As I write this, I'm at my favorite place in the whole world, the living room of my house on the Delmarva Peninsula, a broad spit of land surrounded by water - the Atlantic Ocean on one side, the Chesapeake Bay on the other. I love this place because of the serenity it gives me and my husband, Jim. That's funny: Thirty years ago, we went to great lengths, he and I, to avoid serenity. Our lives were great adventures.
Jim rose to the top of his professional world. If you're a press secretary, the best you can ever rise to is to speak for the President of the United States. I am very proud of him, and I know how proud Jim was to serve. His disappointment about his career being shattered is still apparent. On the other hand, anyone who has a conversation with Jim finds out what a clever and quick wit he possesses.
This past Sunday, I read a fascinating story in the New York Times Sunday magazine about a young baseball player who rose through the ranks - little league, high school baseball, college ball, the minor leagues, and finally got his big day, being called up to play for the Chicago Cubs. He was sent in to pinch hit. He was thrilled. The crowd was enormous. His mother and father were in the stands. And the first pitch thrown was a fastball that hit him in the head.
Instantly, his career was shattered by a head injury. He has struggled since to realize his dream. But he's still a fighter, and he'll never give up.
Wow - did that story ever resonate with my husband. On top of all the other odd similarities, Jim's a huge Cubs fan.
They call press secretaries "flaks" behind the scenes, because you're expected to "take the flak" for the boss. In war, "taking flak" means being shot at. And in 1981, Jim literally did get shot, along with President Ronald Reagan, by a lunatic who shouldn't have been allowed to buy a gun.
Jim lived, but his recovery was long and hard and incomplete. He'll be in a wheelchair forever, and he's in pain frequently.
The terrible ordeal he went through led to the passage of the Brady Law, and we're both very proud and we're eternally grateful for all the members of Congress - Republican and Democrat, Conservative and Liberal - who voted for it. But there's more work to do.
There is a broad misunderstanding in our country that the way criminals get guns is by breaking into houses and stealing them. And sure, that happens sometimes. But mostly, they buy them, from people who buy them from gun dealerships expressly for the purpose of reselling them to criminals for a profit, to get around the Brady Law.
We have to stop this. And we know how to stop it.
Please, on this anniversary that for Jim and I is like an annual headache, call your member of Congress and tell them to join the fight against illegal gun trafficking. And I mean all of you. Even the gun rights supporters who I know are reading this. This is not a threat to legitimate gun owners - if we close the loopholes that criminals use to get guns, we'll all be safer.
Thanks for letting me visit with you all today. I'll read your comments as the day goes on.
(Note to readers: this blog entry, as well as past blog entrees, are co-posted on www.bradycampaign.org)