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Bradburd examines heroism and gun violence in his latest book

Courtesy Michael Gaylord James
Author Rus Bradburd and Shawn Harrington

One of the authors expected to be at Tucson Festival of Books is Rus Bradburd, an author of four books, including, most recently, “All the Dreams We’ve Dreamed.”

The book follows a former basketball player that former assistant coach Bradburd coached at New Mexico State University, Shawn Harrington, who exerienced gun violence at a stop light in Chicago. 

Harrington was part of a mix-up when gang members mistook his car for someone else’s. While the bullets were flying at Shawn’s car, his paternal instincts propelled him to push his daughter down and cover her up with his body. 

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Harrington survived, but fractured two vertebra.

Shawn Harrington coaching
Shawn Harrington coaching

Bradburd believed this was an important story and one of the most difficult ones he has written so far. 

“It’s the most personable book of mine that hits the hardest, and it was the most emotional for me to write,” Bradburd said. 

The book has had its fair share of support, and many people have reached out to the author to appreciate him for sharing Harrington’s story. 

“That act of astonishing heroism, I think, has really captivated people. He reacted like a war hero, and I think that’s what has captivated peoples’ heart,” Bradburd said. 

Even though Bradburd and Harrington lost touch over the 20-year period after their partnership ended at New Mexico State University, when Bradburd heard about Harrington being shot, he made sure to reach out and check on his former player. 

Bradburd then worked to raise awareness of Harrington’s courageous act by trying to get his story out. 

Harrington’s story was getting ignored and seen as just another person that got shot. He said he realized the best thing to do was publish the story so it could garner the attention that it deserved. 

“It originally started with me advocating to media friends of mine, friends of mine who were basketball media people, to write about him in order to help with fundraisers and raise money for his healthcare,” Bradburd said. “After about a year of advocating for him, I just thought, ‘All right, it’s time to man up and do this myself.’”

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