John Hinckley’s Stage Ambitions Stymied

From a story on axios.com headlined “Hinckley’s stage ambitions stymied”:

After 41 years, John W. Hinckley Jr. is finally free and wants to start a music career — if only venues will let him, per the Washington Post.

Flashback: Hinckley has returned to public life since his 1981 attempt to assassinate President Reagan, which injured the president and others, including press secretary James Brady who died in 2014 of his injuries.

  • Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Now, he uses social media to share videos of himself playing the guitar and singing, and updates his hundreds of thousands of followers as he attempts to find a venue that will host him.

Yes, but: Venues in Brooklyn, Chicago, Williamsburg, Va., and other cities have booked and abruptly canceled Hinckley’s shows, citing safety concerns, per the Washington Post.

  • In April, DC9 told Washingtonian they would not book him, with owner Bill Spieler recalling the chilling effect the shooting had on D.C.
  • Sandra Basanti, of Pie Shop, on the other hand, told Washingtonian that Hinckley has served his time and if it made sense for her venue, she would book him — adding it might be a different story if the assassination attempt had been successful.

What they’re saying: In an interview with the Post, Hinckley said music had a calming effect on him.

  • “I write peaceful songs. The climate in the country now is just so bad. I just try to write songs to uplift people,” he told the Post.

Between the lines: The conundrum of Hinckley’s attempts at a music career shows the fractured views on his case.

  • The Reagan Foundation and family members of the former president have opposed lifting Hinckley’s restrictions, the Post reported.
  • But mental health experts told the Post they don’t object to him being released, and one concert promoter in New York said he felt like Hinckley deserves a stage.

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