Metrofocus: July 20, 2022

“GABBY GIFFORDS WON’T BACK DOWN”

A new documentary tells the inspiring story of former Arizona Congressperson Gabby Gifford’s recovery process after she was shot in the head during a 2011 assassination attempt.  Gabby Giffords, who at the time was a rising star in the Democratic party, suffered significant brain damage.  Through the help of her team of doctors, the support from her husband, U.S. Senator Mark Kelly, and most importantly her own determination, Gabby has been able to recover and return to public life, fighting for common sense gun control across the country.  Betsy West and Julie Cohen are the co-directors of Gabby Giffords Won’t Back Down”, and they join us tonight to discuss this incredible comeback story.

TRANSCRIPT

> THE GABBY GIFFORDS COMEBACK.

A GUNMAN NEARLY TOOK HER LIFE AND HER ABILITY TO SPEAK.

NOW AFTER OVER A DECADE OF RECOVERY THE FORMER CONGRESSWOMAN SHARES HER STORY TONIGHT ON 'METROFOCUS.'

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

> THIS IS 'METROFOCUS' WITH RAFAEL PI ROMAN, JACK FORD, AND JENNA FLANAGAN.

'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪

> GOOD EVENING AND WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M JACK FORD.

CONGRESSWOMAN GABBY GIFFORDS WAS ONCE A BRIGHT, YOUNG STAR IN THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, THAT IS, OF COURSE, AFTER SHE WAS SHOT IN THE HEAD FROM CLOSE RANGE DURING AN ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT BACK IN 2011.

THE SHOOTING LEFT HER NEAR DEATH AND THEN WITH SIGNIFICANT BRAIN DAMAGE AND A LONG ROAD TO RECOVERY, BUT WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT HER, IF YOU DIDN'T KNOW THAT BEFORE, WAS THAT SHE WAS, INDEED, A FIGHTER.

HER COMBINATION OF AN EXCELLENT TEAM OF DOCTORS AND THERAPISTS, WITH SUPPORT FROM HER HUSBAND FORMER ASTRONAUT AND CURRENT UNITED STATES SENATOR MARK KELLY, AND MOST IMPORTANT THROUGH HER OWN PERSONAL DETERMINATION, GABBY GIFFORDS HAS NOT ONLY BEEN ABLE TO EXCEED EXPECTATIONS FOR HER RECOVERY, BUT SHE'S ALSO BEEN ABLE TO CONTINUE TO INFLUENCE PUBLIC POLICY THROUGH HER ORGANIZATION SEEKING TO REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE CALLED GIFFORDS.

A NEW DOCUMENTARY OUT IN THEATERS NOW TITLED GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN TAKES VIEWERS INSIDE HER RECOVERY PROCESS AND SHOWCASES HER INSPIRING STORY.

HERE IS A QUICK PREVIEW.

ALL ♪♪ ♪♪

I'M RUNNING FOR CONGRESS.

THERE IS NO TURNING IT AROUND AT THIS POINT.

JOINING US NOW IS REPRESENTATIVE GABRIELLE GIFFORDS.

GABBY WAS A STAR.

IF AN IDEA IS A GOOD IT'S A GOOD IDEA.

YOUR FIANCE MARK KELLY WHO IS WHOM?

HE'S AN ASTRONAUT.

I WAS COMMANDER OF THE ENDEAVOUR AT THE TIME.

GABBY KNEW THE RISK INVOLVED AND IT WAS A RISKY JOB.

CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORD WAS THE TARGET OF THE MASS SHOOTING.

I HAVE JUST COME FROM THE UNIVERSITY MEDICAL CENTER WHERE OUR FRIEND GABBY COURAGEOUSLY FIGHTS TO RECOVER.

♪♪

TYPICALLY WITH AN INJURY TO THE BRAIN WITH A GUN SHOT WOUND IT'S LESS THAN 10% THAT THEY WOULD EVEN SURVIVE.

SHE'S BEGINNING SEVERAL MONTHS OF REHAB.

GIVE ME TWO FINGERS.

ALL RIGHT!

GIVE ME FIVE.

GABBY SUFFERS FROM APHASIA.

YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED TO QUIT ON ME.

LOOK AT YOU!

