Astronaut Mark Kelly wrote about his wife Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford on his facebook page. “It is hard to believe that only one month has passed since Gabrielle was shot. The doctors say she is recovering at lightning speed considering her injury but they aren’t kidding when they say this is a marathon process,” Kelly is confident that his decision to command Endeavour’s final mission is in line with what Gabby would want. He hopes that Giffords will be able to see him lift off at the platform.
Kelly will be away from his wife for almost four weeks because astronauts are quarantined two weeks before the mission in order to prevent illnesses.
Since the bullet entered the left side of Giffords’ brain, doctors were concerned about her ability to regain speech, comprehension and hearing.
“Brain injury patients who regain speech typically begin to do so about four to six weeks after the incident,” according to Dr. Richard Riggs, chair of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. However, Riggs doesn’t give a “goal line” because he says “it’s really unknown.” Riggs isn’t treating the Congresswoman.
Katherine Sullivan, president of the neurology section of the American Physical Therapy Association, thinks that it is unlikely that Giffords can speak more than one or two words at the moment but is not surprised at Giffords’ medical progress since she has seen “the most miraculous things.”
The January shooting has understandably spooked members of Congress, who now have increased security at their events. According to the New York Times, California Rep. Loretta Sanchez won’t walk her usual route but ride it in the car. At Florida Rep. Steve Sutherland’s town-hall meeting, police officers in uniform were present as well as undercover police officers. Colorado Rep. Ed Perlmutter’s “Government in the Grocery” was postponed after the supermarket raised safety concerns.
President Obama omitted the issue of gun control in the State of the Union Speech. He did, however, mention Giffords, and so did Congressman Paul Ryan in the Republican response. Republicans and Democrats broke tradition and sat next to each other at the State of the Union Speech in an attempt to display unity among them especially since opponents of both sides of the political playing field blamed each other of the war -style rhetoric they believed led to the Tuscon shooting at that time.
Keith Olbermann delivered an emotional apology after the shooting because he feared that he may have said something wrong too. Olbermann contributed to Giffords’ campaign and his temporary suspension associated with it proves that he thinks highly of the Congresswoman.
Giffords is a supporter of health care reform; her office was vandalized after the new Health Care Plan has passed. Republicans have repealed the reform and the shooting could only temporary stop the heated debate around that issue.
Jared Loughner is currently charged in federal court with the attempted murder of the Congresswomen and two of her aides. He is not expected to testify but police seized damaging video taped messages from his computer. After federal charges, Loughner may face state charges. However, the classification of people who attended Giffords’ event in two categories between private citizen and federal officials is concerning. Declaring the ground the shooting occurred as federal ground seems to be a good suggestion by an unnamed investigator in order to charge the shooter properly. But this may be a long shot.
In the end, certainly they will proceed, so the most likely conviction will stand for good. Judy Clark, Loughner’s defense lawyer, will have a hard time defending him. Hopefully by then, Giffords has completely recovered and can eat all the toast she wants.
All sources are embedded