Would-Be Reagan Assassin John Hinckley Jr. Leads A Strange Post-Release Life

Culture | November 13, 2019

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on fence wall in front of the White House. The picture is undated, but believed to have been taken less than a year before his attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. Source: Bettman / Cuntributor / Getty

When Ronald Reagan was shot on March 30, 1981 the world was stunned. Who could have committed such a violent act? The man behind the gun was John Hinckley Jr., a mentally unstable young man who allegedly wanted to impress Jodie Foster. His attack injured four people: a Secret Service agent, a police officer and White House press secretary James Brady, as well as President Reagan, and earned him 25 years of psychiatric care.

In 2016 he was released from a psychiatric institute (he was found not guilty by reason of insanity), but he was given strict orders for life on the outside world. Some of them, like not having access to firearms, make sense. Other stipulations for his release are much more weirdly specific. 

 He has to live with his 90 year old mother

source: Wikimedia Commons

After his release from psychiatric care Hinckley was moved into his 90 year old mother’s home under orders from the federal government. This wasn’t a sudden move, but rather one that they’d been preparing him for prior to his release. Leading up to his life out of the facility Hinckley spent selected days out of the institution and in the care of his mother under strict conditions. In 2019 it was reported that Hinckley’s plans to move out of the home changed after his mother suffered a minor fall. He decided to stay in her home and perform most of the household duties. He even shops for much of the groceries and drives his mother and brother to their appointments. 

He has to live near Williamsburg, Virginia

source: upi

If Hinckley ever moves out of his mother’s home he can’t just zoom across the country without telling anyone. He doesn’t have to wear an ankle monitor or have a tracker placed on his car, but he does have to keep a smart phone with GPS on him at all times whenever he’s away from his house.

The LA Times reported in 2019 that Hinckley’s still living at home with his mother and brother, but if he ever decides to move he has to stay in a 75 mile radius of Williamsburg, Virginia, and continue meeting with his doctors on a bi-monthly basis while maintaining his group and individual therapy sessions. 

His Internet access is severely restricted

source: reddit

Don’t expect to “like” or “fave” any of John Hinckley’s statuses any time soon. When it comes to the internet, the would-be presidential assassin is on a very short leash. He’s not allowed to seek out information about himself, his crimes, or his victims, and he’s not allowed to have social media presence whatsoever. Hinckley is allowed to have email access, but he has to provide the federal government with the passwords to whatever accounts he has. As he progresses beyond his initial release his restrictions may change somewhat, although it’s not likely that he’ll ever be allowed on social media. 

Hinckley can’t come into any contact with adult media

source: reddit

According to his initial release statement as reported on by the Washington Post, Hinckley has a ton of weird restrictions on the type of media he can consume post release. He’s not allowed to look at pornography online or in print, and any and all internal or external storage media (CD-roms, cassette tapes, hard drives, etc) are subject to search and seizure by the U.S. government. He’s also not allowed to listen to any music that might rile him up or make him feel violent. It seems as if these restrictions are in place to keep him as chill as possible. 

There are no shooting ranges in Hinckley’s future

source: the independent

This is an obvious one, the main restriction that’s a part of Hinckley’s release is that he’s not allowed to own any firearms, ammunitions, or anything that can even be misconstrued as a weapon. While it’s not mentioned, it’s likely that he’s not able to research weapons or firearms or any kind while online. That would definitely be a major violation of his parole. It’s not entirely clear what would happen to Hinckley if he ordered a subscription to Soldier of Fortune, but it would probably result in his return to psychiatric care. That being said, from all reports Hinckley doesn’t sound like he’s interested in getting into weaponry of any kind. 

He works in an antique mall

source: reddit

Hinckley is allowed to work per his release, but the restrictions placed on his lifestyle are affecting his plans of operating a stall in a small antiques mall near his home. According to the LA Times he’s been semi-anonymously selling antiques for a minor windfall of hundreds of dollars for a while, but he’d like to venture into selling books online - something that’s against the terms of his release. As of 2019 the government is still working out the details of Hinckley moving his business online. According to people who frequent the antique mall, Hinckley is a fairly normal guy who keeps a low profile. 

Tags: Assassination | Jodie Foster | John Hinckley Jr. | Ronald Reagan

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Jacob Shelton


Jacob Shelton is a Los Angeles based writer. For some reason this was the most difficult thing he’s written all day, and here’s the kicker – his girlfriend wrote the funny part of that last sentence. As for the rest of the bio? That’s pure Jacob, baby. He’s obsessed with the ways in which singular, transgressive acts have shaped the broader strokes of history, and he believes in alternate dimensions, which means that he’s great at a dinner party. When he’s not writing about culture, pop or otherwise, he’s adding to his found photograph collection and eavesdropping on strangers in public.