'Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered'
Gabrielle Giffords during the final day of the Democratic National Convention
November 8th, 2012
01:35 PM ET

'Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered'

Editor's note: Jared Loughner, the Arizona man who pleaded guilty to the January 2011 attempted assassination of then-U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, will be sentenced Thursday. The shooting at a meet-and-greet in Tucson killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords. Her husband, Mark Kelly, will speak on her behalf at the sentencing. Below is his statement in full.

Mr. Loughner, for the first and last time, you are going to hear directly from Gabby and me about what you took away on January 8th, 2011 and, just as important, what you did not. So pay attention.

That bright and chilly Saturday morning, you killed six innocent people. Daughters and sons. Mothers and fathers. Grandparents and friends. They were devoted to their families, their communities, their places of worship.

Gabby would trade her own life to bring back any one of those you savagely murdered on that day. Especially young Christina-Taylor Green, whose high-minded ideas about service and democracy deserved a full life committed to advancing them. Especially 30-year old Gabe Zimmerman, whom Gabby knew well and cherished, and whose love for his family and his fiancee and service to his country were as deep as his loss is tragic. Especially Judge John Roll whom Gabby was honored to call a colleague and friend and from whose interminable dedication to our community and country she gained enormous inspiration. Gabby would give anything to take away the grief you visited upon the Morrises, the Schnecks, and the Stoddards – anything to heal the bodies and psyches of your other victims.

And then there is what you took from Gabby. Her life has been forever changed. Plans she had for our family and her career have been immeasurably altered. Every day is a continuous struggle to do those things she was once so very good at. Gabby is a people person: she exudes kindness, creativity, and compassion. If she were not born with the name – “Gabby” – someone would have given it to her. Now she struggles to deliver each and every sentence. Her gift for language can now only be seen in Internet videos from a more innocent time.

Gabby was an outdoor enthusiast. She was often seen rollerblading with her friend Raoul in Reed Park, hiking in Sabino Canyon, or careening down Rillito Wash Trail on her bike, as she was the night before you tried and failed to murder her. She hasn't been to any of those places since, and I don't know when she’ll return.

There’s more. Gabby struggles to walk. Her right arm is paralyzed. She is partially blind. Gabby works harder in one minute of an hour – fighting to make each individual moment count for something – than most of us work in an entire day.

Mr. Loughner, by making death and producing tragedy, you sought to extinguish the beauty of life. To diminish potential. To strain love. And to cancel ideas. You tried to create for all of us a world as dark
 and evil as your own.

 But know this, and remember it always: You failed.

Your decision to commit cold-blooded mass murder also begs of us to look in the mirror. This horrific act warns us to hold our leaders and ourselves responsible for coming up short when we do, for not having the courage to act when it’s hard, even for possessing the wrong values.

We are a people who can watch a young man like you spiral into murderous rampage without choosing to intervene before it is too late.

We have a political class that is afraid to do something as simple as have a meaningful debate about our gun laws and how they are being enforced. We have representatives who look at gun violence,
 not as a problem to solve, but as the white elephant in the room to ignore. As a nation we have repeatedly passed up the opportunity to address this issue. After Columbine; after Virginia Tech; after Tucson and after Aurora we have done nothing.

In this state we have elected officials so feckless in their leadership that they would say, as in the case of Governor Jan Brewer, “I don't think it has anything to do with the size of the magazine or the caliber of the gun.” She went on and said, “Even if the shooter's weapon had held fewer bullets, he'd have another gun, maybe. He could have three guns in his pocket” – she said this just one week after a high capacity magazine allowed you to kill six and wound 19 others, before being wrestled to the ground while attempting to reload. Or a state legislature that thought it appropriate to busy itself naming an official Arizona state gun just weeks after this tragedy occurred, instead of doing the work it was elected to do: encourage economic growth, help our returning veterans and fix our education system.

The challenges we face are so great, but the leadership in place is so often lacking. In so many moments, I find myself thinking, “We need Gabby.” In letter after letter, I’ve seen that others agree. As Americans mourned the six who died, they also mourned the loss of a representative who embodied the service they realized they should expect from those they elect, the type of person our county desperately needs to provide leadership and solve problems. Gabby was a courageous member of congress. Willing to stand up to the establishment when the establishment was wrong. She was thirsty for partnership across the aisle and was an unrelenting champion for her 600,000 constituents. One of which was you.

There’s something else Gabby and I have been spending a lot of time thinking about. The way we conduct politics must change. Sure it’s easier to win a debate if you can turn your opponent into a demon, but that’s not how we move forward. Not only does slash and burn politics make Americans cynical about their leaders, but it leads to bad ideas. It creates problems instead of solving the ones we have now.

