Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords Continues Her Valiant Fight

by Cathy Scott

For more than six months, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was kept in the dark, for her own protection and state of mind, about the deadly fate of six victims shot in the January shooting spree that nearly took her own life.

Now, in one of the most poignant moments in the tragic case comes the revelation that Giffords has learned the names of those who died at the hands of a crazed gunman. Prior to that, the senator was told that people had died, but she did not know who.

The 41-year-old Arizona Democrat learned those names after asking her husband for more details--including naming her personal aide Gabe Zimmerman, her friend U.S. District Judge John Roll, and 9-year-old constituent Christina-Taylor Green.

As one TV commentator put it after the news broke that she now knew, Giffords is not only recovering from her injuries but, on top of that, she is grieving the deaths as if they just happened.

It was not surprising that Giffords sensed there was more to the story she'd been told, especially given her slow but steady recovery and rehabilitation from the debilitating injury to the left side of her brain, caused by a lone bullet to her skull.

Giffords' spokesperson, C.J. Karamargin, confirmed with the Republic that Giffords was given the names just days before her surprise visit to Washington, D.C. in the U.S. House chambers to cast her vote for raising the nation's debt ceiling.

“She was deeply saddened by (the news)," Karamargin told the newspaper.

Giffords, who was wounded along with 12 others on January 8 by a lone gunman as Giffords met with constituents at a shopping center in Tucson, Arizona, has undergone brain surgery, facial reconstruction and therapy to regain her ability to walk and speak.

After she learned the news about her aide, she spoke with Zimmerman’s father, Ross, and personally offered her condolences. Giffords “still has some trouble with language, but there is no question that she can get her point across and her comprehension is 100 percent,” Zimmerman told the Republic. "It was Gabrielle – it was nice to talk to her."

Her would-be accused assassin, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and ruled mentally incompetent to stand trial for the killings and alleged assassination attempt of Giffords. Loughner has been housed at a federal prison in Springfield, Missouri, where since July he has been on forced psychotropic drugs to stabilize his mental condition. His attorney fought unsuccessfully to prevent the medication from being given to his client.

Now that she knows the truth, Giffords is courageously continuing her rehabilitation at a center in Houston, Texas, working hard to improve and reclaim the life the gunman tried to take from her.


Anonymous 79 said...

Gabrielle Giffords is looking and doing fantastic. It is tragic that so many innocent people died, but I am so glad that she was not destroyed by this terrible attack.

Anonymous said...

Great post and thank you for the update on her progress. Hopefully she will recover and continue her important work.