Many liberal commentators and reporters are using the Tucson shooting to advance their personal agenda. It ranges from blaming lack of strict gun laws to restrict possession of private firearms, accusing tea party and other right-wing opponents for verbal and symbolic violence used in their clash with the Obama administration to muffle rhetoric in political debates, indict talk radio for inciting individuals and the need to reimplement the Fairness Doctrine to limit free speech, pointing the finger at Sarah Palin for targeting districts with cross-hairs in the 2010 elections to make her unfit for future political office, to charging that Arizona is “the mecca for prejudice and bigotry” so it will not enforce federal immigration policy. It appears that these commentators follow the Rahm Emanuel creed "You never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” It seems that personal responsibility for ones actions do not enter their discussions. The fact that this violence was committed by a deranged individual, one who appears to have no political affiliation, was not religious, has no record he listened to radio or visited conservative websites but did read Nazi and Communist books. The fact is this mentally challenged perpetrator should not cause knee jerk political reaction that restricts any of the constitutionally protected rights that our military fights to protect. The facts without opinions are summarized below. A shooting near Tucson, Arizona, occurred at 10:10MST am on January 8, 2011. Twenty people were injured, nineteen from gunfire, six of them fatally, during an open meeting that U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords was holding with members of her constituency in the Safeway supermarket parking lot in La Toscana Village mall, which is in Casas Adobes, an unincorporated areanorth of Tucson, Arizona. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district.
A 22-year-old Tucson man, Jared Lee Loughner, was arrested at the scene. Court filings include notes allegedly handwritten by Loughner indicating he planned to assassinate Giffords. The motive for the shooting remains unclear, as the suspect has not cooperated with authorities and has invoked his right to remain silent. Giffords had set up a table outside the store and about 20 to 30 people were gathered around her when the gunman drew a pistol and shot Giffords in the head. He then allegedly proceeded to fire apparently randomly at other members of the crowd. The weapon used was reported to be a 9mm Glock model 19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine. After the gunman ran out of ammunition in the first magazine, he stopped to reload, but dropped the loaded magazine from his pocket to the sidewalk, from where bystander Patricia Maisch grabbed it. A by-stander clubbed the back of the assailant's head with a folding chair in the process injuring his elbow and representing the 20th injury. The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old retired colonel Bill Badger who himself had been shot, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio. While waiting for help to arrive, Giffords' intern Daniel Hernández Jr. applied pressure to the gunshot wound on her forehead, and made sure she did not choke on her blood. David and Nancy Bowman, a married doctor and nurse who were shopping in the store, immediately set up triage and attended to nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Police arrived on the scene at 10:15 am, with paramedics arriving at 10:16 am. Five people died at the scene, including United States District Court for the District of Arizona Chief Judge John Roll and Giffords' community outreach director Gabe Zimmerman. Nine year old Christina-Taylor Green was later pronounced dead at the hospital. According to Green's father, her organs were donated "to a little girl in Boston." Within 38 minutes Giffords underwent emergency surgery where skull bone fragments and a small amount of necroticbrain tissue was extracted by doctors. Part of Gifford's skull was removed to prevent further brain damage caused by swelling.
According to Dr. Peter M. Rheeof the medical center, she was "shot through and through on one side of the head....[it] went through her brain. The bullet traveled through the left hemisphere of her brain without crossing the midline, where the most critical injuries result." Neurosurgeon and medical commentator Sanjay Gupta said that the exit of the bullet was a factor in her survival as not all of its energy was transferred to the brain. Giffords was placed into a chemically-induced coma to allow her brain to rest. The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, born on September 10, 1988, lives with his parents about 5 miles from the site of the shooting, is described as a white male, with short hair and "dressed in a shabby manner", was arrested after being detained by bystanders. The FBI attempted to question the suspect, but it was reported he was refusing to cooperate with authorities and had invoked his Fifth Amendment right. Authorities have said the alleged shooter's motivation was unknown. Caiti Parker, who claimed she knew the suspect in high school four years earlier, described him as a politically radical loner. Classmates noted that Loughner was critical of religion. A YouTube channel under an account called "Classitup10" was attributed to Loughner. The profile of this account stated among other things that some of the subject's favorite books were The Communist Manifesto, Animal Farm, Mein Kampf, Plato's Republic, and We the Living; one video told viewers that they "don't have to accept the federalist laws", called for a return to the gold standard, and accused the government of mind-controlling and brainwashing the citizenry. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik conceded that there was no evidence that the shooting was a result of anything in particular that Loughner might have read or heard. Loughner attended Pima Community Collegeuntil school authorities suspended him after receiving complaints of his inappropriate behavior in class. He described the college as "one of the biggest scams in America". Loughner chose to drop out in October 2010, rather than having the mental healthevaluation and clearance which would have been required for him to re-enroll. According to court records, Loughner had two previous offenses, one of which was for drug possession. U.S. Army officials said that Loughner had attempted to enlist, but his application had been rejected as "unqualified" for service in 2008. They declined further disclosure due to confidentiality rules, although an administration official indicated to the media that this was due to a failed drug test.
Bryce Tierney, a friend of Loughner, received a voice message from Loughner eight hours before the shooting. Tierney stated that Loughner held a grudge against Giffords for failing to answer a question sufficiently, in his view. Loughner previously met Giffords at a "Congress on your Corner" event in a Tucson mall on August 25, 2007, where he asked the congresswoman, "How do you know words mean anything?" Pima County Registrar of Voters records show that Loughner registered as an independent on September 29, 2006, and voted in 2006 and 2008 but not in 2010. Police reports reveal he had purchased a Glock pistol at a Sportsman's Warehouse store less than six weeks before.
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