I wrote last week that former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly were traveling to Newtown to speak with the families whose lives had been ripped apart by the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The meeting, which took place last Friday, was reported by the Newtown Bee:
The group spoke about "what we as a society feel, what difference can we make given the horrific things that have happened," [First Selectman Pat] Llodra said. They considered, "How do we have a greater good come out of it? We talked about gun control, mental health, and society's desensitization to violence."Gabby and her husband have already spoken out about the easy availability of dangerous weapons, especially here in Arizona, where Mr. Kelly singled out Gov. Jan Brewer by name for some pointed criticism. So the Newtown meeting, following their earlier visit with NYC Mayor Bloomberg, seemed to be further evidence that Gabby may be ready to play a larger role in the national conversation about gun safety—to at least keep the topic front and center. After the Aurora shooting, Mr. Kelly said that America would, once again, likely do nothing in the wake of another mass murder, and it appears we did—do nothing. Sandy Hook, though, seems not to have faded so easily from the nation's memory, and a debate in Congress and the public appears imminent.
Mrs Llodra said, "I think what ends up in a meeting with [Ms Giffords] and other important people is that we need to use our voice to make a change, a stoking of that commitment." The time to act in the wake of the school shootings is now. "We have to leverage that experience, and the world will listen to us, but we have to move quickly."
It's hard to think of a better couple to help stir that dialog: she a former Congresswoman and victim of assault weapons in a Tucson parking lot, he a decorated Navy pilot during Desert Storm and celebrated astronaut. They bring cred, understanding, and passion. So I was heartened to read that the two of them will speak about a "new initiative" tomorrow, which is the second anniversary of the Jan. 8, 2011 Tucson tragedy:
ABC says Giffords and retired astronaut Mark Kelly will speak during the interview about a new initiative they're launching. The network didn't specify what the initiative would aim to do... The interview by anchor Diane Sawyer will air at 6:30 p.m. ET Tuesday.I knew Gabby when she was the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislature, only 30, so it's wonderful to see her back on the national stage just two years after the Tucson shooting. Perhaps this initiative will give legs to their criticisms of mental health funding and gun safety (in a state that's cut mental health programs at the same time it's loosened gun laws). Let's hear Wayne LaPierre call Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly extremists who want to take your guns away. Oh, I'm sure he will. Maybe he can borrow Sarah Palin's crosshairs.