GOOD NEWS ABOUT CONGRESSWOMAN GABBY GIFFORDS.

SHE WAS DISCHARGED TODAY FROM THE HOSPITAL.

SHE SAID THE PEOPLE WHO ELECTED ME NEED SOMEONE WHO CAN GIVE THEM 100%. GOD HAS STEPPED DOWN.

WE HAVE WORK TO DO -- WORK --

IT'S A VERY UNIQUE WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH FACIAL EXPRESSION, TOUCH AND HER LOVE.

IT'S A GIFT.

SHE LAUGHS AT MY JOKES EVEN WHEN THEY'RE FUNNY!

FUNNY!

FUNNY!

[ APPLAUSE ]

THIS IS THE MODEL THAT THEY BUILT THE PLATE OUT OF.

♪♪ ♪♪

THE WORDS ARE THERE IN MY BRAIN.

I JUST CAN'T GET THEM OUT.

GABBY GIFFORDS MAKING HER WAY BACK TO THE CAPITOL.

TOO MANY CHILDREN ARE DYING.

TOO MANY CHILDREN.

WE MUST DO SOMETHING!

NOBODY COULD HAVE BEEN MORE COMPELLING THAN GABBY WAS THAT DAY.

♪♪ ♪♪

HELLO, MY FELLOW ARIZONANS!

I LOVE TO TALK.

I'M GABBY.

AND JOINING US NOW TO DISCUSS THIS COMPELLING DOCUMENTARY ARE THE TWO AWARD-WINNING CO-DIRECTORS OF GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN, BETSY WEST AND JULIE COHEN.

WELCOME TO BOTH OF YOU.

IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO SEE YOU.

NICE TO SEE YOU, JACK.

SO THIS IS, AS I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION, AN INSPIRING AND COMPELLING AND POWERFUL STORY OF RECOVERY, AND IT TEACHES US A LOT ABOUT NOT ONLY GABBY GIFFORDS, BUT THAT NOTION OF DIGGING DEEP DOWN INSIDE FOR INSPIRATION.

LET ME ASK YOU BOTH A QUICK QUESTION BECAUSE YOU BOTH HAVE DONE SUCH MARVELOUS WORK WITH SO MANY OTHER FILMS IN THE PAST AND THERE ARE SO MANY SUBJECTS OUT THERE FOR YOU TO FOCUS ON, WHAT DREW YOU TO THIS STORY?

BETSY, I'LL ASK YOU TO ANSWER FIRST.

YEAH.

THIS IS A COMEBACK STORY LIKE NO OTHER THAT IS, YOU KNOW, AN EXTRAORDINARY WOMAN, AS YOU SAID, THE WORST POSSIBLE THING HAPPENS, SHOT IN THE BRAIN, AND HOW SHE COMES BACK AND THEN WHAT SHE DOES TO REINVENT HER LIFE IS JUST KIND OF INSPIRING.

SOME PEOPLE CALL IT GABIFYING.

I MEAN, WHEN WE MET GABBY AND REALIZED WHAT SHE HAD BEEN THROUGH AND WERE ABLE TO EXPERIENCE HER, WE COULDN'T RESIST TO TELL THE STORY.

I'M IN AGREEMENT AS USUAL.

WHAT DREW US TO THE GABBY GIFFORDS STORY WAS GABBY HERSELF.

THIS IS JUST AN EXTRAORDINARY HUMAN BEING, SPENDING TIME WITH HER FROM THE VERY FIRST ZOOM WE DID TOGETHER FELT LIKE A LITTLE SPARK OF ENERGY THAT COMES AND HITS YOU AND WE JUST -- WE JUST SO FELT EVERYTHING ABOUT HER STORY FROM THE CHALLENGES FROM THE LOVE STORY TO THE HILARITY TO THE SINGING OF POP SONGS WHICH SHE DOES SO FREQUENTLY AND IT WAS A SPECIAL EXPERIENCE FOR US AS PEOPLE AS WELL AS FILMMAKERS AND WE WANTED OUR AUDIENCE TO HAVE SOME OF THAT SAME FEELING.

WANT TO GET TO THOSE THINGS THAT YOU MENTIONED, HER MUSIC AND HER SENSE OF HUMOR THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS, BUT LET'S SET UP THIS STORY.

