SPRINGFIELD (CBS) — The shooting of Ariz. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords brought back memories for one Chicago media personality who survived gunshot wounds to the head 30 years ago.
In 1971, Merri Dee was kidnapped along with a television guest. She was shot in the head twice and left for dead, but managed to crawl away and seek help.
“I immediately thought about my family, I thought about my daughter,” Dee told CBS 2 in Springfield Monday. “My daughter was 12 years old.”
She almost died and was left temporarily blind. Dee worked through a difficult recovery and resumed her career the following year at WGN-TV. She became a victims-rights advocate. But she admits the terror of her ordeal has never left completely.
“Cars backfiring, people yelling, doors slamming — I still jump,” Dee said. “It does not go away.”
Giffords, who was shot in the head Saturday during a gunman’s attack that left six of her constituents dead, is responding to basic commands now, and doctors are optimistic about her recovery. The alleged gunman is in custody and made his first court appearance Monday.
Gifford is “fighting back,” Dee said. “She’s thinking about her family (and) how will she be able to serve her people? That’s what I would think.”
“If she comes out, she’s going to be ever than she’s ever been,” Dee added. “She does have a long way to go.”