Gabby Giffords Skydives for Three Year Anniversary of Shooting

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 8 2014 11:25 AM

Gabby Giffords: Fight Against Gun Violence Is Like Rehab

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U.S. Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) (L) and former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) attend the dedication ceremony of the Gabriel Zimmerman Meeting Room in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center April 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. A member of Giffords' Congressional staff, Gabriel Zimmerman was murdered during a shooting spree January 8, 2011 that left six dead and 13 injured, including Giffords.

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Three years after being shot in the head at a campaign event in Arizona, in an attack which left six dead and wounded 12 others, Gabby Giffords is going skydiving. ABC’s Today show, which revealed the news, will air the jump exclusively on Thursday.

Far from high-flying stunts, the former U.S. representative writes in a New York Times op-ed that she has spent much of the last three years, “learning how to talk again, how to walk again. I had to learn to sign my name with my left hand.”

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But that “gritty, painful, frustrating work” in its endless repetition and slow progress, according to Giffords, has helped her understand another battle, the fight against gun violence. She writes how the shooting at Sandy Hook elementary renewed her will:

“I asked myself, if simply completing a normal day requires so much work, how would I ever be able to fulfill a larger purpose? The killing of children at the school in Sandy Hook a little over a year ago gave me my answer. It shocked me, it motivated me, and frankly, it showed me a path. …
Our fight is a lot more like my rehab. Every day, we must wake up resolved and determined. We’ll pay attention to the details; look for opportunities for progress, even when the pace is slow.”

Giffords suggests stricter penalities for gun trafficking, making it illegal for domestic abusers to buy guns, extending mental health resources, and—the big prize—expanding background checks.

Read the full op-ed, which is beautifully written, over at the New York Times.

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