I'M SURE MOST OF OUR VIEWERS ARE FAMILIAR WITH GABBY GIFFORDS NOW.

I SUSPECT MANY OF THEM WOULD NOT HAVE REMEMBERED.

WE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT AN ASCENDANT STAR SHE WAS BEFORE THIS INCIDENT IN 2011.

BETSY, GIVE US A LITTLE CAPSULIZATION OF WHO SHE WAS AND HOW SHE HAD EMERGED INTO THE POLITICAL SPOTLIGHT.

YEAH.

I THINK YOU'RE RIGHT, JACK.

MOST PEOPLE AND THE REST OF THE COUNTRY FIRST HEARD ABOUT GABBY WITH THE HORRIBLE SHOOTING IN 2011, BUT AS FORMER PRESIDENT OBAMA TOLD US, GABBY WAS A RISING STAR.

SHE WAS SOMEONE JUST ENTERING HER THIRD TERM IN CONGRESS FROM ARIZONA AND KNOWN FOR BEING SOMEBODY WHO REACHED ACROSS THE AISLE.

SHE WAS JUST A NATURAL POLITICIAN.

YOU LOOK AT THE VIDEOS OF HER FROM THAT TIME, SHE WAS SOMEBODY WHO KNEW HOW TO CONNECT WITH PEOPLE, AND AS SHE WOULD SAY, IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT'S A REPUBLICAN IDEA OR A DEMOCRAT IDEA, IF IT'S A GOOD IDEA THEN I'M FOR IT AND THAT WAS WHAT SHE REPRESENTED AND I THINK PRESIDENT OBAMA TOLD US THAT SHE HAD A HUGE FUTURE AHEAD OF HER AND LOTS OF PEOPLE SAID SHE WOULD BE A SENATOR AND MANY TALKED ABOUT PRESIDENTIAL HOPES, AND YOU KNOW, THAT'S WHO SHE WAS AND WHAT WE LEARNED ABOUT HER.

OBVIOUSLY, THAT ENDED WITH THE EVENT IN TUCSON IN 2011 AND GABBY RESIGNED FROM CONGRESS A YEAR LATER.

IT'S INTERESTING BECAUSE AS I WAS WATCHING IT, ONE OF MY FIRST THOUGHTS WERE, MY, COULDN'T WE USE GABBY GIFFORDS TODAY IN WASHINGTON?

YEAH.

AGAIN, SO PEOPLE CAN UNDERSTAND HERE, A QUICK VERSION, IF YOU WILL OF THIS ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT WHERE APPARENTLY SHE -- IS THERE EVER A LIKELY ASSASSINATION TARGET?

I DON'T KNOW, BUT CERTAINLY AN UNLIKELY ASSASSINATION TARGET, WHAT WAS THAT ALL ABOUT?

YEAH.

YOU KNOW, THE TRAGEDY IS THAT GABBY'S STRONGEST QUALITY AS A POLITICIAN WAS ALSO WHAT PROMPTED THIS, A DESIRE AND FREQUENT ABILITY TO GO OUT AND MEET WITH HER CONSTITUENTS AND SPEND TIME IN PUBLIC SETTINGS.

SHE LOVED HAVING CONSTITUENT MEETINGS AND SHE DID IT ALL OF THE TIME AND NOT JUST A FORMAL TOWN HALL AND IT WAS A MEET AND GREET IN A GROCERY STORE PARKING LOT AND SHE CALLED IT CONGRESS ON YOUR CORN ARE AND SHE LOVED DOING THAT.

IN FACT, SHE HAD BEEN SWORN IN FOR HER THIRD TERM AND SHE HAD A LOT GOING ON IN LIFE AND THINGS WERE CRAZY FOR HER AND HER STAFF WERE, LIKE, WHY DON'T YOU RELAX FOR THE NEXT WEEK?

SHE SAID NO, I WANT TO DRIVE BACK TO TUCSON.

