Shortly after the Manchin-Toomey gun bill was voted down in the Senate on Wednesday, The New York Times published an emotive op-ed piece written by ‘furious’ congresswoman Gabby Giffords.
Giffords is six-term congresswoman who was shot in the head two years ago during mass shooting in Tuscon, Ariz. In the piece, Giffords shamed all the senators who met with families of shooting victims and were in favor of the bill, but decided to vote against it out of fear of backlash from the gun lobby.
“Senators say they fear the N.R.A. and the gun lobby. But I think that fear must be nothing compared to the fear the first graders in Sandy Hook Elementary School felt as their lives ended in a hail of bullets,” Giffords wrote. “The fear that those children who survived the massacre must feel every time they remember their teachers stacking them into closets and bathrooms, whispering that they loved them, so that love would be the last thing the students heard if the gunman found them.”
In the piece, Giffords also effectively spat in the face of the NRA — a striking, and (someone’s got to say it) courageous move. Giffords decided in her piece to stand up for the majority of Americans who were in favor of the bill (according to Obama’s speech Wednesday, that majority rests around 90 percent of Americans), and encouraged citizens and political contributors to call out and oust those cowardly members of congress too afraid to stand up with her against the gun lobby.
“We know what we’re going to hear: vague platitudes like “tough vote” and “complicated issue.” I was elected six times to represent southern Arizona, in the State Legislature and then in Congress. I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither,” Giffords wrote.
“These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association, which in the last election cycle spent around $25 million on contributions, lobbying and outside spending.”
After the shooting, Giffords has had trouble speaking due to brain damage, but it is clear in the piece that her intentions and motivations are strong, and she vowed to keep pushing toward passing more “common sense” measures, such as the background check bill, in order to keep more Americans out of harm’s way.
Towards the end of her piece, Giffords shames those senators who succumbed to the gun lobby.
“This defeat is only the latest chapter of what I’ve always known would be a long, hard haul. Our democracy’s history is littered with names we neither remember nor celebrate — people who stood in the way of progress while protecting the powerful. On Wednesday, a number of senators voted to join that list,” she wrote.