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Pat McMahon: Ignition

It’s the kind of story that is so beyond real life that screen writers will only have to quote the news accounts.

We in Arizona knew Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Most of the state knew she represented the southern regions, that she was a Democrat and that she held some pretty conservative views on things like gun rights. To the rest of the country, she was pretty much just a number in the House of Representatives.

Then, one month ago, the world heard that she had been shot in the head in a Tucson parking lot. People learned later that she had survived, but as the story unfolded, the news became more like a novel. This beautiful, dedicated public servant is married to an American astronaut, Mark Kelly, who was training to command one of the space shuttle’s last missions.

Gabrielle Giffords continues to make remarkable progress and may be able to attend the shuttle Endeavor’s launch in April. Just picture the movie: Shuttle blasts off, closeup of bandaged face. She looks up and smiles as the ship leaves earth on its mission. Script follows Giffords long journey back to Congress where she balances the budget and celebrates in her husband’s resort on the moon. Why not?