The new documentary film, Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down, about the life of former Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who survived an assassination attempt and has gone on to become a major force against gun violence, is as gut-wrenching as it is inspiring – not only because of her survival story, but for her continued tenacity and struggle to do good in an insane system that seems hell bent on self-destruction.
In January of 2011, Giffords was a favorite daughter of Arizona and a rising star in Washington politics. But, while attending a “Congress on Your Corner” event with her constituents in Tucson, a madman with a legally purchased pistol put a bullet in her brain and killed and wounded several others before being stopped by onlookers.
This film documents Gabby’s life before the incident (as the co-owner and manager of El Campo Tire & Auto), her hard recovery afterwards, her ongoing struggles with aphasia, and her efforts advocating against gun violence, which, according to her website (Giffords: Courage to Fight Gun Violence), kills 41,000 Americans every year.
A large part of the film also focuses on Giffords’ relationship and marriage to Astronaut and Senator, Mark Kelly, a true American hero in his own right (despite the poor choice of the filmmakers to play David Bowie’s Space Oddity song during his astronaut sequences… Ugh.)
Directed by Julie Cohen and Betsy West, this film will make you cry (a lot), laugh, fall in love and also probably shake your fists in anger and frustration, but the best of it is when this beautiful and special spirit sings – her song is the one thing that couldn’t be touched by the assassins’ bullet.
In Arizona politics, there is rarely much to be proud of, but Gabby Giffords should make all Arizonans proud. This is a wonderful film about a great American who, against all odds, continues the good fight.
The NRA and gun-lovers like to say, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good-guy with a gun.” Here’s hoping that Giffords’ succeeds in proving that the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good-girl without a gun.