James S. Brady passed away yesterday. I am saddened by this loss and offer my deepest condolences to the family. I remember very clearly the day Ronald Reagan was shot by John W. Hinckley Jr. and watching all the commotion on the television. We would learn later that it was James Brady, the White House press secretary who was shot in the head. While suffering memory loss, some paralysis that required a wheelchair, and language impairment, Brady eventually prevailed and was transformed by the tragic incident.
Brady became a fierce gun control advocate and used his power and privilege to encourage the nation to look at requiring background checks and waiting periods for gun owners. Fortunately, Brady’s legacy is that of working towards greater gun control and eliminating unnecessary deaths. I can only hope that his death will provide the impetus needed to work even harder at limiting access to guns and take a serious look at groups like Open Carry Texas –w hat good is coming from that? Have we learned nothing from the long and absurd history of gun violence in just the last 33 years?
James Brady was a dedicated public servant who turned his personal tragedy into an opportunity to engage the public in a much-needed conversation. His heroic efforts spurred Congress into taking simple, common-sense action. Sadly, 30 years later we see an even more partisan Congress paralyzed by the historically inaccurate Second Amendment rantings of the Tea Party and the shrill but effective lobbying of the NRA. What does it say about our nation that the shooting of one outspoken man could once lead to needed change but the slaughter of dozens of students and children now motivates us to do nothing?
Let us honor James Brady’s legacy by pausing to reflect on our national discourse around guns and look for meaningful solutions to prevent future tragedy.