John Hinckley, Jr., the would-be assassin who shot and seriously injured then-president Ronald Reagan in 1981, has been applying for jobs at Starbucks and Subway, the Daily Mail is reporting.
Hinckley, now 60, has spent the better part of three decades at St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Washington, D.C. Over the past few years, he’s steadily been given more freedom, including being allowed to be away from the hospital for stretches of up to 17 days at a time. During those stays, he lives with his elderly mother in Williamsburg, Virginia; if he’s ever released, which seems increasingly likely, the judge will likely order him to live at his mother’s home.
Though he’s been barred from talking to the media, court documents made available this week — consisting mostly of transcripts of interviews with his psychiatrists — reveal the goals, dreams, and frustrations of the notorious criminal who has spent three decades in a mental hospital, and who has his freedom within reach.
What Hinckley wants most, according to the New York Daily News, is a “normal life” and to be able to “fit in.” He’s applied for volunteer positions — at a botanical garden, a humane society, the law library at the College of William and Mary — but his past has gotten in the way.
“[A volunteer position at the law library] would have been a great gig for me. But when it gets to a certain level and my name gets brought up, my reputation gets in the way and I hit another road block.”
He’s also applied for paying jobs, at both Starbucks and Subway, but apparently the Secret Service rained on his parade.
“[Two agents were] watching and listening to every little thing. That just bummed me out once that started happening. It made me feel awkward and uncomfortable.”
Hinckley apparently feels some degree of remorse for his crimes; particularly, the death of James Brady, Reagan’s then-press secretary, who died in 2014.
“Brady’s death, you know, it got me to thinking about what I did to this man. It really did. You know, that I so diminished his life, that for so many years he was in pain, he just didn’t have the life he would have had … It made me wish I could take it back but it is what happened. I have tremendous remorse.”
Lacking a job or a volunteer opportunity, Hinckley spends what time he has away from the hospital driving around — he was given permission to drive — and buying CDs. When he can afford it, he takes his mother out to eat at Ruby Tuesday’s. When he’s back in the hospital, he participates in group therapy, and awaits the day he may finally be given his freedom — or something akin to it.
Do you think John Hinckley, Jr. deserves a second chance at a normal life? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
[Image courtesy of: Wikimedia Commons]