SO SHE'S IN THE PARKING LOT WITH SOME OF HER STAFFERS AND TAKING AUDIENCE QUESTIONS AND PEOPLE COULD LINE UP TO HAVE A CONVERSATION WITH HER AND SHAKE HER HAND AND SHE WAS REALLY WANTING TO INTERACT INTELLECTUALLY AND PHYSICALLY WITH HER CONSTITUENTS, YOU KNOW, AND UNFORTUNATELY, A YOUNG MAN WHO HAD BEEN QUITE MENTALLY ILL AND HAD BEEN FIXATED ON HER THE WAY PEOPLE BECOME FIXATED ON PUBLIC FIGURES AND CELEBRITIES COMES OUT OF THE BLUE SHOOTING GABBY.

I THINK SHE WAS THE FIRST ONE SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE HEAD AND OPENS FIRE.

SIX PEOPLE WERE KILLED AND GABBY AND 12 OTHERS INJURED.

A NUMBER OF THEM LIKE HER, QUITE SEVERELY.

JUST, LIKE, A RANDOM, HORRIBLE, YOU KNOW, NEEDLESS MOMENT OF VIOLENCE.

YOU MENTIONED HER STYLE OF SERVING, AND ONE OF THE QUOTES I HAD SEEN ATTRIBUTED TO HER WAS THE NOTION OF THE TERM REPRESENTATIVE WAS NOT A JOB TITLE.

IT WAS A JOB DESCRIPTION WHICH CAPTURED HER.

ONCE AGAIN, LET'S SHOW THE DIFFERENCES BECAUSE SOME VIEWERS MIGHT HAVE SEEN SOME VIDEO OF GABBY GIFFORDS RECENTLY RECEIVING THE PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM AND I SUSPECT IF THEY DIDN'T FOLLOW THIS THEY WOULD HAVE NO IDEA HOW DIRE HER SITUATION WAS AFTER THIS SHOOTING.

BETSY, TELL US ABOUT THAT.

YEAH.

I MEAN, GABBY WAS IN A COMA FOR SEVERAL DAYS.

SHE WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE BRAIN AND INTO HER LANGUAGE CENTER, AND SO YOU KNOW, THIS WAS A VERY SERIOUS INJURY.

SHE WAS COMATOSE FOR A FEW DAYS, AND FOUR DAYS AFTER THE SHOOTING, PRESIDENT OBAMA CAME TO TUCSON TO SPEAK, AND IT WAS DURING THAT TIME IN A VISIT WITH SOME OF HER CONGRESSIONAL COLLEAGUES THAT SHE OPENED HER EYES FOR THE FIRST TIME WHICH WAS THE BEGINNING OF HER INCREDIBLE, MONUMENTAL FIGHT BACK.

AS YOU SAID, SHE WAS A FIGHTER.

HER FIGHT BACK TO REGAIN BOTH THE ABILITY TO WALK AND THE ABILITY TO TALK.

WE WERE SO LUCKY AS FILMMAKERS BECAUSE GABBY'S HUSBAND, THEN ASTRONAUT MARK KELLY, YOU KNOW, IN THE MIDST OF THIS TRAGEDY WITH HIS WIFE.

AT ONE POINT NEWS PEOPLE HAD TOLD HIM SHE WAS DEAD, HE HAD THE WHEREWITHAL A FEW DAYS LATER TO BUY A CAMERA AND TO SET IT UP IN HER ROOM AS SHE STARTED TO RECOVER.

WE SHOW THESE TAPES AND YOU SEE THE PROGRESS AND YOU SEE HOW A PERSON CAN COME BACK FROM SUCH A SERIOUS INJURY.

GABBY HAS APHASIAA AS A RESULT OF THIS SHOOTING WHICH MANY AMERICANS SUFFER FROM APHASIA FROM STROKES.

SO IT'S NOT DISIS IMFAR TO WHAT HAPPENS TO STROKE VICTIMS, AND RE-LEARNING LANGUAGE IS ALSO A SIMILAR PROCESS AND YOU SEE IT SLOWLY, STEP BY STEP, HOW SHE COMES BACK, YOU KNOW?

FIRST SHE LEARNS IT'S A BIG, HUGE DEAL WHEN SHE'S ABLE TO SAY MY NAME IS GABBY.

THAT IS JUST AN ENORMOUS MILESTONE AND THEN THE THERAPIST, IT'S THE DOCTORS WHO OPERATED ON HER AND IT'S ALSO THE AMAZING SPEECH PATHOLOGIST WHO WORKED WITH HER.

SHE'S CERTAINLY ONE OF THE HEROES OF THIS STORY.

