evergreen in September 1976. Hinckley began acquiring guns and practicing with them in the late 1970s and early 1980s. To deal with his emotional issues, he was administered antidepressants and tranquilizers.
|John Hinckley Jr.
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|John Warnock Hinckley Sr., Jo Ann Moore
|Scott Hinckley, Diane Hinckley
The Motivation Behind the Assassination Attempt
The assassination attempt by John Hinckley Jr. sent shockwaves across the United States. Hinckley’s intentions, however, revolved around actress Jodie Foster. According to reports, Hinckley became obsessed with Foster after seeing the film “Taxi Driver,” where Foster portrayed a juvenile prostitute. His infatuation with Foster led him to stalk her and, ultimately, to attempt to assassinate President Reagan in the hope of impressing her.
The Assassination Attempt and Its Immediate Impact
On that fateful day in 1981, as President Reagan emerged from the Washington Hilton Hotel, Hinckley fired six shots from his .22 caliber revolver. One of the bullets struck Reagan, injuring him in the chest, while another hit White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head. Brady’s injuries resulted in a permanent disability that affected his speech and mobility.
The swift response by Secret Service agent Tim McCarthy and police officer Thomas Delahanty, who courageously shielded the president, prevented further casualties. Both McCarthy and Delahanty were wounded in the process. Reagan’s wound was serious but not life-threatening, and he eventually fully recovered.
Legal Proceedings and Hinckley’s Acquittal
John Hinckley Jr.’s trial received extensive media coverage, and the nation watched as the legal system deliberated his fate. Hinckley’s defense attorneys argued that he was mentally ill and suffering from various disorders, including depression and erotomania. The defense aimed to prove that Hinckley could not understand the nature of his actions or distinguish right from wrong at the time of the assassination attempt.
The jury’s verdict sparked controversy and debate. Despite Hinckley’s clear involvement in the crime, he was found not guilty because of insanity. This verdict led to significant public scrutiny and prompted discussions about the legal standards surrounding the insanity defense.
The Lasting Impact on James Brady
James Brady, the White House Press Secretary who sustained a headshot wound during the assassination attempt, faced long-lasting consequences. The bullet caused severe brain damage, leaving Brady permanently disabled. As a result, he experienced speech difficulties, mobility challenges, and other health issues. The incident significantly impacted Brady’s professional life, forcing him to resign as Press Secretary.
In addition to the emotional and physical toll, the financial impact on James Brady was considerable. The ongoing medical care and support required for his disability incurred substantial costs. While it is challenging to quantify his exact net worth, the expenses associated with his medical treatments and ongoing care certainly had a significant financial impact on his life.
Songwriting and Performance
Hinckley repeatedly tried to become a musician as a young adult; years later, he released songs online anonymously but garnered little interest. A federal court determined in October 2020 that Hinckley may publicly exhibit and promote his artwork, writings, and music under his name but that his treatment team could cancel the display license.
Hinckley launched a YouTube account in December 2020. He has released videos of himself singing original songs with a guitar and versions of Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” By June 2023, he had over 32,500 subscribers.
In a YouTube video on June 6, 2021, he announced that he was working on an album and seeking a record label to distribute it. Hinckley subsequently stated in December 2021 that the album would be released in mid-2022 on Emporia Records, a label he formed to “hear the music of others, music that needs to be heard.”
Hinckley self-released his first single, “We Have Got That Chemistry,” via streaming services on October 7, 2021. He self-released “You Let Whisky Do Your Talking” on several streaming platforms on November 10, 2021. Hinckley has also kept his YouTube account updated with new original tunes.
John Hinckley Jr. has a $1 million net worth. Since his trial and subsequent release from prison in 2016, Hinckley Jr.’s net worth has grown significantly. Hinckley Jr’s net worth has grown as a result of the various honors he has garnered for his work.