Douglas Andrews / June 16, 2022

Would-Be Reagan Assassin Walks Free

John W. Hinckley has a large Twitter following and a sold-out show to play in Brooklyn next month.

Now it’s time to rock and roll?

Some tweets are so surreal as to leave us slack-jawed. The one above, issued earlier this month by 67-year-old John W. Hinckley Jr., the man who tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, is just such a tweet. Hinckley has nearly 30,000 Twitter followers, and the tweet above has so far been “liked” more than 11,600 times and retweeted more than 1,000 times.

Is this a sick world, or what?

And how many of Hinckley’s fans do you suppose are on the Right? (That’s a rhetorical question.)

The “rock and roll” reference is to Hinckley’s budding career as a musician, and the launch of what he calls “The John Hinckley Redemption Tour.” Hinckley sings and plays guitar, and, now that he’s a free man, he’ll reportedly perform a sold-out concert on July 8 at the Market Hotel in Brooklyn. What this says about our nation — that there’s a venue whose management is sick enough to book this man, and that there are folks out there sick enough to pay to listen to him — we’re not quite sure. But it isn’t good.

Hinckley’s fans can also check him out on YouTube, which bans certain Republican presidents for life but which clearly has a soft spot for the would-be assassins of Republican presidents. Same with the leftist sickos at Twitter, who’ve also given him a platform and a voice.

But for a defective Devastator bullet, Hinckley would be rotting in prison yet today, and Reagan’s transformative presidency would’ve ended almost before it had begun, on that rainy spring afternoon of March 30, 1981, just over two months into his first term. (If you love The Gipper as we do, be sure to check out our Reagan 2020 page, which is an outstanding collection of his story, speeches, tributes, and remembrances.)

Those of us of a certain age remember it well, especially the chaotic footage and the carnage. There’s Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy spinning and falling to the ground after taking a round in the midsection while trying to shield the president. There on the ground is DC cop Thomas Delahanty, who’s been shot in the neck. And there, next to the fallen cop, face down on the pavement in a widening pool of blood, is Press Secretary James Brady, who’s been shot in the head.

“If he hadn’t tried to kill a president he would have been released unconditionally a long time ago,” said U.S. District Judge Paul L. Friedman, a Bill Clinton appointee, who signed the order freeing Hinckley from all remaining oversight restrictions.

As “ifs” go, that’s a pretty big one, your honor. After all, there can be no more grievous attack on a nation than to target its head of state. And, again, but for a lucky bullet, Hinckley would’ve succeeded. And it’s not as if Hinckley isn’t a murderer. Brady was gravely and permanently wounded in the attack because the bullet that hit him exploded upon impact, just as it was designed to do. And because his death in 2014 was related to the injuries he suffered that day in 1981, it was ruled a homicide.

Hinckley, who was acquitted by reason of insanity, had been committed to St. Elizabeth’s Hospital in DC for more than 34 years before being released under certain restrictions in 2016. Upon his unconditional release yesterday, he tweeted, “After 41 years 2 months and 15 days, FREEDOM AT LAST!!!”

Why did we feel the need to release this man? Shouldn’t anyone dangerous and delusional enough to attempt to assassinate a sitting president be automatically locked up for life? That’s a special kind of attempted murder, is it not? Historian and Reagan biographer Craig Shirley, for one, takes exception to this abomination:

The unconditional release of psychopathic madman and murderer of White House press secretary and the attempted murder of President Ronald Reagan by John Hinckley by leftists proves we have a two-tiered system of justice in America,“ said the statement from Shirley, well known in conservative circles. One set for murderers, criminals and liberals, and another for conservatives and God-fearing Americans.

He’s right, of course. As we noted in the wake of the attempted assassination of Justice Brett Kavanaugh, and as our Mark Alexander has thoroughly catalogued, political violence occurs almost exclusively on the Left, and it seems to be growing more popular.

Even political assassination has found a remarkable measure of acceptance on the Left, as noted (and buried) in a recent poll by the corrupt and deceitful Southern Poverty Law Center. Nearly half of young Democrat males — 44% of them — say it’s acceptable to assassinate a politician "who is harming the country or our democracy.”

Read that again. Nearly half of young Democrat males…

Suffice it to say: We already have a growing political violence problem on the Left. Why encourage it further?


UPDATE: Hinckley now has nearly 34,000 Twitter followers, but his latest tweet reads, “I’ve had 3 concerts cancelled — Chicago, Connecticut and now Brooklyn. The promoter is looking for another venue.” Perhaps some folks are coming to their senses.

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