Even amid all that was lost, Gabby and I give thanks for her life, her spirit, and her intellect, which are a continued force in this world despite what you’ve done. We exalt in sharing our lives with each other and with our family and friends.

As a city, Tucson has grown stronger. We love this community, and we love our neighbors. We are resilient, and the dynamism and compassion of our fellow Tucsonans will continue to push this city forward.

And there is what persists in Gabby: her love for this city, this state and this country. Her commitment to lifting us all up, and her ability to lead. Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head, but you haven’t put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place.

Mr. Loughner, pay close attention to this: Though you are mentally ill, you are responsible for the death and hurt you inflicted upon all of us on January 8th of last year. You know this. Gabby and I know this.

 Everyone in this courtroom knows this.

You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But after today. After this moment. Here and now. Gabby and I are done thinking about you.

soundoff (125 Responses)
  1. Wise Guy

    so many tax dollars going to waste!... he gone live a good life in prison rather in jail.

    November 8, 2012 at 3:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • P

      While I can understand that feeling, it actually costs more to execute someone than to imprison them for life.

      November 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  2. midwest3

    Representative Giffords is exactly the kind of person we need more of in our local, state and federal government. We all lost when she stepped down from her role as a Congresswoman. The Kelly/Giffords statement in court is masterful and moving. Ms. Giffords has been an inspiration to many of us.

    November 8, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Mike H

    The NRA and their supporters are responsible and should all be ashamed of themselves. I'm not holding my breath waiting for their apologies. People with no hearts and no brains don't have the sensibility needed to feel shame. On the bright side, as this election has shown, right wing gun nuts are going the way of the dinosaur and this great country will outlast them.

    November 8, 2012 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Mike... take a look at the popular vote, then rethink what you just said.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • xnothinbutthetruth

      Mike... (not mike h.. the other mike)

      What is it you mean by "take a look at the popular vote"? – Obama won the popular vote... you do realize that right?

      geez..people really don't pay attention these days.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      To XO: Try again. Romney won most of the states, but he didn't win the ones that counted. IE: Electoral college. He didn't win the popular vote until this afternoon (I just checked) and that was only because of California and one other western states late countings – which of course are liberal), and THEN only by 2.3%.

      Had Romney been able to get people there like Obama (ie – bussing – assuming he did it this time – he did in 0208 – why change what works!) he would have won. Early on they said that it was all about which side could get their people to the polls. How anyone can think a VP who asks the father of a dead marine if he had 'always had balls the size of tennis balls' during his funeral is an appropriate choice to lead our country, is beyond me. This came directly from the father. Not guesswork.

      And I'm going to try the electoral college statement again. Many feel their vote is useless since only a few states matter – ie – Florida. Romney, like I said, won most of the states, but not the ones that counted. Seems people should only campaign in those states!

      November 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Maureen Rowell

    What a powerful speech! I hope our leaders are listening.

    November 8, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • terri

      Indeed, but I am willing to bet the politicians won't listen. It will take the rest of us backing up his words.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
  5. terri

    Powerful words in the courtroom. Too much truth to it and the GOP still won't listen. Still shout "socialism" (which is ridiculous and only shows they don't even know what that means). With the GOP ignorance is bliss and repeating a lie makes it true. This is why they are slowly but surely losing their grip on this nation.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      Did anyone in this forum stop and think the reason why this nation is in such bad shape is because of BOT sides? Hello... insulting conservatives and liberals is not going to get anywhere. Both sides have their good points and bad points. I am independent and I see this with open eyes listening to both sides blame eachother, call eachother names. Wake up! This will never get better so long as it continues on the current path. I have liberal and conservative friends and both are equally important to me. Perhaps you should consider what I have said...

      God Bless Gabby and her husband and the victims....

      November 8, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • terri

      Mike, I hear you, I really do. I am addressing the gun issue and those who are posting in response to THIS issue with remarks about socialism. It is ridiculous.

      For many years I voted as an Indepenent (I am 53, female, live in Texas). For the past 4 Presidential elections (including local elections in between) I wouldn't even consider a vote for the GOP for anything. As long as the TEA party and Christian right continue to influence the party as much as they do I can not support them.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  6. DMoneyx2

    Great news...now can we all move on! There were victims other than the former congresswoman...peace.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Carolyn Hill

    Very well said!!! I, too, hope that our country is listening...and listening WELL! Blessings to Gabby and Mark....and ALL those hurt by this terrible event.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      pretty easy to say shed give her life to get any of those people back , typical B.S coming out of a politicians mouth

      November 8, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill

      Steve, I hope you are not a citizen of the US.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      This is to BILL: Yep, that was pretty cold-hearted, I agree with you. Sure, people say that all the time. Like you hear all the time, 'I love you more than life itself'. Do they mean it? I have no clue. Would depend on each individual. I'm sure some say it because it sounds good and I'm others mean it.

