Archive for Gabby Giffords

"I was a person": Time to reform our broken mental health system.

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Flan post I was a person mental health post

Please take a minute to read this very heartfelt, very important post written by one of our longtime readers. Our mental health system is indeed broken. Ilene is doing everything she can to help rectify that:

Bipartisan Support is Needed to Pass Important Reforms to our Broken Mental Health System

Many people are crying out for stronger gun laws to address the increasing gun violence. The shooting of former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, by a man in a state of psychosis, is often mentioned as a reason for these reforms. I urge those who support stronger gun laws to also support important reforms to our extremely dysfunctional mental healthcare system.

This is not an either/or situation. We need stronger gun control laws and a complete overhaul of our broken mental healthcare system, but I fear this is becoming a partisan issue. I am a flaming liberal, and I support the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act (HR3717) which is sponsored by – gasp – a Republican.

HR3717, sponsored by Rep. Tim Murphy, contains a very comprehensive set of long needed reforms. The competing bill, the Strengthening Mental Health in our Communities Act (HR 4574), is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ron Barber, who was shot alongside of Giffords. There are some overlaps, but HR4574 lacks several essential reforms contained in HR3717.

The Barber bill doesn’t reform the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which thwarts the efforts of family members to help their loved ones with serious mental illness and who lack insight (Anosognosia). It also doesn’t include the need for a nationwide set of Assisted Outpatient Treatment laws, which would help people with serious mental illness, who have cycled in and out of the ER and jails, get into much needed, sustained, outpatient treatment.

Finally, it fails to address the Medicaid Institutes for Mental Diseases (IMD) Exclusion, a discriminatory law which bans federal funds to IMDs, which provide the majority of services to people with a mental illness or drug addiction. This includes hospitals, rehabilitation facilities, and group housing that provide on-site services and supervision. The Murphy bill includes these needed reforms.

Many people share the misconception that everyone can seek help on their own, manage their own treatment, and live on their own with occasional support. This is unfortunately not possible for a minority (about 25%) of people with serious mental illness. My twin brother Paul had schizophrenia, was treatment resistant, had significant cognitive impairments, and was in that minority.

Paul was treated like a fully functioning adult when released from the state hospital, which led to a roller coaster ride to hell and back and his early death. The “Pauls of today” will continue to become incarcerated, homeless, and die young, and their families will continue to suffer, without the essential reforms in Rep. Murphy’s bill.

Mental Health advocacy groups are calling for efforts to resolve the differences between the two bills, and to create a version which can pass the U.S. House of Representatives. Without true bipartisan support, we could lose those essential reforms contained in the Murphy bill. Please do not let that happen.

Ilene Flannery Wells

Paul's Legacy Project www.paulslegacyproject.org

To learn more about Paul, please read the book about his life; Shot In The Head, a sister’s memoir, a brother’s struggle, by our sister Katherine Flannery Dering. www.shotintheheadbook.com

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VIDEO: Gabby Giffords shoots gun during tour to promote background checks

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gabby giffords shooting range with mark kelly

See, gun zealots? As Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly demonstrate, you can own a gun, you can shoot a gun, and you can even revere guns, all while supporting gun safety. Imagine:

Washington (CNN) – Former Arizona Congresswoman Gabby Giffords and her husband, Mark Kelly, are in Alaska Tuesday on the second stop of a week-long, seven state tour across the nation trying to build public support for enhanced background checks for gun purchases.

The stops are specifically aimed at states where Senators voted no in April, such as Sen. Joe Heck (R-Nevada) and Sen. Mark Begich (D-Alaska), or those who voted yes, including Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), for the Manchin-Toomey background check provision that would have brought enhanced background checks to guns bought at shows or over the internet.

Welcome to the "Rights and Responsibilities" tour, Gabby and Mark's way of trying their best to reduce gun violence after the tragic Newtown, Connecticut elementary school massacre.

This event was the first time Giffords had gone to a shooting range since she was nearly killed in 2011.

Gabby also wrote an op-ed for USA Today. Here are the excerpts provided by CNN:

Days before we celebrate our Declaration of Independence and the values that make our nation great, I am taking this week to pay tribute to the Second Amendment – both the rights it bestows and the responsibilities it requires. Some might consider me an unlikely advocate for gun rights because I sustained terrible injuries in a violent shooting. But I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage ...

We can't stop every person who is determined to do harm, but common-sense measures can prevent tragedies. Expanding background checks will help create a uniform standard for all gun purchases and prevent criminals and the dangerously mentally ill from obtaining powerful weapons...

I know there will always be some in Congress who remain in the grip of special interests... [W]e'll celebrate those who vote yes, and we'll notice those who ignored their constituents.

And hopefully, the rest of us will vote out those who clearly prefer those special interests to their constituents.

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Democrats: Gun background check bill will be back for a vote

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gabby giffords mark kelly background checks guns

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid:

"Joe Manchin called me yesterday. He thinks he has a couple more votes... . I may be able to get another Democrat or two. That would get us up to 57. We may only need three additional Republicans. So we'll see.""

Yay

Huffington Post:

Senate Democrats believe that they have several new votes in favor of a bill that would expand background checks for gun buyers, after weeks in which those who opposed the legislation faced strong political backlash at home.

The additional votes would still put the bill, a bipartisan compromise sponsored by Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), shy of the 60 necessary for passage. And tellingly, no one boasting of growing support would reveal the names of those lawmakers ready to flip.

booo

Greg Sargent thinks one of these votes could come from Senator Johnny Isakson.

After seeing this Profile in Courage, how could any Congress member vote against common sense safety measures?

