Gabby Giffords: What I've Gained

Physical recovery gives hope against odds
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2014 10:51 AM CST
Gabby Giffords: What I've Gained
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, left, and her husband Mark Kelly appear at a news conference in Saratoga Springs, NY, on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2013.   (AP Photo/Tim Roske)

On the third anniversary of Gabrielle Giffords' shooting, the former congresswoman writes that "many may look at me and see mostly what I have lost": the ease of speaking, strong eyesight, a right arm and leg that move. But in an op-ed for the New York Times, Giffords for the first time reveals one of the things she's since gained with "gritty, painful, frustrating work, every day": movement in her right arm. "Three years ago, I did not imagine my arm would move again," she writes, but her commitment paid off—and in her Times piece, she speaks of her renewed commitment to her "larger purpose."

That larger purpose became clear after the shooting at Sandy Hook. "It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path": fighting to reduce gun violence while maintaining her position as a "proud gun owner." A divided Congress prevented a Senate background check bill from passing (much, she notes again, to her "outrage"), reaffirming the apparent impossibility of success. But in rehab, "I’ve seen grit overcome paralysis," Giffords notes. The hurdles to new gun laws—she'd like to see ones barring domestic abusers from buying guns and imposing harsh penalties on gun traffickers—can be surmounted in the same way as her right arm's paralysis has been: "step by step." Click for her full piece. (More Gabrielle Giffords stories.)

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