Arthur Bremer: Where is George Wallace’s Shooter Now?

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Netflix’s biographical drama, ‘Shirley’ follows Shirley Chisholm’s bid for the Presidential race. Being a Black woman in the 1970s, she is told by everyone that her dream would never become a reality and she must stop pursuing it. However, adamant about her ambition, Shirley doesn’t pay any heed to her haters. Rather, she shows kindness and compassion, even to her worst enemy. In an inspiring move on her part, she visits George Wallace, a Republican candidate known for his racist leaning, when he is shot during one of his rallies. While we know that Wallace’s real-life counterpart turned his life around after this near-death experience, many wonder what happened to the shooter.

Arthur Bremer Prefers a Private Life Today

Now in his 70s, Arthur Bremer enjoys a life out of the media spotlight, preferring privacy to the notoriety earned by his actions. He resides in Cumberland, Maryland, where he has been since he got out of prison and is on parole until 2025 when his 35-year sentence ends, and he will be a free man. As of now, he is under the supervision of the Maryland Division of Parole and Probation. Per the conditions of his release, he cannot leave the state without proper authorization from the law, is under electronic monitoring, and keeps a distance from politicians or any person elected into office. A regular mental health evaluation is also mandatory for him.

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Before Bremer became infamous for the assassination attempt on George Wallace, he lived in Milwaukee. His father was a truck driver, and his mother was a homemaker. Described as socially awkward from a young age, he was enrolled at a technical college where he took photography lessons. He also briefly worked as a busboy. After a heartbreak, he turned his attention towards drastic things, which eventually led him to shoot politicians. He had first set his eyes on President Nixon. He had even followed the President to Ottawa but eventually gave up on the plan when he found the security tightening around his target.

Once Nixon was out of the picture, Bremer turned his attention towards George Wallace, who, at that point, was known for being vocal about his racist policies. Calling Wallace a “segregationist dinosaur,” Bremer was concerned about targeting him because he didn’t think Wallace was high-profile enough. Still, whatever reservations he may have had, 21-year-old Bremer went forward with his plan and shot Wallace on May 15, 1972, at a rally in Laurel, Maryland. He shot five rounds, and three other people were hurt, in addition to the 52-year-old, though none of their injuries were as serious as the politician’s, who was permanently paralyzed below the waist.

Bremer was immediately arrested and was just as quickly found guilty of the crime. He pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but it didn’t help his case. He was sentenced to 63 years in prison, which was reduced to 53 years after an appeal. Called a “model prisoner,” Bremer was found to be quiet during his time behind bars. He “kept to himself and stayed out of trouble,” according to the prison staff. He also worked as a teacher’s aide and was diligent in his duties, no matter what the situation. He first applied for parole in 1997, which he was denied. But another appeal worked, and he received an early release and got out of prison on November 9, 2007. He was 57 years old at the time.

While Bremer has preferred not to talk to the media and has barely said anything in public since his arrest, he did have a part of his journal published, under the title ‘An Assassin’s Diary,’ in 1973. The other half was sold in an auction. In 1976, ‘Taxi Driver,’ loosely inspired by him, written by Paul Schrader, directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Robert De Niro, was released. Schrader revealed that while De Niro’s character is not directly based on Bremer, he did borrow some points from Bremer’s story. Bremer’s influence extended to John Hinckley Jr., who, in 1981, shot President Ronald Reagan and was found to have been in possession of a copy of Bremer’s diary.

Hollywood is not the only industry to have cashed in on Bremer’s infamy. In 2015, the gun with which he shot Wallace was put on sale by the Rock Island Auction Co. in Illinois and was sold to an anonymous bidder for $28,750, though the authorities claimed that they’d try to get it back. Whatever may have happened to the gun, Bremer’s influence in history and pop culture, like the auction, the movies, and the Presidential assassination, show how impactful his actions are. While he wishes to leave that part behind completely, his name has been etched in history, and this is what he will always be remembered for.

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