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John Hinckley is a man infamous for his attempt to assassinate President Ronald Reagan in 1981, shooting him, White House press secretary James Brady, a secret service agent and a police officer. At the time, Hinckley was reportedly obsessed with actress Jodie Foster, and his motive for the assassination attempt was to impress her. Incarcerated for 30 years at a facility for the criminally insane, Hinckley was fully released in 2022 and established an online following after attempting to begin a music career and his "Redemption Tour."
Hinckley was born in Ardmore, Oklahoma on May 29th, 1955. After trying to begin a career as a singer-songwriter, he drifted into a mental health crisis, obsessed with the actress Jodie Foster, the film Taxi Driver, and the novel The Catcher in the Rye.
On March 30th, 1981, Hinckley fired at President Reagan and his entourage outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. He was subsequently imprisoned for 30 years, and during this time became pen pals with serial killer Ted Bundy. In July 2016, Hinckley was released to live with his mother under restrictions. While living with his mother, he started posting videos of himself playing music and singing on YouTube.
On June 15th, 2022, Hinckley was officially released from all restrictions and prison. He posted a tweet announcing his freedom on that day (seen below), which earned almost 40,000 likes over eight months.
2022 Redemption Tour
Hinckley attempted to embark upon a so-called Redemption Tour in 2022 to play his music for the public, but this effort has so far proven unsuccessful, with five venues canceling on Hinckley after booking him.
John Hinckley Community
In a July 17th, 2022, tweet (seen below) that received over 2,000 likes in two months, Hinckley announced his intention to start a website and asked interested fans to send a photo of themselves because he wanted it to “make the website a community.”
In a July 25th, 2022, tweet (seen below) that received over 33,000 likes in a little over a month, Hinckley described the values he wanted to guide the community.
By August 1st, 2022, in a tweet (seen below, top) that received just over 2,800 likes, Hinckley shared that his community had grown to over one hundred people, the majority of them young. On September 1st, 2022, Hinckley tweeted the official flag of his community and received almost 4,000 likes (seen below, bottom).
On August 25th, 2022, Hinckley shared that the community’s website was live. In the description of the page, Hinckley describes the site’s mission this way:
The John Hinckley Community is a refuge from this wicked world. We are a place where you can feel safe and cherished. The world will laugh at you and mock you and disown you. But the John Hinckley Community will embrace you and give you all the love you need. I write songs to help people get through their days and nights. My songs are uplifting and inspirational because my heart is full of love. I’ve overcome so much adversity, so much negativity, and now I am free to live my life, to give back to the world. I am being met with nothing but resistance when it comes to finding a music venue that won’t back down. I sell out venues and then they cancel on me because they get some backlash. All I’m trying to do is sing my songs and redeem myself through my music. But I’ve only been met with a cancel culture in the music business. I have my fans and supporters. They make up the John Hinckley Community. Our members are free spirits, open to the belief that I am a changed man. The John Hinckley Community believes me when I tell them that everything will be alright. We will overcome the evil in this country and live in peace and harmony. I’m currently looking for a place where the John Hinckley Community can gather and live. If you can help out, let me know. Write me at email@example.com I want to find a sanctuary for my community members. Better days are ahead for the John Hinckley Community.
The John Hinckley community has not inspired a massive response on the broader internet, but every tweet put out by Hinckley about the community receives replies ranging from condemnations of Hinckley to ironic embraces of his ideas. For example, Twitter user @coffeefoxo shared their affection for the community in a July 25th tweet (seen below) which received 25 likes.
Hinckley established his Twitter account in October 2021, which had over 51,000 followers as of September 2022, and his YouTube account on November 3rd, 2020, which gained over 1.15 million views over the course of two years. The John Hinckley Community website also went up on July 17th, 2022.
John Hinckley Redemption Tour
The John Hinckley Redemption Tour refers to a series of music events and concerts starring John Hinckley who's best known for attempting to assassinate former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in 1981. A venue in New York City called Market Hotel canceled Hinckley's show in June 2022 due to controversy and backlash. Many memes and reactions ensued on social media as Hinckley's online presence on Twitter and YouTube grew after being freed from jail. Additionally, Hinckley was featured in a CBS interview about his tour and being released from prison.
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