Monday, August 4, 2014

In Memoriam, James Brady (1940-2014)

James Brady shakes hands with President Obama
Few people were more visible examples of how a gunshot can change a life than Jim Brady.

The former White House Press Secretary recovered from the head wound that he sustained when John Hinckley tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan, but he was never really the same. 

While one moment of violence changed his life, Brady spent the rest of his life crusading for more gun control so that someone else didn’t end up like him...lying face down on the ground with blood gushing from his head and spending most of the rest of his life confined to a wheelchair. Brady didn’t let John Hinckley stop him. The conservative Republican also didn’t let his friends on the far right stop him.  He eventually won the support of and endorsement of President Reagan.

His advocacy for gun control got the Brady Bill through Congress in 1994 which instituted background checks for people attempting to purchase handguns.  Though there were loopholes, millions of background checks have been performed because of the law, and no doubt countless handguns were kept out of the hands of those that didn't qualify.  

Sarah survives him as well as two grown children. President Reagan and his administration paid Brady his full salary and allowed him to keep the title of Press Secretary after he was shot turning Brady's duties over to deputy secretaries.  It was the right thing to do. The Press Briefing Room at the White House carries Brady's name as well, and it should.  That's because James Brady used his name and his indomitable spirit not to represent Ronald Reagan but to bring change to the United States.

James Brady will be remembered as much as he will be missed. He was 73.

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