Today, it’s 30 years since Ronald Reagan was shot right here in the middle of Washington. He was badly injured but survived, was re-elected, and remained president for eight years.
But another man, who was also shot at the same time. Reagan’s press spokesman Jim Brady, was injured so badly that he that he could never work again. But he and his wife Sarah became leading advocates and spokespeople for gun control in America.
And they were successful. After many years of struggle, Congress passed the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act, in spite of the vehement opposition from the National Rifle Association.
I was reminded of all this in Sarah Brady’s op-ed in the Washington Post today, and about the time in the late 1980s, when I met Jim and Sarah for an interview. We met in their home just outside Washington. Brady, paralyzed and with speech difficulties, showed off his famous fighting spirit and humor. You have to play with the cards you are dealt and I try to do the best I can, he said.
Today, Brady is still in a wheelchair. In America, Columbine happened, and then Tucson. New tragedies. But on gun control, nothing has really happened.
”Some might find it hard to believe that anything will ever change when it comes to gun control in America”, writes Sarah Brady, now chair of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. But she keeps fighting, “for a nation free of gun violence.”
On this issue, President Obama has been quiet, strangely quiet – even after tragedy in Tucson, as well as today. The only time he has broken his silence was in a little noticed recent op-ed in the Arizona Daily Star. Gun control clearly is not a political priority, maybe because, sadly, it is a battle that Obama cannot win in today’s America.