Entries in Tucson Shooting (8)


Giffords to Speak Publicly for First Time Since Shooting on '20/20'

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(NEW YORK) -- When Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords woke up in a rehab hospital in Houston weeks after she was shot by her attacker, Giffords stared off into the distance, seemingly unaware of where or who she was. No one knew if she would ever speak or walk again.

That moment, so full with hope and despair, was recorded by her husband, Mark Kelly, who documented much of her effort to battle back from her catastrophic head wound. She had to re-learn even reflex motions as small as nodding her head. At her lowest point, Giffords was not even able to smile.

Now, for the first time since the attack at a Tucson supermarket, Giffords speaks publicly -- doing her best to sum up the nine months of pain and rehabilitation she's endured.

"How do you feel?" Diane Sawyer asks Giffords during an exclusive interview on ABC's 20/20 -- the first time the two have shared their story since the attack.

"Pretty good," says Giffords.

"Is it painful?" Sawyer asks.

"It's difficult," says Giffords. "Difficult."

It has been a journey of astonishing tenacity and determination. Giffords had a one in 10 chance of surviving the shooting. She not only survived, but has come further than anyone could have imagined in the months since, fighting her way one breath and one hard-fought word at a time.

Kelly and Giffords' mother are ever-present throughout the never-before-seen home video, which they taped to help document her recovery. The head wound she received on Jan. 8, 2011 in Tucson was a shot straight into her forehead as she was meeting constituents at a "Congress on Your Corner" event.

Kelly made the videos completely certain that his wife would recover and that she would want to know what happened to her. The movies will be shown for the first time during the Diane Sawyer special airing Nov. 14.

Each day, he taped the small milestones that marked her progress, from her first days at the Houston rehabilitation facility learning to nod and smile, and eventually rising to the challenge that would be a milestone of her recovery: talking again.

Learning how to speak again wasn't easy. One morning while in rehab, Kelly arrived to find a nurse yelling for him in Giffords' bathroom. When he arrived, Giffords was sitting her wheelchair, crying, hyperventilating, absolutely frantic. She couldn't speak.  

Still, slowly and with tremendous effort, Giffords began to speak again. For Kelly, that was enough motivation to push harder, to try and help his wife walk again.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama to Sign Bill Naming Courthouse After Judge Slain in Tucson

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama will sign into law Thursday a bill that will honor one of the victims killed during the shooting in Tucson, Arizona on Jan. 8.

The bill will allow a new federal courthouse in Yuma, Arizona to take on the name of federal Judge John M. Roll, who was one of the six people killed in the shooting, along with 13 others who were wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The legislation was “strongly supported” by Giffords' office.

Speaking on the courthouse last week, the judge's widow, Maureen roll, said, “My husband worked very hard to secure funding for this badly needed facility.  He was proud to serve his country on the federal bench and he would be honored to have his name on this courthouse.”

Pia Carusone, chief of staff for Giffords, is expected to attend the signing ceremony.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tucson Hero to Join First Lady at State of the Union Address

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Daniel Hernandez Jr., one of the heroes of the mass shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on Jan. 8, told ABC News he will be sitting, along with his father, Daniel Hernandez Sr., with Michelle Obama at the State of the Union on Tuesday.

The address also happens to mark his 21st birthday.

"I'm both honored and excited to have the opportunity to travel to our nation's Capitol for a once in a lifetime event.  Also the chance to bring my father along for his first trip to Washington, D.C.  The State of the Union is a pivotal moment because it is our opportunity to find where we are and where we will be going as a nation in this upcoming year," Hernandez said.

Two weeks ago, Hernandez, an intern for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, rushed to her aid when Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire at one of her public events, killing six people and wounding 14 others, including Giffords.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Sarah Palin Addresses Her Public Image in Wake of Tucson Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- In her first interview since the shootings in Tucson, Arizona, Sarah Palin spoke Monday night with conservative commentator Sean Hannity on Fox News, where she is also a paid contributor.

A subdued and somewhat somber Palin discussed the shooting and its aftermath, saying, "we mourn with those who mourn and grieve with those who grieve."

