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I served in the US Navy from 2002-08; four of those years were as a Nuclear Propulsion Operator aboard an aircraft carrier. I engage in political activism in various Democratic circles when I am able to. I have a cat, and I am an uncle.

All opinions that I express are my own and do not reflect the views of any organization that I represent.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

TUCSON, ARIZONA: ONE YEAR LATER





Today was the one year anniversary of the assassination attempt of Representative Gabrielle Giffords outside of a shopping center Tucson, Arizona during Giffords’s Congress on Your Corner event. Giffords, shot through the head, survived the attack, but the incident injured 13 others and claimed seven lives. Among them:

Dorothy Morris, 76, a retired secretary was with her husband George, who was wounded in the attack.

John Roll, 63, was the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona. Judge Roll was appointed to this position by President George H.W. Bush. In 2009 a lawsuit was brought by the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF) to Roll’s court. He ruled in favor of 16 Mexican plaintiffs represented that claimed that an Arizona rancher assaulted, threatened, and held them at gunpoint. This controversial case prompted letters, phone calls, and even death threats to where his family and he were under protection from the U.S. Marshals. It is unclear of what the Judge’s political positions were, but he attended the event to say hello to his representative. Surveillance video showed that he was shot in the back shielding a staffer who was also shot.

Dorwan Stoddard, 76, was a retired construction worker died from a gunshot wound to the head. His wife, Mavy, was among the wounded.

Gabriel “Gabe” Zimmerman, 30, was the community outreach director for the representative and a member of her staff since 2006. Mr. Zimmerman became the first Congressional staffer killed in the line of duty.

Phyllis Schneck, 79, the eldest victim, was a homemaker that lived in the Tucson area.

Christina-Taylor Green, 9, was the youngest victim. She was accompanied by a neighbor to meet her representative because Ms. Green expressed an interest in political service after being elected to a student council in her school. Her grandfather, Dallas Green, was a baseball player for the Philadelphia Phillies. She gained notoriety of being featured in the book Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11.

The alleged gunman was Jared Lee Loughner who was described as a mentally disturbed individual based on interviews by people that knew him, his MySpace profile, and videos on his YouTube page. Mr. Loughner had encountered Representative Giffords back in August 2007 but held a grudge toward her because he felt that she did not answer his question the way he liked.

According to accounts, Loughner fired randomly into the crowd. He stopped when his 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine was emptied and he attempted to reload. In the chaos, Patricia Maisch grabbed the weapon. An individual, who had a concealed weapon on their person, reached out to defend their being only to discover that Ms. Maisch was trying to subdue the assailant along with Roger Sulzgeber, Joseph Zamudio, and US Army Colonel Bill Badger, who had received a gunshot wound himself.

Loughner is in custody awaiting trial. At this time, he is deemed mentally incompetent to stand trial for the 49 chargers of murder and attempted murder brought against him. Among those charges are the deaths of four of the victims, two federal chargers for the death of Judge Roll and Mr. Zimmerman, and one charge for the assassination attempt of Representative Giffords.

In the chaos David and Nancy Bowman, married medical professions, set up an importune triage area to treat those afflicted. Daniel Hern├índez, Jr., an intern in her office, is credited with saving Representative Giffords’s life.


The bullet had passed through the front of her skull to the back without crossing the midline of the brain. Neurosurgeons did what they could to repair the damage. After what had happened, doctors were optimistic that Representative Giffords would regain some function, but were cautious about the recovery process.

Along with her husband, Retired US Navy Astronaut Captain Mark Kelly, and medical professionals, Representative Giffords began her long rehabilitation process at the Memorial Hermann Medical Center in Houston, TX.

During her recovery process, she was able to witness the launch of Captain Kelly on his final mission into space at Cape Canaveral, Florida on 29 April 2011. She watched his return to Earth on 16 May 2011.

In June 2011, Giffords was released from the hospital and returned home to where she is continuing speech, music, physical, and occupational therapy.

During the bitter debt ceiling debate that engulfed Washington, DC over the summer, Representative Giffords made an appearance to cast a vote on a bill to authorize the raising of the debt ceiling.


It should be noted that Representative Giffords read the First Amendment to the Constitution in her previous appearance in the US House on 6 January 2011.


Representative Giffords and her husband are continuing her long recovery process as seen in this interview with Diane Sawyer that aired on ABC back in November 2011.


Even though the process to recovery is long for those impacted by the event in Tucson last year, we must remember the first words that Representative Giffords spoke in recording released after the interview:


“I’m getting better.”

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