Reagan’s assailant John Hinckley rebrands as singer on YouTube

NEW YORK: The gunman who attempted to assassinate United States President Ronald Reagan to impress actress Jodie Foster is now singing songs and uploading them on YouTube.

John Hinckley Jr, now 66, won a lengthy court battle last year allowing him to publicly display his music and potentially make a living in the recording industry. Hinckley has now published a half-dozen videos on YouTube, starting with a performance of an original composition titled “Majesty of Love.”

“When every couple settles down, goodness will be found, this is the majesty of love,” he croons over bright acoustic strumming. “The world is still in so much pain, but we have much to gain, this is the majesty of love.”

Of the six performances posted to the account since December, four are original songs, while two are covers: Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind.”

Most are recorded in a room lined with at least five clocks visible behind Hinckley and are racking up thousands of views on YouTube with his guitar renditions of sentimental love songs.

On March 30, 1981, Hinckley opened fire on Reagan outside a Washington, DC, hotel, emptying his revolver.  The president was struck by a round in the chest, and three others were also wounded, including press secretary James Brady, who would remain partially paralyzed for the rest of his life. Reagan was hospitalised for nearly two weeks but survived.

Police officers and Secret Service agents dive to protect President Ronald Reagan during an assassination attempt in Washington. Source: New York Post/Gettys

Hinckley harboured an obsession with the movie “Taxi Driver,” likening himself to Robert De Niro’s titular lone-wolf hack, Travis Bickle, who was fixated on Foster.

In the years preceding the assassination attempt, Hinckley stalked Foster and attempted to gain her attention, before ultimately plotting to kill the president — mirroring Bickle’s aborted bid to murder a fictitious political candidate.

Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and committed to a psychiatric institution, where he spent 35 years. In 2016, Hinckley was cleared to move in with his mother in Virginia, and two years later to live on his own.

Upon discovering Hinckley’s creative outlet, viewers plastered the comment sections of his videos with reviews, many of them morbid jokes about his claim to infamy.

“This is definitely a more constructive way to get Jodi Foster’s attention,” wrote one user. Another cracked, “Might’ve failed assassination but you didn’t fail to hit those beats.” Others were pleasantly surprised by Hinckley’s tunes, lavishing praise on “Majesty of Love” and wished him well.


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