Better, stronger, tougher: Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly at TED 2014

Elizabeth (El) Rukeyser Johnson:

Thinking about Gabby Giffords this evening. She’s a walk on water kind of heroine Americans could take a good hard look at, and look up to about now. And Mark Kelly, well, I’m speechless and infinitely grateful for his lead by example.
Let’s say, the tragedies they endured, directly followed by their commitment to public service have placed an itch in my mind.
The causes of concern; each and every contributing element that placed Congressperson Giffords so close to death in a public forum directly at the hands of a person with not a few serious mental disorders, in possession of a lethal weapon is fraught with so many hot political topics it boggles the mind.
No sound byte here.
Got to take this one apart slowly, watching carefully each thread and how it is attached to its adjacent threads, and how those are connected to yet other threads, tethered to a round of agendas, each with a trigger-happy legislator hanging on the other end draped on one side of the fence or the other, ultimately tied in a noose over which indecision moves into place of power and intellectually honest decisions cannot be made. Instead fences, that are drawing up bills fattened with pork bellies…well the setup makes for a platform not unlike a Gordion Knot.
To say “it’s complicated” doesn’t quite compute. Such an interconnected blending of competing, mutually exclusive issues loaded with direct consequences, some of which have proven pathetic failures.
Moral, societal, political, legal, administrative, enforcement, medical, civil rights and their sub-sets of issues have come to bear on what concerns me, and what concerns the Giffords/Kelly voice.
For once, let’s refuse to merely cut the knot, but take some time to find the roots of the matters. Yeah, they’re each connected but there are some fusions that might help us get a template we can work with.
I like to start with consciousness raising and the rights of each and every individual involved. With that we may find a treatment plan for each contribution to the Knot of the Big Picture.

Originally posted on TED Blog:

(L-R) Pat Mitchell interviews Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

(L-R) Pat Mitchell interviews Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. Photo: James Duncan Davidson

In January 2011, US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head in an attack on her entourage at a constituent meeting near Tucson. Six people died and thirteen others were injured. She survived, and her recovery has been a remarkable story. At TED2014 she took the stage with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, for a Q&A with the head of the Paley Center for Media, Pat Mitchell. Giffords suffered from aphasia as part of her injury, and speaking is still difficult, so her answers were short, and much of the speaking was done by Kelly. This is an edited set of highlights from that Q&A.

Pat Mitchell: Has your recovery been an effort to create a new Gabby Giffords or reclaim the old?

Gabby Giffords: A new one, better, stronger, tougher.

What’s the hardest…

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