But the former Alaska governor ardently defended her statements from both before and after the deadly rampage. She insisted that the map her political action committee used last year to place Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' district in crosshairs was hardly original political imagery.

"Democrats have been using it for years," she said, adding that she had been "falsely accused of being accessory to murder."

The criticism from the left and some in the media was politically motivated, said Palin. "Those on the left hate my message and will do all that they can to stop me."

Palin asserted that some of the continued focus on her after the shootings was meant to derail Republican action in Washington and "divert and distract from issues at hand that must be addressed today."

Palin seemed most irate over the notion that her reaction to the shootings has been insensitive. "The most frustrating part," she told Hannity, "is the idea that we have interjected ourselves into this story."

Palin justified her video statement on Facebook last week saying, "My defense wasn't self-defense, it was defending those who were falsely accused."

Several times during the interview, Palin made a point of saying, "This isn't about me." Quoting the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., she said she is speaking out because "a lie cannot live."

That language might be designed to counter souring public opinion. According to a new ABC News/Washington Post poll, out Monday, only 30 percent of Americans approve of the way Palin responded to the Tucson shootings, compared with 78 percent approval for President Obama's response. Forty-six percent of those polled disapprove of Palin's response, including 32 percent who say that they "strongly disapprove."

Perhaps more troubling for the Palin team, fewer than half of Republicans -- 48 percent -- say they approve of her response.

Palin also dodged questions about whether she would run for president, but said, "I am going to continue to speak out. They are not going to shut me up. … I'll take the darts and the arrows because I know others have my back, and I have their back."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Lauded on Response to Tucson

Photo Courtesy - ABC News | Langer Research Associates(WASHINGTON) -- Americans are divided on the risks posed by the tone of the country’s political discourse, but at the same time approve overwhelmingly of President Obama’s attempt to redirect it -- and most now hold some hopes of political conciliation in the aftermath of the Tucson shootings.
Seventy-eight percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll approve of the way Obama has responded to the shootings, which he addressed in a speech in Tucson last week; that includes 71 percent of Republicans and conservatives alike. By contrast, far fewer, 30 percent overall, approve of the response by his political rival, Sarah Palin.
Moreover there’s been a shift, small but significant, in a sense that Obama and the Republicans in Congress may find a way to work together on important issues in the year ahead. Fifty-five percent now are optimistic that this may happen, up from 48 percent in an ABC News/Yahoo! News poll earlier this month, before the attack occurred.
In policy terms, this survey, produced for ABC News by Langer Research Associates, finds no shift toward support for gun control legislation; indeed, following the course of gun attitudes more generally, support for banning semi-automatic handguns actually is lower than it was after the Virginia Tech shootings in April 2007.
At the same time, a 57-percent majority supports another proposal: banning high-capacity ammunition clips, which were used in Tucson. And there’s vast agreement on a need for further efforts to keep guns out of the hands of people with a history of mental illness or drug abuse.
Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Reflects on Ariz. Shootings; Washington Must Carry On

Photo Courtesy - The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama reflects once again on the tragic events that happened in Tucson last week. 

"We properly spent much of the week mourning the victims and remembering their lives," he said.  "We also discovered stories that serve to lift us up -- stories of heroism and bravery, of courage and community -- stories that remind us that we are one American family, 300 million strong."

Obama expressed his satisfaction with the "sense of community on display" within Congress during the last week's events.  He noted that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who continues to make a remarkable recovery from the intracranial gun shot wound she received last Saturday, is "deeply missed by her colleagues," even despite partisan differences.

"One by one, Representatives from all parts of the country and all points of view rose in common cause to honor Gabby and the other victims, and to reflect on our shared hopes for this country."

But while the president reflected on the tragedy of last week's losses, he reminded Washington that there was still a job to do -- and challenges to be solved.

"We carry on because we have to.  After all, this is still a time of great challenges for us to solve.  We've got to grow jobs faster, and forge a stronger, more competitive economy.  We've got to shore up our budget, and bring down our deficits.  We've got to keep out people safe, and see to it that the American Dream remains vibrant and alive for our children and grandchildren."

