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A fine man

Posted: August 5, 2014 10:07 a.m.
Updated: August 6, 2014 5:00 a.m.

The death of James S. Brady earlier this week marked the end of a decades-long saga of courage and dedication; the former presidential press secretary for Ronald Reagan lived more than 33 years after taking a bullet that was intended for the president. Brady was brutally wounded in Washington when a deranged John W. Hinckley Jr. fired a pistol, hoping his false bravado would impress the movie actress Jodie Foster. Reagan came perilously close to dying, but fully recovered; unfortunately, Brady was dogged by pain and disability for the rest of his life.

“What I was, I am not now,” Brady said 13 years after the shooting. “What I was, I will never be again.” He and his wife, Sarah, became advocates for gun control -- never the type of take-no-prisoners legislation that would have abolished Second Amendment rights, but instead lobbying for waiting periods for handgun purchases and pushing against assault weapons. They were successful in some instances, but in others, their efforts were futile.

But through it all, Brady was courageous. He struggled the rest of his life with movement, often confined to a wheelchair; with slurred speech; and with short-term memory problems. The damage to his brain from the close-range shot never fully healed or left him with the abilities he had prior to the shooting. Brady did not win over everybody in his efforts to help control guns, but nobody has disputed his courage, fortitude and sincerity. He was, indeed, a fine man.

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