ANGIE --

GABBY HERSELF IS CERTAINLY A PROTAGONIST IN THIS STORY, THE HERO FOR OUR STORY, BUT THERE ARE A LOT OF HEROES HERE AND THERE ARE THE PEOPLE THAT YOU THINK OF, THE NEUROSURGEONS AND THE NURSES AND GABBY'S HUSBAND, BUT, LIKE, REALLY IN A CENTRAL AND HEROIC ROLE IN THE STORY ARE THE SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS WHO REALLY TOOK SOMEONE ALMOST AS IF BEING REBORN AND HELPING GABBY RE-ACCESS THE WORDS THAT WERE KIND OF STUCK IN HER BRAIN AT THAT POINT BECAUSE HER LANGUAGE CENTER HAD BEEN SO SEVERELY DAMAGED AND YOU KNOW, WITH GABBY'S PERSEVERANCE AND WITH, LIKE, CLEVER TECHNIQUES AND ALSO WITH A LOT OF LOVE THERE ARE TIMES WHEN THE SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS MOVES BACK FROM THE DAILY FROM WHATEVER LESSON PLANS WE HAVE AND GIVES GABBY THE BIGGEST HUG.

I WAS STRUCK BY SO MANY MOMENTS.

SOMETIMES YOU CAN PULL OUT A MOMENT THAT IS SO COMPELLING AND I WANT TO GIVE A MINUTE TO THE NOTION OF MUSIC AND HOW THEY USED THAT WITH HUMOR AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT THE SPEECH THERAPIST THAT WORKED HERE, AND I REMEMBER HER AT ONE POINT IN TIME SAYING, GABBY, YOU'RE NOT -- I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU QUIT ON ME, RIGHT?

HOW MANY TIMES DID WE HEAR THAT SAYING I'M NOT GOING TO LET YOU QUIT ON ME.

THIS IS NOT A JOB.

THIS IS NOT THIS WOMAN'S ONAND THIS IS A CALLING.

TELL ME HOW THEY WOVE THE NOTION OF MUSIC INTO HER RECOVERY?

MUSIC, IT TURNS OUT IS NOT JUST IN YOUR LANGUAGE CENTER.

IT'S ALL OVER THE BRAIN.

SO THAT IS ONE OF THE KEY WAYS THAT SPEECH PATHOLOGISTS CAN ACCESS YOUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH MUSIC.

SO AT THE VERY BEGINNING A LOT OF TIMES THEY WERE DOING EXERCISE SINGING.

THEY WOULD SING, MY NAME IS GABBY.

THEY'D SING HAPPY BIRTHDAY OVER AND OVER AGAIN, AND AT THE BEGINNING GABBY WOULDN'T BE ABLE TO SPEAK, EVEN TO SAY HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU AND THEN SLOWLY SHE LEARNS THESE SONGS.

SO MUSIC BECOMES VERY IMPORTANT.

IT'S INTERESTING, GABBY WAS A VERY MUSICAL PERSON.

AS A KID, SHE WAS IN PLAYS AND SANG IN ANNIE.

SHE LOVES TO SING.

SHE'S GOT A REALLY NICE VOICE AND IT WAS PARTICULARLY EFFECTIVE FOR HER AND CONTINUES TO BE PART OF HER THERAPY.

TODAY, NOW THAT SHE HAS REGAINED SOME OF HER SPEECH, SHE LOVES TO SING.

JULIE, GO AHEAD.

YOU WANT TO JUMP IN?

EVEN IN MOMENTS THAT YOU WOULD THINK WOULD BE THE DARKEST MOMENTS LIKE JUST A FEW WEEKS AFTER THE SHOOTING AND GABBY'S HEAD IS STILL SHAVED FROM SURGERY, THERE SHE IS WITH HER NURSE AND SPEECH THERAPIST SINGING CYNDI LAUPER'S 'GIRLS JUST WANT TO HAVE FUN.'

SHE HAD SUCH A NOTION OF SELF-PRESERVATION THAT HELPED HER DO THAT.

IT'S A WARMER EXPERIENCE THAN YOU MIGHT THINK OF WATCHING SOMEONE IN A HOSPITAL GOING THROUGH REHABILITATION.

