Jim Brady, the former press secretary to Ronald Reagan died Aug. 4, 33 years after he was shot in an attempted assassination of the president.
Having suffered a severe brain injury, no one would have blamed Jim and his wife Sarah if they had chosen to live out of the rest of their lives in quiet comfort. But instead, they worked tirelessly for gun reform. They founded the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, whose major achievement was to pass The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act requiring federal background checks on gun purchases.
A week after Jim Brady's death, a direct mail appeal came across my desk from the Brady Campaign. And while it is a good effort, nothing can compare to the powerful, dramatic, and honest words of Jim Brady himself in the long time Grand Control mailing that was featured in "The Secrets of Emotional Hot-Button Copywriting."
The copy driver is anger. Here are some passages:
"I'm sitting here in my wheelchair today, trying to control my anger, but without much success.
"More than thirty years after the assassination attempt on President Reagan left me confined to a wheelchair, dozens of other lives have been affected by other catastrophic and unnecessary shootings in Aurora, Colorado and Oak Creek, Wisconsin.
"And still our leaders do nothing to close the legal loopholes ...
"But here's exactly what makes me so angry:
"Over 30 years after I was shot, even though laws have since been passed requiring criminal background checks on handguns purchased through licensed dealers ... there still exists a terrible and deadly loophole. It's called the 'gun show loophole.'
"A loophole that could be responsible for killing someone you love."
This personal, heartfelt 4-page letter is also well designed with short sentences, indented paragraphs, and underlines to help the reader along and drive them to take action by signing a petition and making a donation.