“Make America Great Again” a quote that is now associated with Donald Trump was first used by Ronald Reagan in his successful presidential bid. Now, the man who tried to assassinate President Reagan, John Warnock Hinckley Jr., has been released from the mental hospital where he has spent 35 years of his life.
Who is Hinckly and what motivated him to try and kill the sitting president? Were his actions merely a ploy to gain notoriety or was it politically motivated?
According to Snopes, Hinckley carried out the attempted assassination to impress actress Jodie Foster. He was described as a troubled young man and had clear obsessive tendencies.
He began stalking Foster in the 1970s after watching the film “Taxi Driver” multiple times. In the film, the main character tries to assassinate the incumbent president, a deed John Warnock Hinckley Jr. tried to emulate.
John Warnock Hinckley Jr. Is Now A Free Man
Now after a federal court ruled that he was no longer a threat to himself and to others, he was released a month later. Hinckley, 61, will now be living in his mother’s house in Virginia.
His freedom however comes with specific conditions and limitations. He is not to drink or use drugs or use social media. He is also forbidden to contact any of his victims and has court-mandated therapy for half a year.
Hinckley is also forbidden to talk to the press as part of the release agreement. Though at 61, at the twilight of his life, no one knows how he will adapt to his newfound freedom.
On 30 March 1981, he shot President Ronald Reagan and three others outside the Hilton Hotel in Washington D.C. Reagan was shot in the chest while his press secretary James Brady was hit in the head. Brady suffered permanent brain damages as a result of his injuries.
Two other men, officer Thomas Delahanty and Secret Service agent turned police chief Timothy McCarthy were shot but not critically injured. John Warnock Hinckley Jr. originally targeted President Jimmy Carter but was thwarted before he got near enough to assassinate him.