      Did she mean it? Who know. But it's not appropriate for Steve to diss somebody for saying it because none of us know what is in the heart of the person speaking.

      It was a cold-hearted comment to call it BS.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donald Hall

      Steve, he's not a politician. Learn the facts before you make more of the stupid statements you're planning to make.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill McKenna

      I hope that this will finally SHUT UP the Giffords!! They are ALL we hear about......if you follow the press they ALWAYS seem to have you would belive that they were the only victims!! Please GO AWAY NOW

      November 8, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Ann Ward

    Will there actually be TV/tape Footage of the Face to Face Confrontation between Gabby Giffords and Jared....whoever ?

    November 8, 2012 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  9. TheTruthHurtsSometimes

    The truth here is, that these guns were purchased legally and used to perform this hateful crime. To those of you who say he would have gotten guns anyways... I ask you where? where would this piece of white trash have been able to come up with guns and ammunition? I highly doubt that you have an intelligent response to this question, other than the usual, "they just would have gotten them..." response you seem to rely on so heavily. Handguns are not for hunting animals, handguns are for hunting people, end of story.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Teamski

      He wouldn't have needed a gun. All he had to do was to drive his car up to the front of the store and light off 200lbs of ammonia. Insane people will always find a way to make their lurid mark on the world. Gun control will not eliminate that one ioda.

      November 8, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • terri

      teamski why make it easier for him

      November 8, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • crazyvermont

      Anyone of us posting here could walk into downtown Chicago and have a gun in less than 30 minutes....wake up

      November 8, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • tetonmoon

      Seriously stupid? I can get a gun in half hour in small town AZ no issue, quicker in urban America and just drive over the border and get any weapon I want, bombs, guns, rocket launchers.. your really out of reality bimbo.

      November 10, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. terri

    Why do so many people read "gun control" as removing the right to bear arms? It is so sad that some refuse to hear the real discussion.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      Here's why. They lie. When Brady was shot and she wanted to have a 7 day waiting time, I was in favor of it. She SWORE PUBLICLY that that was all she wanted. LIES! When the bill passed, and this is an absolute quote!....when asked where she wanted to go with gun control now she said....'we have only just begun'.

      That was the end of my support of ANYONE who supported any kind of gun control. They lie. They wait till they get what they want and then they take baby steps. It is no secret Obama wants guns removed. Do the research.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • OTR

      Terri, understand that a political goal is typically best accomplished in small steps. Take, for example, two issues from this election: legalized marijuana and gay marriage. Proponents of these two issues knew long ago that change would not come about in a sudden, sweeping fashion. So they started taking small steps then building on their accomplishments. Start with decriminalization of marijuana state by state. Then medical marijuana, state by state. Next step, legal marijuana, state by state. Eventual end goal: legal marijuana, across the country. For gay marriage, start with civil unions, state by state. Then gay marriage, state by state. Then start whittling down federal laws such as Don't Ask Don't Tell and DoMA. Eventual end goal: legal and universally recognized gay marriage, across the country.

      Sometimes, this process spans generations – consider prohibition or women's suffrage.

      Guns are no different. Those opposed to the second amendment know that it simply will not be repealed in the current political climate. So their goal is to slowly shift the political climate until they can have their way. Start small with things like banning guns that look scary ("Assault" Weapons Ban), magazine capacity limits, purchasing delays, bulk ammo purchase restrictions. After a generation or two has grown up accepting this as "normal" and "common sense," it's not much of a leap to, say, ban semi-automatic guns (and if you think I'm stretching here, take a long and careful look at what the various "Assault Weapons" bans amount to). After that, maybe we should ban double-action revolvers, since they can be fired just as fast as semi-automatic firearms. After that, ban single action revolvers because they can be "fanned." Oh, and since you're used to a 7-day wait, let's increase that to 60 days. Let's require a license to possess, then make the process to obtain said license long, confusing, and expensive (see NYS, or even worse, NYC for examples of this).

      While many will dismiss this argument as "slippery slope," the fact is that they must ignore the reality of our political system in order to do so. They also must ignore the reality that there are many people whose goal is specifically what you say:"removing the right to bear arms." That may not be *your* goal, but it is certainly the goal of many who will agree with your stance.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bruce

      The purpose of the 2nd Amendment is so that the American people have the ultimate authority. They have the ability reserved to them to take control of the Government by force if necessary, should it stop acting in the people's wishes. The 1st Amendment, freedom of the press, was so that the American people would not be restricted in knowing what their Government was doing. The need for these Amendments was learned during the founding Revolution. Had it not been for the colony's ability to possess firearms, we would still be under British rule, still be a colony. Don't believe me? Ask Ireland and Scotland.

