Top: Representative Gabrielle Giffords
Bottom: On her wedding day to Astronaut Mark E. Kelly in 2007
On January 8, 2011, a mentally deranged twenty two year old man approached and shot Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords and a group of people who surrounded her as she was having a public meeting with her constituents at a supermarket. The gunman killed six people and injured thirteen others.
Oftentimes things happen, whether serendipitous or tragic, where God's hand can be seen in the works. The following paragraphs describe some amazing facts within this horrible tragedy.
Christina with her mother Roxanna
One of the tragic losses was a nine year old girl. Christina Taylor Green was one of 50 babies born on 9/11/01 featured in a book called, "Faces of Hope." She had just made her first Holy Communion last spring, and sang in the church choir of St. Odilia's Catholic Church. Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of the Diocese of Tucson, away in Jordan at a Bishops' meeting, wrote in a letter when he heard of the tragedy, "Let the children come to me,' Jesus said (Matthew 19:14). Christina is with Him."Her date of death is 1/8/11; if you add the 1 and 8, you get 9. Once again we have 9/11. Her courageous, yet heartbroken mother Roxanna says Christina is a little angel in heaven with her grandmother who passed away last year.
Congress in session, the reading of the Constitution
Father Jonathan Morris, parochial vicar for the Basilica of St. Patrick's Old Cathedral said that it is a miracle of God that Representative Gabrielle Giffords is alive and was communicative after she was shot. The bullet which hit her entered the temple and exited her forehead. She is expected to live although the extent of her injuries is unknown. In an ironic twist, the first order on the agenda for the new 112th Congress this past week was to read the Constitution on the House floor, something that hadn't been done for 217 years. Representative Giffords read aloud the part of the Constitution which speaks about important freedoms, including speech, assembly and religion, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Daniel Hernandez holds Gifford's hand as she is wheeled to a waiting ambulance
Rather than running away, Daniel Hernandez ran toward the shots as he heard them being fired. He noticed many people lying on the ground, including a little girl. He began moving from person to person checking pulses, "First the neck, then the wrist," he said. Then he saw Giffords. She had fallen and was lying contorted on the sidewalk, bleeding. Using his hand, Hernandez applied pressure to the entry wound on her forehead. He pulled her into his lap and held her upright against him so she wouldn't choke on her own blood. Giffords was conscious, but quiet. While holding Giffords, he gave verbal instructions to others who were trying to help victims on the scene. Daniel Hernandez helped keep Giffords alive until paramedics arrived. He climbed into the ambulance with her and on the ride to the hospital, held her hand. She squeezed his back. Later, he was ecstatic to learn that she was alive and fighting, and a hospital physician credits him with helping save her life. Hernandez, was a 20 year old student at the University of Arizona who had been U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' intern for only five days before this tragedy occurred.
Judge John Roll
Also killed was well-respected Federal Judge John Roll, age 63. Receiving an email blast about his friend Gabrielle Gifford's event, "Congress on Your Corner" at, ironically enough, Safeway grocery store, he decided to stop by before he spent Saturday at home. As was his usual routine, he had just attended daily Catholic mass at the nearby St. Augustine Cathedral. Minutes later, he was dead.
Scene of the shootingBill Badger is credited with stopping the carnage before it got worse. He heard the gunshots and saw that Loughner was shooting down the line of waiting people. The shooter looked right at him and shot just as Badger ducked to the left. He felt a sting at the back of his head. After that, Badger noticed Loughner paused to reload his 9 mm Glock. An unidentified person behind the shooter sprang into action and slammed the shooter in the head with a folding chair. When the stunned shooter slumped forward, Badger grabbed his left arm while another person grabbed his right. Together they pulled him to the ground. The shooter attempted to grab the gun which had landed inches from himself, but the heroes grabbed it away. Badger stated, "While we had him on the ground I saw blood running and it wasn't until then I realized it was coming from the back of my head." Badger was taken to St. Mary's Hospital with a bullet graze to the back of his head . Badger is a 74 year old retired United States army colonel.
Please pray the rosary for the injured in this tragedy, and for the families of those who were lost.