IT'S FUNNY BECAUSE YOU MENTIONED HER HUSBAND MARK HAVING THE SENSE THAT I WANT TO CHRONICLE THIS JOURNEY FOR HER.

SO LITERALLY, WITHIN DAYS OF THIS ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT WHERE SHE WAS NEAR DEATH, THERE IS -- THERE'S VIDEO OF THIS, AND IT'S JARRING IN THE BEGINNING.

PI THINK AGAIN, IF YOU KNOW GABBY GIFFORDS AND YOU'VE SEEN THE INTRODUCTORY SHOTS AND HOW EFFUSIVE SHE WAS AND ENGAGING SHE WAS AND NOW YOU SEE HER IN THIS HOSPITAL BED AND WIRED UP AND JUST BARELY STILL NEAR DEATH, BUT THEN IT DOES TAKE YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY.

SHE'S GETTING READY TO GO OUT FOR A BIKE RIDE THAT SHE DOES AND IS SORT OF A RECUMBENT BIKE AND THEN WE HAVE YOUTUBE STREAMING HERE.

THAT WAS AN AMAZING MOMENT FOR JULIE AND ME BECAUSE WE WERE IN THE GARAGE AS GABBY IS GETTING STRAPPED INTO HER RECUMBENT BIKE AND SHE DOES HER VOICE-ACTIVATED MUSIC AND '80s ON EIGHT AND UP COMES 'STILL HAVEN'T FOUND WHEN I'M LOOKING FOR' AND SHE BURSTS INTO SONG.

THE LOOK ON HER FACE, AND I THINK YOU SEE IT IN THE FILM IS JUST SO POIGNANT BECAUSE SHE IS ON A JOURNEY AND SHE IS LOOKING FOR SOMETHING.

IT'S JUST SO MEANINGFUL, THAT I HAVE TO SAY THAT NORMALLY YOU ARE REMOVING YOURSELF WHEN YOU'RE FILMING AND WATCHING THINGS AND THAT WAS A MOMENT WHERE I WAS CHOKED UP A BIT.

IT WAS SO POWERFUL.

YEAH.

IT WAS SUCH A GREAT MOMENT TO INCLUDE HERE.

JULIE, LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT THIS ELEMENT HERE.

THE CONTEXT IS THIS ASCENDANT STAR WHOSE LIFE WAS NEARLY SNUFFED OUT IN THIS ASSASSINATION ATTEMPT.

YOU START TELLING HER STORY WITH HER LITERALLY IN A HOSPITAL BED AND THROUGH THE COURSE OF HER DISCOVERY WHERE VIEWERS WERE STRUGGLING WITH HER AND WE'RE ENJOYING MOMENTS OF GREAT JOY WHEN THERE IS A SLIGHT BREAKTHROUGH HERE AND I WAS STRUCK BY HER SENSE OF HUMOR WHICH I SUSPECT, YES, SOMEONE IS GOING THROUGH SOMETHING LIKE THIS, WHAT'S THE LAST THING TO COME INTO THE PICTURE, MAYBE HUMOR?

HUMOR IS PART OF WHAT HELPS YOU SURVIVE SOMETHING AS HARSH AND TRAGIC AS WHAT GABBY AND HER HUSBAND HAD TO SURVIVE.

YOU KNOW, SHE HAD RELATED TO APHASIA, THE LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT SHE'S STRUGGLED WITH SINCE BEING SHOT.

THERE WAS AN INTERESTING PIECE OF THAT THAT WAS AN ISSUE AND IT WAS CALLED SEPARATION.

I WAS GOING TO ASK YOU ABOUT THAT.

GABBY'S WORD WAS CHICKEN.

SHE'D JUST BLURT OUT CHICKEN.

MOST OF THE TIME SHE ACTUALLY IS GETTING A BIT FRUSTRATED BECAUSE SHE'S LOOKING FOR A WORD AND INSTEAD WHAT'S COMING OUT IS CHICKEN AND THERE'S A MOMENT WHEN THEY'RE GETTING READY FOR HER HUSBAND'S BIRTHDAY AND THEY'RE PREPARING HER TO SING, INSTEAD OF SAYING HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR MARK, SHE'S SAYING HAPPY BIRTHDAY DEAR CHICKEN.

