Struggling artist unhappy with reputation as would-be assassin

posted at 2:00 pm on February 26, 2012 by Jazz Shaw

The man who tried to kill Ronald Reagan is apparently unhappy that people tend to think of him as… the guy who tried to kill Reagan. (Hat tip: OTB) John Hinckley is still locked up in the home for the terminally confused, but his lawyers are trying to improve his situation. That means that interviews are conducted and statements are recorded. All of this leads to one of the more curious revelations about the man’s state of mind these days.

The man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan more than 30 years ago said he would like to be known as something other than a would-be assassin.

John Hinckley made the statement to a doctor who interviewed him in the past year at a Washington mental hospital. The statement and other pieces of information about Hinckley’s life are part of hundreds of pages of documents prepared for court hearings in Hinckley’s case.

A doctor who testified for the government noted in his 80-page report that Hinckley regrets not being able to show or sell the paintings he does, most of them landscapes.

“I would like to be known as something other than the would-be assassin,” Hinckley said.

Hinckley isn’t allowed to sell or otherwise profit from his “artistic” efforts behind bars and, sadly, there don’t seem to be any examples available for us to review. That’s kind of a pity, really. Even if they are every bit as awful as I imagine they would be, there’s a market for everything. It might be nice if some of them actually were put up for auction with the proceeds being sent to the Reagan Library or Nancy Reagan’s favorite charity or something along those lines.

His state of mind doesn’t seem much improved from when he was so desperate to impress Jodie Foster. Recent news articles about Gabby Giffords apparently gave Hinckley some time to reflect.

Another doctor reported that around the time Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January 2011, Hinckley commented: “Wow. Is that how people see me?” Then he vented frustration about being unable to change the public’s perception.

“I don’t have a microphone in my hand. I don’t have the video camera. So no one can hear my music. No one can see my art. I have these other aspects of my life that no one knows about. I’m an artist. I’m a musician. Nobody knows that. They just see me as the guy who tried to kill Reagan,” he said.

I was going to write something snarky here, but I think Doug Mataconis already provided the only dry, yet obvious answer required.

Well, perhaps that’s because you tried to kill him.


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Comment pages: 1 2

Let’s see! The attempted murderer of a conservative Republican president was acquitted by a liberal, Democratic Washington DC jury. End of story.

MaiDee on February 26, 2012 at 8:08 PM

He wasn’t acquitted. He was found not guilty by reason of insanity. Barring gross incompetence on the part of the parole board, at this rate he’ll never see daylight. At least not outside the halls of a mental institution.

gryphon202 on February 26, 2012 at 9:04 PM

A quick google search indicates the band wasn’t happy about it. It seems like it was just Axel that wanted to do it.

Flange on February 26, 2012 at 7:55 PM

I never cared for Guns n Roses’ music in general anyway, but at least the other band members seemed to have some sense.

On the other hand, I did hear that Axl Rose was an a$$ of major proportions.

PatriotGal2257 on February 26, 2012 at 9:39 PM

I feel Hinkley’s pain. People don’t get to see Charlie Manson’s art or hear his music either. Our civilization has lost so much.

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on February 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

I feel Hinkley’s pain. People don’t get to see Charlie Manson’s art or hear his music either. Our civilization has lost so much.
UnrepentantCurmudgeon on February 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Emperor Nero’s last words: “What an artist the world loses in me!”

logis on February 26, 2012 at 9:54 PM

“I would like to be known as something other than the would-be assassin,” Hinckley said.

“Suck it, Hinckley!”
–Sean Connery

SagebrushPuppet on February 26, 2012 at 10:36 PM

As a detective once said, “You want to stop getting speeding tickets? Quit speeding.”

Crusty on February 27, 2012 at 12:48 AM

not only did I fail at killing Reagan, I failed at being smart.

DHChron on February 27, 2012 at 3:16 AM

People don’t get to see Charlie Manson’s art or hear his music either. . .

UnrepentantCurmudgeon on February 26, 2012 at 9:41 PM

Wrong. Manson’s “music” is available online (Amazon and other places) and his “art” can also be found if you look hard enough.

MisterElephant on February 27, 2012 at 8:34 AM

around the time Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in January 2011, Hinckley commented: “Wow. Is that how people see me?” Then he vented frustration about being unable to change the public’s perception.

How else are they supposed to see you? The fact of the matter is that you are a sociopath who benefited from lax laws concerning the insanity plea. After thirty years at St. Elizabeth’s please spare us your “misunderstood artist” whining.

Happy Nomad on February 27, 2012 at 9:10 AM

They had him kicking off a race with the starters pistol on Family Guy once. As soon as he shot the gun, Jodie Foster ran over and said John, you shot that gun great, I love you, and gave him a kiss. LOL!!

I can understand his feelings though. If he is getting better and wants to be a normal guy, then of course he wouldn’t want to be known as the guy who tried to kill Reagan. But, what are you gonna do?

Kinda reminds me of Nobel who saw his obituary and said he didn’t want to be known for inventing dynamite and fought for peace the rest of his life.

jeffn21 on February 27, 2012 at 9:34 AM

Jodie Foster could not be reached for comment.

Wander on February 27, 2012 at 9:55 AM

Irony, I’ve always struggled with that. I know what it is not, but I don’t always recognize what it is.

Does the fact that he said this with a straight face make it ironic?

FineasFinn on February 27, 2012 at 10:53 AM

All I see is an empty shell of a man spending his waking hours wondering what value others can attribute to his.

Egfrow on February 27, 2012 at 11:29 AM

Several comments have referred to narcissism as an obsessive need for attention. That may be one among many symptoms, but it isn’t the root of the problem. The narcissist’s view of everything, EVERYTHING, has them as the center of the universe. You tell a narcissist that a friend they haven’t spoken to in three years has changed their hairstyle, and the narcissist will tell you that friend finally took their advice. They cannot imagine anything happening in the known universe that isn’t driven by something they did/said or intended with them as the sole audience. It matters not if the narcissist is a complete hermit who doesn’t seek attention.

With this form of psychosis at work, nothing the narcissist does is ever wrong in their eyes, and therefore nothing they do is ever to be repented. What amazes me, is that in Hinckley’s case, the doctor apparently (from the very brief snippet provided to us) tries to make a case that Hinckley is no longer a criminal threat, by permitting statements from the patient which prove his narcissism is unabated. If he hasn’t changed in that aspect, then given similar circumstances there is no reason to believe he wouldn’t act the same way again.

Freelancer on February 27, 2012 at 11:44 AM

I would support his being known as the late John Hinckley.

Klem Kadiddlehopper on February 27, 2012 at 12:53 PM

“I would like to be known as something other than the would-be assassin,” Hinckley said.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
I don’t know anything about the guy’s current state of mind and wouldn’t begin to argue for releasing him, regardless. However, if you consider just that sentiment above, is there anyone here who wouldn’t feel the same?

fabrexe on February 26, 2012 at 7:45 PM

Maybe he’s just unhappy that he’ll always be known as a raging failure

Solaratov on February 27, 2012 at 7:35 PM

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