Edward Welles, early Brady director, dies
Edward Welles, a former OSS/CIA officer who became first Executive Director of what is now the Brady Campaign, has died at age 85.
Brady started out as ... if I remember correctly, the National Council to Control Handguns. It was a very small group until Welles landed Pete Shields, a DuPont vice president, as his replacement. Shields knew organization and PR and put it on the map. In the process, its name changed to Handgun Control Incorporated (because its previous name, and acronym, was too easily confused with National Coalition to Ban Handguns, the other large antigun group). Later Shields recruited the Bradys, after his retirement they named it after themselves.
One of my beefs, BTW, is that the Brady Campaign's website and literature barely acknowledges that Shields existed -- before Brady, there was nothing -- when actually he was the creator of the group as it is today. His counterpart would be Harlon Carter, who largely created the NRA as it is today, and NRA has no trouble remembering him -- he's an honorary life member, the HQ building is named for him, his bronze bust in the its hall, his memory is invoked at every annual meeting. I have trouble understanding why Brady doesn't honor the fellow who put it on the map.
I have trouble understanding why Brady doesn't honor the fellow who put it on the map.
Well, I may be giving the NRA and organizations like it too much credit here; but I would think the Bradys don't honor Shields -- for example, as the NRA honors Harlon Carter -- because the aforementioned organizations would seize on that infamous quote from Shields:
We're going to have to take one step at a time, and the first step is necessarily — given the political realities — going to be very modest. Of course, it's true that politicians will then go home and say, 'This is a great law. The problem is solved.' And it's also true that such statements will tend to defuse the gun-control issue for a time. So then we'll have to strengthen that law, and then again to strengthen that law, and maybe again and again. Right now, though, we'd be satisfied not with half a loaf but with a slice. Our ultimate goal — total control of handguns in the United States — is going to take time. My estimate is from seven to ten years. The problem is to slow down the increasing number of handguns sold in this country. The second problem is to get them all registered. And the final problem is to make the possession of all handguns and all handgun ammunition — except for the military, policemen, licensed security guards, licensed sporting clubs, and licensed gun collectors — totally illegal."
...and use it more than they do, to hammer home the fact that The Organization Formerly Known As Handgun Control is not quite as moderate as they'd like to make the public think. You know how it would go -- "Look what this guy had the audacity to say, out loud, and look at the place of honor he holds in their organization!"
Posted by: the pistolero at October 23, 2006 03:39 PM