Press secretary James Brady — quiet hero

James Brady, my hero, press secretary for President Reagan

James Brady, my hero, press secretary for President Reagan

We all remember where we were when important world events occur. I remember vividly Dec. 7, 1941. (I was a 7-year-old in Hawaii; it was early morning). I remember where I was when President John F. Kennedy was shot in Dallas on Nov. 22, 1963 . (I was at work at The San Diego Union newspaper). And of course the Sept. 11, 2011 attacks on the World Trade Center twin towers. (Margie and I were just waking up, in bed in Honolulu, six time zones earlier).

I also remember where I was on March 30, 1981, the date of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan (at 11:27 a.m. West Coast time). I was in California, at the Stanford Medical Center visiting our daughter Patty, who was battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. (Sadly, Patty only had three more months to live, but that’s another story).

There were no fatalities in the immediate aftermath of the attack on Reagan, but White House Press Secretary James Brady, who was left paralyzed from a gunshot wound, died in 2014. Years earlier, soon after the shooting, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence was organized. And I have been a regular contributor.

Footnotes: Wikipedia reports that the would-be assassin was an obviously troubled young man named John Hinckley, Jr. His motivation was born of his obsession with Jodie Foster. While living in Hollywood in the late 1970s, Hinckley saw the film Taxi Driver at least 15 times, apparently identifying with Travis Bickle, the lead character portrayed by Robert Di Niro. The arc of the story involves Bickle’s attempts to protect a 12-year-old prostitute, played by Jodie Foster.

There’s much more in the Wikipedia report, including the fact Hinckley had begun to stalk President Jimmy Carter and was surprised at how easy it was to get to the president. In fact, Hinckley had been arrested in 1980 at Nashville International Airport for illegal possession of firearms. For more information click here to see the Wikipedia article.



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