I was saddened to learn today that long-time gun control advocate James Brady had passed away. While I had little love for Brady’s stance on the 2nd amendment, you have to admire someone as fiercely committed to their cause as Brady was.
But I was surprised to hear that his death had been ruled a homicide, and that new charges against John Hinkley, Jr. were being considered.
How in the world can Brady’s death more than 30 years later at the age of 73 – the average life expectancy for an American male born in 1940 according to the Social Security Administration – be ruled a homicide?
Certainly Brady has lived with handicaps due to being shot in 1981, but we’re supposed to believe that there were no other factors? Such as diet? Exercise? Advancing age?
This smacks of politicking. A not-so-veiled attempt to capitalize on the death of Brady for the sake of his signature cause.
But it’s ridiculous. Hinkley was already tried for this crime. Charging him again would certainly transgress the Constitution’s protections against double-jeopardy. And even if he didn’t, proving that Brady’s death at this late stage in his life was the result of the shooting and not other factors would be a mountain for prosecutors to climb.
The standard is beyond a reasonable doubt. Brady’s age at death is reasonable doubt enough.