SHE WAS STRUGGLING TO COME UP WITH A PROPER NAME, SHE KNEW IT WAS FUNNY.

YOU SAW THAT GLINT IN HER EYE SAYING --

THERE WAS A GLINT EYE AND THIS USED TO FRUSTRATE YOU AND IT USED TO FRUSTRATE ME, BUT I'LL THROW THIS WORD.

HER THERAPIST SAID DON'T SAY THAT ON HIS BIRTH DAY AND THE FACT THAT THE TWO OF THEM, GABBY AND THE SPEECH PATHOLOGIST SHARE THIS LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENT IN THE MIDDLE OF HOW MUCH HARD WORK THEY'RE GOING THROUGH AND HOW PAINFUL AND FRUSTRATING IT ALL IS IS REALLY A BEAUTIFUL THING.

IT IS.

IT BEARS THE ELEMENTS OF HUMANITY, I THINK, THAT ALL OF THEM HAVE BROUGHT TO THIS SHAKESPEAREAN TRAGEDY HERE.

THERE ARE SO MANY OF THESE GREAT MOMENTS IN THIS FILM, AND I JUST WANT TO SAY IT IS JUST A MARVELOUS STORY ABOUT A FASCINATING JOURNEY THAT THIS WOMAN HAS TAKEN HERE.

LET'S MOVE ON A LITTLE BIT MORE ON HER JOURNEY BECAUSE THERE'S SO MUCH MORE PEOPLE WILL SAY IN THIS, AND LET'S TALK ABOUT WHAT I MENTIONED IN THE INTRODUCTION WHICH IS HER GETTING INVOLVED IN CHAMPIONING THIS ORGANIZATION THAT'S NOW CALLED GIFFORDS THAT SHE CO-FOUNDED.

TELL ME WHAT IT IS THAT SHE IS HOPING TO DO WITH THIS ORGANIZATION.

BETSY?

YEAH.

SKIPPING AHEAD FROM GABBY'S RECOVERY, IT IS TWO YEARS THAT SHE IS WORKING HARD TO REGAIN HER SPEECH.

IN THAT TIME HER HUSBAND HAS RETIRED AS AN ASTRONAUT AND THE TWO OF THEM ARE BACK IN TUCSON AND THEY'RE WORKING TO HELP GABBY REGAIN A SEMBLANCE OF HER NORMAL LIFE.

IN 2012 IT WAS THE HORRIBLE, HORRIBLE SHOOTING AT THE SANDY HOOK SCHOOL IN NEWTOWN, CONNECTICUT, AND YOU CAN TELL FROM THIS STORY HOW THAT AFFECTED GABBY.

SHE AND MARK FLEW TO KKT CUT.

THEY VISITED WITH THE FAMILIES AND AS GABBY SAID SHE'S A VERY EMOTIONAL, FACT ILPERSON, THAT'S THESE HUGS, WITH THESE GRIEVING PARENTS AND THAT WAS A TURNING POINT SAYING ENOUGH IS ENOUGH AND SHE WAS IN A UNIQUE POSITION AS SOMEONE WHO HAD A POLITICAL EXPERIENCE, YOU KNOW, A TRACK RECORD FOR BIPARTISANSHIP, AN UNDERSTANDING OF HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS AND AS A SYMBOL OF THE CONSEQUENCES OF GUN VIOLENCE, SHE COULD START AN ORGANIZATION, AND THAT'S WHAT THEY DID CALLED GIFFORDS.

THEY INITIALLY LOBBIED VERY HARD FOR GUN LEGISLATION, ANTI-GUN VIOLENCE LEGISLATION IN THE WAKE OF NEWTOWN THAT WAS A HUGE DISAPPOINTMENT FOR GABBY AND PRESIDENT OBAMA AND MANY OTHERS WHEN THAT DIDN'T PASS IN THE WAKE OF THIS TRAGEDY OF 20 YOUNG CHILDREN BEING MURDERED SENSELESSLY, BUT YOU KNOW, TYPICAL OF GABBY, SHE DIDN'T LET THAT SLOW HER DOWN.

THEY STARTED IN ADDITION TO FEDERAL LOBBYING, THEY DO A LOT OF LOBBYING IN STATES AND THEY HAVE ACCOMPLISHED A LOT STATE BY STATE IN LEGISLATURES WITH RED FLAG LAWS AND OTHER THINGS.

