Marshall J. Brown was a reporter from a time when reporters were reporters and not journalists. According to his obituary in the Buffalo News, he passed away yesterday after an extended battle with multiple system atrophy, a neurological disease. He was 78 and had spent much of his career as the police beat reporter for the old Buffalo Courier-Express.
Mr. Brown came from a newspaper family. His father and two uncles were editors with United Press International (UPI). He started out as a copy boy with the old NY Herald-Tribune, received a degree in journalism from New York University, and began his career at the Lockport (NY) Union-Sun & Journal.
His obituary states that he received a number of awards from the Associated Press for his reporting. These awards, however, were not his most prized awards. He reserved that for his James Madison Award For Journalism from the Second Amendment Society.
A fellow reporter from a competing newspaper had this to say about Mr. Brown:
“Marsh was a feisty, hard-nosed old-time newsman, like one of the characters you’d see in an old movie like ‘The Front Page,’ ” said Buffalo News reporter Dan Herbeck, who worked with Mr. Brown at Buffalo Police Headquarters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. “He carried a gun when he was on the job, sometimes beat the police to crime scenes. On more than one occasion, he conducted his own investigations and helped the police solve crimes.”Can you imagine any of the modern-day authorized journalists doing this?
Herbeck said he will never forget the time he and Mr. Brown in 1982 – both police reporters for Buffalo’s two competing newspapers – decided to go out and have lunch together. They were walking toward a small diner when a waitress came running outside, spattered with blood and screaming, “Help, he killed Ellie!”
“Marsh grabbed his gun out of the holster and we went running inside. This poor waitress was on the floor, bleeding to death,” Herbeck recalled. “A mental patient who had recently been released from a psychiatric center had jumped over the counter, grabbed a knife and began stabbing this poor woman. Then he ran out of the place. Marsh and I ran outside, looking for the guy, but he was long gone. The police came and we told them what happened.”
Mr. Brown was a Life Member of the NRA and was a longtime vice-president of New York's Shooters Committee on Political Education. He also was a member of the Second Amendment Foundation, Gun Owners of America, Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, and the Holland Rod and Gun Club. He was a certified NRA firearms instructor as well as a three-time NY State pistol champion in various categories.
Rest in peace, Mr. Brown. The likes of you will almost never be seen anymore and more's the pity.