Thursday, November 8, 2012

The End

Regular readers will be surprised to read this. I never post twice in one day. 
Then, again, I've never had a day quite like today.
I'll be back on Monday with the post originally scheduled for Friday.
I need the weekend to clear my head.
*****
Commander Kelly and I ended our statements with the same thought: we are finished with you.
 
It's pretty cool to be on an astronaut's wavelength. That's about the only smile I can find right now. Justice ran its course.  The state will not be prosecuting.  The shooter will never be free.
 
It's not enough.  It's all there is.
 
I'm posting the words I spoke at the sentencing hearing in the Special Proceedings Courtroom in the Federal Courthouse in Tucson, Arizona this morning.  At a podium, thoughtfully askew so that I didn't have to turn my back on the defendant, with my husband beside me and Judge Larry Burns in front of me, I said my piece. 
 
I'd been warned to remember that this would be part of the public record.  I'd been warned to think of the long-term consequences of my words.  I'd been warned and advised and I listened and thought and procrastinated and then sat at the keyboard last night and began to type.... and cry... and shake.
 
Christina's parents don't want her mentioned in the same room with her murderer; I respected that.  I left out the description of her excitement, her enthusiasm, her pride.... but those of you who've been here before know all about that.  I didn't need to bring it up; she was in everyone's heart all morning. 
 
I'm not sure that I stormed away from the podium, nor that anger and resentment were my emotions, as a tweet suggested.  I will admit to being riled up, and to turning away from him with strength and power.  Resentment sounds so petty in this context; I know I was not small minded.
 
It's in the eye of the beholder, I suppose. 
 
What I know now is just what I knew twenty-two months ago: Gabby Giffords and I are married to very handsome, very passionate, very wonderful men.  I know that short, Jewish, girls from New York do get shot, and they do learn to live with the unthinkable.
 
They do it with the help of their families and their friends and their communities - in real life and on-line.  Thank you, each and every one of you, for being by my side.  I couldn't have done it without you.
*****
Victim Statement at Sentencing Hearing
 
I don't want to be standing here. I don't want to be here at all.
 
There is very little that is inspiring, or uplifting, or joyful here.
 
This is an awful situation for each and every one of us.
 
And it all revolves around you.

That Saturday morning was filled with sunshine and smiles and excitement. We were gathered to participate in the process. We had made time in our lives “to tell your Congresswoman how government could work better for you.”

For You. You were a part of society then.

Your Congresswoman.

For whom you could have voted.... or not.

For whom you could have campaigned..... or not.

It was an opportunity to witness democracy in action. We brought our wives, our husbands, our children, our friends' children.

You brought a gun.

We've been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking.

It's a painful saga, a tale of missed opportunities and lack of support, of the appalling absence of attention to your behavior. Your parents, your schools, your community – they all failed you.

That is all true, but it is not expiation. It is not enough. There are still those pesky facts.

You pointed a weapon at me... and shot me... three times. You turned a civics lesson into a nightmare.

For the last 22 months, in the hope that, somehow, I would feel better, I've wanted to take you by the shoulders and shake you... and scream at you... as if that would help.

This is what I have, instead.

I have been privileged to watch justice in action.

I have a platform from which to do good, and I am using it.

I have connections, new and old, and they are deeper and lovelier than ever before.

And now, I will walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life.... and I will not think of you again.

13 comments:

  1. I saw the link to your site at the top of my browser and I thought I would come in and read the comments to today's posting. Then I saw your victim impact statement.

    My heart still aches for everyone involved. The senseless loss of life. The lives that remain and that have been altered forever. All from this senseless act of violence. Beautiful people that were doing so much in their lives. The impact of their loss will be profoundly felt for generations. The what ifs and only if will always linger. You did something wonderful that day and should be proud of who you were to Christina-Taylor. I didn't know you before this horrible event, but I consider you a friend and someone I admire so much.

    You persevered and you have tried to turn a horrific event in your life into something that is bearable (some days). I don't think it will ever get easy; so I'm not going to say that. I cannot even attempt you feel your pain. To do so, has me weeping at the loss of potential and beauty of those precious lives.

    I like yours and Mark Kelly's comments about never thinking about him again. He's taken so much from all of you. It's now time to not give him any more of your time.

    Sending much love,


    Megan xxx

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  2. You are such a complete and total CLASS ACT.

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  3. I want to say something encouraging and thoughtful to you about this. But words fail me. It just hurts my heart. All of it.

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  4. I have never posted here before, nor have I ever missed a day of reading your words here since I saw you interviewed after that day of horror. I had an instant sense that I knew you, a familiarity I could not explain. I was and continue to be drawn to your articulate expression of feeling - whether insightful or allowing the chaos of emotion. You have added a daily perspective which I have come to value and look forward to. Your courage today inspired me to finally speak my gratitude and admiration for the survivor and role model you have worked so very hard to become.
    Thank you.

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  5. Wishing you healing, comfort, peace and joy in your life as you move forward. Sending the same wishes to your family, friends, neighbors and all of the others who shared your nightmare. Each of you will remain in our thoughts and prayers.

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  6. I saw you on the evening news here in Seattle. I was reminded again of the ordeal that all of you who suffered loss have been through. When a person is as removed from it as I am, it is easy to forget.
    You have handled your struggles with such courage and dignity. I hope you really can now walk away from it. I know at least that you can walk, as can Gabby. Thank God for that.

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  7. You teach us courage and dignity.

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  8. Saying the words out loud is good medicine. Walking away into the rest of your life is the best.

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  9. Thank you for posting your entire statement - the TV sound bites just don't really tell you anything. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to be in the courtroom saying those words to him. While your life has been forever changed I'm predicting that now you will have the freedom to heal in all ways that you haven't had before now.

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  10. I am glad he will get no more attention. He might even someday come to regret what he did but from what I read of his demeanor at the sentencing, I don't think that day is yet here. It's a tragedy is all one can say about it but those impacted do have to go on. Fortunately he will not be back in our world. To not think of him again is the best punishment and that means no journalists going to him for interviews. Let him disappear as he seems very narcissistic as it's all about him. Our world should not care about him again.

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  11. Have just read through your statement - very strong, very powerful. I'm in awe and in tears.

    Thank you.

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  12. How terribly hard that must have been. I am happy that you had a chance to say what you felt (although cautioned about your words)and while I am not thinking that any of your words - or the others' - had a good effect on that slime ball - it is good that you had a finish to this time in your life.

    Like Rain, I am also glad to know that he will get no more attention. I confess to wanting to be a fly on the wall of his cell for at least a few minutes. I'd like to know he is suffering and beginning to be sorry for his actions. Karma will be served in the end.

    All who were affected by this event have served a purpose in the world; one you would not have chosen, I'm sure, but a valuable lesson for us all, nonetheless.

    Bravo for carrying it out to the fullest.

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