Editorial: Remarkable recovery
Rep. Gabrielle ěGabbyî Giffords has three goals: to get better; have a baby with her astronaut husband, Mark Kelly; and return to her seat in Congress.
We wish her the best of luck in achieving all three.
Last January, the Arizona Democrat, now 41, was shot point-blank in the head by a deranged man who also killed six people at a Tucson shopping center. The feds are now trying to medicate the suspect enough so that he is mentally capable of standing trial.
Giffords, meantime, has been through an excruciating process of rehabilitation ó restoring her memory; her ability to talk; her eyesight; her skull, from which a piece had to be temporarily removed. Basically, she had to learn to be Gabby Giffords all over again.
She did not leave the rehabilitation hospital until June, with a brief furlough in May to see the launch of the space shuttle that her husband commanded. Her appearances have since become more frequent ó such as an Aug. 1 appearance on the House floor to vote in favor of raising the debt ceiling; another visit to Washington for her husbandís retirement ceremony; a trip to Asheville, N.C., for more intensive therapy.
Giffords looked and sounded pretty good in an interview with ABCís Diane Sawyer televised this week, although she struggles with longer sentences.
Incapacity is not a total disqualifier for Congress. Sen. Tim Johnson, D-S.D., was out for 10 months following brain surgery and still had speech issues when he returned. Their constituents returned Sens. Strom Thurmond, R-S.C., and Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., to office even though both had clearly been incapacitated by age.
Giffords must decide this spring whether she will run again. If she feels up to it, we hope she does. Not because of her politics. That’s up to her Arizona constituents. But as a testament, proven too many times, unfortunately, to American democracy’s capacity to weather tragedy and continue as a government of the people. A gunshot may change much, but it canít be allowed to change that.
ó Scripps Howard News Service