Obama finished by saying that he believed the challenges facing America were ones that can be met and that he looked forward to doing so in the same spirit members of Congress have shown since last week's mass shooting in Arizona.

"So as business resumes, I look forward to working together in that same spirit of common cause with members of Congress from both parties -- because before we are Democrats and Republicans, we are Americans.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio 


Death Threats Against Sarah Palin at 'Unprecedented Level,' Aides Say

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- An aide close to Sarah Palin says death threats and security threats have increased to an unprecedented level since the shooting in Arizona, and the former Alaska governor's team has been talking to security professionals.

Since the shooting in Tucson, Palin has taken much heat for her "crosshairs" map that targeted 20 congressional Democrats in the 2010 midterm election, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was the main target of Saturday's attack.

Friends say Palin, a possible 2012 contender, was galled as suggestions of her role in the tragedy have swirled.

Palin responded in detail Wednesday to the attacks leveled against her, but while her intentions may have been to shift the blame away from herself, she instead put herself in the hot seat again.

"Journalists and pundits should not manufacture a blood libel that serves only to incite the very hatred and violence they purport to condemn," she said in an early-morning Facebook post Wednesday.

The term "blood libel" has been used historically to falsely accuse Jews of using Christian children's blood to prepare their Passover matzoh. The myth is said to have begun in Europe as early as the 12th century, perpetuated by the death of a small boy in England in 1144.

It's a term that Jews say has been used to incite anti-Semitism and justify violence against them for centuries.

Palin's use of the word has triggered some deep emotions, even among those who believe Palin has been a target of unfair criticism since the Tucson shooting.

The Jewish Fund for Justice assailed Palin for abusing a tragic episode in Jewish history.

"We are deeply disturbed" by her commentary, president Simon Greer said in a statement Wednesday. "Unless someone has been accusing Ms. Palin of killing Christian babies and making matzoh from their blood, her use of the term is totally out of line."

But not all Jews are offended by the term. Liberal political commentator and Harvard Law professor Alan Dershowitz pointed out that the term has been used frequently as a metaphor and in a broader context.

When asked by ABC News why the former Alaska governor chose the term "blood libel," a Palin aide responded with Dershowitz's comments and a list compiled by the National Review of recent examples of the use of "blood libel" in the media.

Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have been, for the most part, mum on the issue, although Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., did imply Wednesday that Palin likely didn't understand the implications of using such a heavy-handed term.

"Intellectually, she seems not to be able to understand what's going on here," Clyburn said in a radio interview.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Poe: No Room for Politics in Giffords Aftermath

Photo Courtesy - Poe dot House dot gov(WASHINGTON) -- On a somber day on Capitol Hill, the political discussion turned to the role of politics in the aftermath of Rep. Gabriel Giffords’ shooting.

ABC News Wednesday asked Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas -- a friend of Giffords -- about Sen. Bernie Sanders’, I-Vt., fundraising appeal based on the shooting, and Sarah Palin’s video released to respond to criticism of her rhetoric.

“I don't think anyone should use this as an opportunity to promote some political agenda,” Poe told us about the Sanders fundraising e-mail. “We have to remember two things: That Gabby Giffords and the others are victims of a crime and the person responsible is the shooter and he and he alone should be held accountable. He should have a quick, swift, and speedy trial, and his punishment should be severe if he's found guilty. And anyone that tries to diminish that I think is probably not using wisdom.”

“We have a responsibility to lead and set the tone for civility and continue to talk about issues and not people, talk about policy and not personalities and personal attacks on each other,” Poe added.

Asked about Palin’s video, Poe responded, “My opinion is the discussion -- the discussion should be about what happened and the person who committed the crime. We should not be deterred and make an assault on the Constitution and the First Amendment particularly because of this event…”

“So, it's not the speech, it’s not what's taken place, it’s not the positions people take -- it is the actor that should be held totally accountable for his crimes.”

And Poe rejected suggestions that the incident in Tucson should be used to justify tighter gun laws.

“It was not the weapon that we hold accountable. Under our system we hold the shooter accountable for his conduct. And I think very strongly that that's where our focus should be,” he said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio