Monday, August 4, 2014

James Brady Dies at 73

It is the spring of 1981, a rainy afternoon, March 30, 1981, at the Washington Hilton Hotel, near the upscale residences of Adams Morgan and Woodley Park, one mile from the Smithsonian National Zoo; and 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan.

John W. Hinckley Jr., a mentally troubled college dropout hoping to impress the actress Jodie Foster, on whom he is fixated, raises his handgun as Reagan steps out of the hotel after giving a speech.

James Brady and Ronald Reagan

Reagan is hit, as were a Secret Service agent and District of Columbia police officer. But James Brady, with a gunshot to the head, is the most seriously injured. The bullet damaged the right section of his brain, paralyzing his left arm, weakening his left leg, damaging his short-term memory and impairing his speech. Speaking becomes a study in concentration, life becomes "hard as hell." but he perseveres.

Afterwards, he and his wife Sarah became ardent gun control advocates.

Sadly, the shootings continue.

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