Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Gabrielle Giffords ABC Special

Did you guys watch the Diane Sawyer special about Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on ABC last night? Often "news" magazine specials on the major networks emphasize the sick and tawdry details of stories that have made the news for whatever reason. While these specials always tend to at least end on a positive note (the "hero" finding hope in his/her new lease on life, etc.), many times there's a troubling human tendency to make sure that we the viewers are aware of just how perverse the "bad guy" in the scenario might be -- a pyscho-pop probe into the mind of the people who commit the evil acts. I've got no interest in sensationalist gossip.

It's with this in mind that I found the special on Giffords delightfully optimistic. The killer's asinine smiling mugshot was flashed onscreen briefly in the expository bits, but the focus here was on Giffords and her arduous journey to recovery. The shooting last January was stunning in the worst way, and we're not going to forget it anytime soon. It would have been unnecessary to dwell on the tragedy. The special was thankfully about Giffords, a remarkable person, and the miracle of her life. I loved seeing the speech therapists working with Giffords, the way music helped her relearn how to walk, and the positive outlooks of Mark Kelly and Giffords' mother. Simply put, I love seeing amazing people overcoming difficult circumstances, and Giffords inspires me.

Without getting too sentimental here, one can't help but feel that the shooter sought to symbolically destroy democracy in action, as a congresswoman was nearly assassinated while meeting publicly with her constituents. Seeing that same politician fight against her stacked odds helps to restore faith in what her office stands for. It lets us see that sometimes we do elect outstanding people to public office, and that no matter how divisive the American political stage may seem, there are still strong, righteous individuals working for what they see as a "greater good". Congresswoman Giffords is inspiring.

Did you watch the special on Giffords? If so, what did you think of the way they told the story?

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