Handwritten Notes for Gabrielle Giffords's Testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee

Text of the speech written in pen, and on binder paper.

[optional image description]

Update: It turns out that Giffords's speech therapist wrote the note, not Giffords herself -- and that Americans for Responsible Solution's reference to "Gabby Giffords' handwritten testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee" meant "handwritten" in a general sense. I've updated the headline and text of this post to make that clear.

This morning, Gabby Giffords made an unannounced appearance at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing on gun violence. Assisted by her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, the former U.S. representative slowly and deliberately relayed her message: that "too many children are dying," that "we must do something" to fight gun violence, that "Americans are counting" on Congress to "be courageous."

Giffords's speech was striking not just for its words. It was striking as well for how painstakingly -- and in some sense how painfully -- the former congresswoman sounded each sentence, each syllable. Giffords survived her gun-inflicted brain injury against all odds, but her survival has compromised her ability to articulate her thoughts. 

That is made even more clear by an image posted to the Facebook page of Americans for Responsible Solutions, the organization Giffords and Kelly founded to help reduce gun violence: the text of Giffords's speech. The pen-scrawled words, written out by Giffords's speech therapist, are scrawled on a surface all too familiar to schoolchildren: binder paper.

The message Giffords and Kelly are sending though the posting of the note is clear: Guns too often kill children. But guns, too, can force adults to relearn the basic skills they once acquired naturally as children. One of the most frustrating aspects of her injury, Giffords told Diane Sawyer earlier this month, is the fact that she can understand what's going on around her -- but she is unable to articulate responses to that activity. She is trapped in her injury. And few things make that point more powerfully than a piece of binder paper scrawled with large, easy-to-read letters.


Via @pbump.

Presented by

Megan Garber is a staff writer at The Atlantic.

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register with Disqus.

Please note that The Atlantic's account system is separate from our commenting system. To log in or register with The Atlantic, use the Sign In button at the top of every page.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

How a Psychedelic Masterpiece Is Made

A short documentary about Bruce Riley, an artist who paints abstract wonders with poured resin

Videos

Why Is Google Making Skin?

Hidden away on Google’s campus, doctors are changing the way people think about health.

Video

How to Build a Tornado

A Canadian inventor believes his tornado machine could solve the world's energy crisis.

Video

A New York City Minute, Frozen in Time

This short film takes you on a whirling tour of the Big Apple

Video

What Happened to the Milky Way?

Light pollution has taken away our ability to see the stars. Can we save the night sky?

More in Politics

Just In