Struggling artist unhappy with reputation as would-be assassin

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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