      Those that want to remove that right, seek to control. The fact that the citizens have the ultimate authority scares them. Here is something to consider. One of the places with the strictest gun control, has the most gun violence – Mexico.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      This is to Bruce and OTR. LOVE YOU! Good statement. Not that the liberals will listen to you. I posted a response and evidently it was too conservative for this board. It didn't get posted. You got it right. Hitler did the same thing. ANd I'm sure if there's a historian on here, they know, too. There are probably several other countries that fall in this category as well.

      Still would like to know why they don't want us to talk about the electoral college or popular vote. Both my posts on that didn't make it on. Surely that's not inapproriate given I've been called nut job on here (well, anyone who wants to keep the 2nd amendment is a nut job according to these guys). Let's see if this gets deleted.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Someone

    He will be out on Parole in 4 years.

    November 8, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      I believe he got 7 CONSECUTIVE life terms. He may have gotten ' no chance of parole' – but not sure. If they are consecutive, he will never see the light of day, and even if he gets a parole hearing – he will never be paroled.

      Back to what I said earlier (if it even got posted – several of mine evidently are banned – or I should say they are not showing up) – he will probably be taken care of while in prison.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Someone else

      He will never be out of the corrections system as long as he is alive but he won't be executed.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      nope, not executed by PRISON officials.....the inmates will take care of it, just like they did Dahmer.

      November 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Elaine

      This psycho will never walk free again. Nor will he be killed in prison. I am sure they will send him to the same supermax federal prison in Colorado that houses OKC conspirator Nichols, Olympic bomber Rudolph, 1st WTC bomber Yusef, spy Hanssen and Unabomber Kazynsk amongst othersi. He will spend his days alone in a cell with an hour or two of recreation [outside his cell] per week. McVeigh did the right thing, got convicted with a death penalty sentence, waived appeals and was put to death pretty quickly, only six years after his terrorism in OKC.

      November 8, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. thebest12211

    If the country was ready for truth, we would be light years ahead of where we are now.
    Guns kill...ask anyone who has been to war. Your right to own a gun ends when you leave your home to inflict harm on another human being. One right is balanced by another.

    November 8, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      Let's try this again. PEOPLE KILL PEOPLE. Guns are the tools. Just the same as these are tools of death: cars, knives, bats, fists, rocks, animals, poison, chemicals, fire, asphyxiation......do you want me to go on. You can kill in any number of ways. If you are going to kill and are determined, only the method changes.

      PEOPLE KILL, only difference is in the method of death. Quite frankly, if someone is going to kill me I'd rather die from a gunshot to the head than being strangled!

      November 8, 2012 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
  13. EricK

    Well I think he has a right to say whatever he wants, but he lost me a little bit at the gun control. It was a little irrelevant in the courtroom at that particular juncture. I would have rather seen him jump over the rail and beat the crap out of the freak.

    November 8, 2012 at 5:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      HAHA! My thinking exactly. Would have been much more rewarding and not provoke as much crappy dialogue from all of us. It just wasn't the place and time to address that issue.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:31 pm | Report abuse |
  14. mc

    She never gave a damn about the victims of guns, she spent her entire career kissing NRA ass. Real justice would be this hypocrite drooling in the gutter where she would gladly leave every victim of gunfire for one more NRA $.

    November 8, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      I never knew her so I don't know her beliefs. But it was my understanding that she supported gun control. So....kissing the NRA's behind doesn't make sense. Was she or was she NOT a gun control advocate. Obviously, standing beside her husband, it appears that they are gun control advocates and always have been. So I can't figure out your comment.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rachel

    President Obama, I hope you or one of your aides reads this. This is your term. You have the next four years in which to make a real difference for this country. There are no more elections to hold, no more hands to shake and babies to kiss. For the next four years you can work on gun control, passing legislation to stop global warming, and you can put an end to the war in Afghanistan and you can close Guantanamo Bay.

    Take this time to make a difference... for this generation and those to come.

    November 8, 2012 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariahwwa

      That's right, president Obama, abuse your office by playing the lame duck issue. Go behind people's backs like you have already done numerous times. Change laws before people know what is happening to them.

      That's really funny.. I've heard people say over and over again, that if Obama gets in, our country as we know it will change forever – and they did not mean in a good way.

      You are right- he now has carte blanche because he doesn't have to fear VOTES. But it will not be done without a battle. Keep encouraging him, and the rest of us will keep fighting.

      But that's America. IF we didn't live here, none of us could be saying or commenting like we have been. Leave it to Obama and it won't be long before he will control everything that goes to print. HE already tried to stop over the past several years – what is put out on the media.

      Obama, it's your term, and your last, THANK GOD, that you don't honor.

      November 8, 2012 at 6:39 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4