GABBY TRAVELS THE COUNTRY, YOU KNOW?

JULIE CAN BRING YOU UP-TO-DATE ON WHAT THEY HAVE BEEN DOING NOW BECAUSE THERE HAS BEEN SOME RECENT SUCCESS STORY FOR WHAT GIFFORDS HAS DONE.

LET'S DO THAT.

I HAVE ABOUT THREE MINUTES LEFT AND I WANT TO DO THAT.

YOU TALK ABOUT HER BEING THE PERFECT SYMBOL AND YOU SHOW IN THE FILM, SHE WAS AND IS STILL A GUN OWNER.

WE HAVE A SCENE OF HER USING A GUN.

IN SHE'S ONE OF THESE PEOPLE TRYING TO SAY SOME REASONABLE MIDDLE GROUNDS HERE.

IT LOOKS LIKE YOU HAVE TWO YEARS OR SO.

A LOT OF GUN OWNERS SUPPORT REASONABLE RESTRICTION AND IT'S IN THE HEART OF WASHINGTON IT BECOMES DIFFICULT.

I DON'T WANT TO SAY THE JOYFUL UPDATE AN INCREMENTAL STEP HAS FINALLY HAPPENED AND PEOPLE THOUGHT A BIPARTISAN GUN LEGISLATION JUST WASN'T POSSIBLE IN WASHINGTON.

IT NOW HAS HAPPENED AND IT HAS BEEN SIGNED INTO LAW AND A SMALL STEP FOR THE FIRST TIME IN CLOSE TO THREE DECADES WHERE CONGRESS HAS MADE SOME RESTRICTIONS.

THEY UNIVERSALIZED BACKGROUND CHECKS FOR 18 TO 21-YEAR-OLDS.

OBVIOUSLY, NOT FOR ALL PEOPLE, BUT BACKGROUND CHECKS ARE NOW UNIVERSAL FOR ANYONE TO AGE 21 AND THAT'S NOT NOTHING BECAUSE THERE ARE MASS SHOOTERS IN THAT CATEGORY AND DHA CLOSED WHAT'S CALLED THE BOYFRIEND LOOPHOLE, WHERE GUN REGULATION AND THERE WASN'T FOR GUN OWNERSHIP AND IT ONLY INCLUDED LEGAL SPOUSES.

THAT'S WHEN SO MUCH DOMMESTIC VIOLENCE IS, WHETHER IT'S RED FLAG LAWS AND SOME REAL CHANGES, BUT A FIRST STEP AND I THINK GIFFORDS IS HOPING THAT THERE'S MORE TO COME.

YOU MENTIONED IN THE VERY BEGINNING AND BETSY, YOU SAID IT.

YOU TALK ABOUT THIS BEING A COMEBACK STORY, AND I THINK IT'S FAIR TO DESCRIBE THIS AS ONE OF THE GREAT COMEBACK STORIES OF OUR TIME IN TERMS OF WHERE SHE WAS, WHERE SHE BECAME AFTER THE IS AASSASSINATION ATTEMPT AND WHERE SHE IS NOW.

TITLES I THINK ARE IMPORTANT AND I THINK THIS IS A GREAT TITLE 'GABBY GIFFORDS WON'T BACK DOWN.'

IT IS JUST, AS I SAID, IT'S A MARVELOUS, COMPELLING, EVOCATIVE FILM GIVEN THE WORK YOU HAVE DONE IN THE PAST.

BETSY WEST AND JULIE COHEN, ONCE AGAIN, A REMINDER IT WILL BE IN THEATERS NEAR YOU.

SO MAKE SURE YOU CHECK INTO IT.

FABULOUS WORK BY BOTH OF YOU.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US.

IT'S ALWAYS GOOD TO TALK WITH YOU.

THANK YOU, JACK.

TAKE CARE NOW.

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'METROFOCUS' IS MADE POSSIBLE BY -- SUE AND EDGAR WACHENHEIM III, THE PETER G. PETERSON AND JOAN GANZ COONEY FUND.

BERNARD AND DENISE SCHWARTZ, BARBARA HOPE ZUCKERBERG, THE AMBROSE MONELL FOUNDATION AND BY -- ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪ ♪♪

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