Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
On September 6, 2012, Arizona’s former Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords leads the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina. On January 8, 2011, an assassination attempt was made on her life during a meeting in Tucson, Arizona. While others were killed during the shooting, she was critically injured but survived. On January 22, 2012, Gabrielle Giffords announced her resignation from her congressional seat to continue her recovery.
During the days and hours preceding Gabrielle Giffords’ arrival, the delegates and guests were revved up by the speakers outlining The Democratic Party platform and virtues of reelecting Barack Obama as president of the United States. A magic and emotional moment came when Gabrielle Giffords began to walk toward center stage.
There were uproars of tears and cheers as she was being escorted. When she first uttered the first words, there was silence. As he continued, others joined in. From the delegates to the media people, tears were flowing as they join her in the pledge. The tears and cheers continued as she walked away. Her movement and speech clearly showed the tragic results of the shooting. It was the most moving event of the convention. How can one not feel anything during those few minutes?
The NRA, gun lobbyists, right-wing conservative tea baggers, and Republicans running for office are amazingly quiet when tragedies involving guns occur. The Gabrielle Giffords’ shooting and killings, the recent murders in a movie theatre, the killings at high schools and colleges do not seem to concern them too much. They only come alive or get concerned when somebody mentions any way of controlling the availability of guns.
Somehow, they feel that their rights to ‘bear arms’ are being taken away from them. In addition, they feel that President Obama is trying to do away with the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. Some may feel that their right to hunt for food or sport will also be taken away. The NRA is infamous for stating, “Guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” They act as if this statement removes any fault from the availability of guns. Actually, the type of gun control that some propose, does not reflect these ‘feelings.’ It has also become a false political issue to portray Obama as being against the right to bear arms. (In reality, Obama has not made strong statements against gun ownership or proposing much stricter laws to control the selling of guns.)
Party affiliation, ideology, or demographics does not and should not have anything to do with protecting the innocent from crazed people with guns. The ease and affordability of obtaining guns and other weapons is the problem. Democrats, Republican, and all citizens should come together to make and changes in the law to protect every citizen of the United States. Political Partisanism should not be a reason in making decisions about protecting our citizens. It has been accomplished in the past.
On March 30, 1981, John Hinckley Jr. opened fire on Republican President Ronald Reagan just outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. President Reagan was shot by one bullet, which punctured his lung. Three others were also injured in the shooting. James Brady, assistant to the president and White House Press Secretary was one of the injured and became permanently disabled during the assassination attempt. He was shot in the head by one bullet.
James Brady, along with his wife, Sarah, became gun control advocates and lobbied for stricter gun control and assault weapons restrictions. On November 30, 1993, Democratic President Bill Clinton signed into law the Brady Handgun-Control Bill. The Bill was named the Brady Bill in James Brady’s honor. President Clinton also honored James Brady in 1996 with the Presidential Medal of Honor.
This, by far, is the most dramatic and positive reaction to the widespread gun use by criminals, the misguided, and the insane in the United States. It took twelve years, but at least there was a reaction and a positive outcome from both sides of the political aisle. The assassination attempt on the life of Gabrielle Giffords, reminds us of the attempt made on the life of President Gerald R. Ford in 1975 and the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. In 1968, the brother of the late president and former U.S. Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy, was also assassinated.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ tragic shooting in 2011 and her courageous and moving appearance at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, should remind us all that many of these tragedies can be prevented. If we care enough about innocent lives being destroyed or tragically changed forever, we need to do all we can do to prevent it. It starts with common sense dialogue. Politics, race, religion, or demographics should have nothing to do with it. This is a great nation! We love our nation. Let us turn our tears into action. If we really want to make this nation a more perfect union, let us work together to make sure nothing like the recent tragedies happen again.