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Video- 2013 Profile in Courage Award Ceremony - Presented To Gabby Giffords

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AUDIO: Gabby Giffords group targets Ayotte, McConnell. Ayotte's approvals plunge after "no" vote on gun background checks.

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gabby giffords mark kelly smile

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the grassroots movement led by Gabby Giffords and her husband Mark Kelly, has launched an "accountability campaign" that focuses on Senator McConnell of Kentucky and Senator Ayotte of New Hampshire:

ARS, founded by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly, will begin airing radio ads today in Kentucky and New Hampshire, highlighting Senator Mitch McConnell and Senator Kelly Ayotte’s vote against this sensible solution to keeping our families safe from gun violence.

The ads highlight McConnell and Ayotte’s putting loyalty to the special interest gun lobby in Washington instead of supporting wildly popular sensible policies that would keep their communities safer. In Kentucky, 82 percent of people support background checks; in New Hampshire, 89 percent of residents support them.

Transcripts:

kelly ayotte

Ignored – Ayotte

Woman 1: Remember that ad Kelly Ayotte ran saying she’s one of us.

Woman 2: Oh, where she’s out for a run?

Woman 1: (SFX: Newspaper rustling) Yeah. Well, it sure didn’t take long for her to “go Washington.” Says here Ayotte voted against improving background checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Woman 2: Are you serious? 89 percent of the people in New Hampshire support universal background checks. She just ignored us?

Woman 1: Sure did. This was common sense legislation written by a Republican and a Democrat. Supported by law enforcement. And it protected Second Amendment rights. But Ayotte voted against it anyway.

Woman 2: And ignored the will of the people.

Woman 1: Well, I’m calling Senator Ayotte and telling her to listen to the people for a change. You should too. The number is202-224-3324.

Woman 2: Paid for by Americans for Responsible Solutions.

*********

mitch mcconnell

LISTEN

(Montage of News clips from Newtown of the shooting).

Announcer: We watched. We listened. We felt it. Newtown.

But Senator McConnell won’t listen to us.

Eighty-two percent of Kentuckians support universal background checks.

But Senator McConnell voted against them.

McConnell opposed common sense checks to keep guns out of the hands of criminals.

Written by a Republican and a Democrat. Supported by law enforcement officers. It was a common sense plan that protected Second Amendment Rights.

But Senator McConnell ignored the will of the people. Making our children and our families less save…. And putting the Washington special interests ahead of Kentucky… AGAIN.

Call Senator McConnell at 202-224-2541. And tell him to start listening to us, for a change.

Paid for by Americans for Responsible Solutions.

And HuffPo is reporting that Ayotte's approval ratings have dropped sharply since her no vote on background checks. The gun safety issue is not going away, despite misinformation to the contrary being spread by those on the right:

A new poll has New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R) down a total of 15 points from her previous approval rating in a survey that followed her vote against requiring background checks for firearms purchases.

Ayotte's plunge underscores the changing politics around gun control and gun safety. In years past, lawmakers worried that a vote for gun control would bring the anger of the National Rifle Association. In the new reality, votes against gun control also carry a political risk, as the Ayotte poll indicates.

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National Review Online: Gabby Giffords' "childish display in the New York Times is an embarrassment."

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pot kettle embarrassing childish displays

Recently, in a New York Times op-ed, Gabby Giffords wrote, “Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious.”

She's not the only one. You will be, too, once you read this, via Media Matters:

In an NRO post, Kevin D. Williamson attacked Giffords [...]

"While Ms. Giffords certainly has my sympathy for the violence she suffered, it should be noted that being shot in the head by a lunatic does not give one any special grace to pronounce upon public-policy questions, nor does it give one moral license to call people "cowards" for holding public-policy views at variance with one's own. Her childish display in the New York Times is an embarrassment."

Pot. Kettle. Embarrassing childish displays.

Juxtaposed next to that example of sensitivity, compassion, and fairness was this ad:

nra ad in national reviewHere are a couple of excerpts from Giffords' embarrassing childish display. The first example could be why the National Review went after her the way they did:

These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association...

Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious...

[T]hey looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing… [T]rust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest.

Yeah, wow, what a baby.

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Gabby Giffords: "Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious." + a New Rule

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new rules 2

Via the Amend 2012 Facebook page where they say this:

Cause: A campaign by the American people to remind those in charge who is REALLY in charge. It's time to overturn Citizens United!

guns v voting background checksMakes sense to me.

If you haven't read Gabby Giffords' New York times op-ed, please get over there, pronto:

I know what a complicated issue is; I know what it feels like to take a tough vote. This was neither. These senators made their decision based on political fear and on cold calculations about the money of special interests like the National Rifle Association [...]

Speaking is physically difficult for me. But my feelings are clear: I’m furious. I will not rest until we have righted the wrong these senators have done, and until we have changed our laws so we can look parents in the face and say: We are trying to keep your children safe. We cannot allow the status quo — desperately protected by the gun lobby so that they can make more money by spreading fear and misinformation — to go on.

I am asking every reasonable American to help me tell the truth about the cowardice these senators demonstrated. I am asking for mothers to stop these lawmakers at the grocery store and tell them: You’ve lost my vote. I am asking activists to unsubscribe from these senators’ e-mail lists and to stop giving them money. I’m asking citizens to go to their offices and say: You’ve disappointed me, and there will be consequences. [...]

[T]hey looked over their shoulder at the powerful, shadowy gun lobby — and brought shame on themselves and our government itself by choosing to do nothing... [T]rust me, I know how politicians talk when they want to distract you — but their decision was based on a misplaced sense of self-interest.

gabby giffords mark kelly background checks gunsPlease go here to read the entire post.

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