The deranged gunman who nearly killed President Ronald Reagan is booked to appear at a concert hosted by a New York hotel.
“Big news!!” John Hinckley Jr. exclaimed on Twitter last Friday, as he announced the gig at the Market Hotel in Brooklyn. “Get your tickets while you can.”
Apparently, it didn’t take long. Mediaite reported on Thursday that the July 8 event is sold out.
Hinckley shot and almost killed President Reagan in March 1981 as Reagan exited a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton.
Besides wounding the Republican president, who had been in office just 69 days, Hinckley also shot Reagan spokesman Jim Brady, who was left debilitated for life. A Secret Service agent and a D.C. policeman were also wounded. Brady subsequently launched one of the leading gun-control organizations in the country, which today still campaigns against Second Amendment rights. He died in 2014.
Hinckley was found not guilty in June 1982 by reason of insanity – a point prosecutors contested. He remained confined at a Washington mental hospital until 2006. At that point, he was gradually allowed to venture to his mother’s Virginia home until 2014, when a judge ruled he could spend most of his time outside the hospital.
All of his legal restrictions will be lifted in June, according to Mediaite.
In a tweet, the Market Hotel defended the decision to host Hinckley, whom Mediaite reports is “a singer and guitarist” who has drawn more than 26,000 YouTube subscribers with a mix of original songs and cover tunes originally cut by performers such as Elvis, Joni Mitchell, and Bob Dylan.
“The man served 40 years in prison/mental health treatment, paid his debt to society,” the hotel’s tweet said.
“Several darlings of indie music had mental health issues + committed violence/tried to kill people. Daniel Johnston for instance attempted murder more than once and tried to crash an airplane.”
For those who don’t know, here is how the Irish Times summed up Johnston’s claim of infamy in 2006:
“Once, after a show at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Texas, Daniel Johnston travelled back to his native West Virginia in a two-seater plane which was being piloted by his father. Halfway through the journey, Daniel took the key from the ignition and threw it out the window. The plane went into a dangerous tailspin as the two passengers wrestled for control of the steering wheel. Miraculously, Daniel’s father managed to crashland, avoiding any serious damage to either party.”
Continuing, the Times noted, “Asked afterwards (as you would) why he had tried to kill his father and himself, Daniel replied that he thought he was Casper The Friendly Ghost. Just before he tried to crash the plane he had been reading a Casper comic book – on the front cover was a picture of Casper parachuting out of a plane.”