Tucson (AZ), Jan 8 (EFE News) .- A decade after the shooting in Tucson (Arizona) that claimed the lives of six people and injured 13 others, including the then-congresswoman Gaby Giffords, survivors From the tragedy they remember the day that changed their lives and that continues to motivate them to regulate the sale of weapons.
“All of us who were present that tragic day have taken all that pain, the tragedy that we lived through and we have found a way, each in a different way, to take action and achieve positive change,” Daniel Hernández, the Hispanic at the who after the shooting was described as a hero for having helped save the life of the congresswoman.
The City of Tucson remembered the victims of the shooting on Friday with a virtual ceremony where bells were rung just at the time the attack occurred in 2011 and a monument was inaugurated in memory of the deceased and wounded.
That January 8, 2011, dozens of people were gathered outside a shopping center in north Tucson participating in the event “El Congreso en Tu Esquina”, organized by the Giffords office.
It was a Saturday morning, and Hernández had only entered the Democratic congresswoman’s office as an intern for five days.
Giffords was greeting and talking to the people who came to see her when shots were suddenly heard.
A man later identified as Jared Lee Loughner had shot Giffords and several of those present, ultimately six people lost their lives, including Federal Judge John Roll.
Another 13 people were injured, one of them Giffords, the target of the attack, who was seriously injured after being shot in the head.
Hernández came to her aid and for nine long minutes he held her head and applied what little knowledge he had about first aid to help her while the paramedics arrived.
News of the Tucson shooting shook the city, which immediately turned to solidarity.
For several days hundreds of candles, balloons, stuffed animals and messages of support were placed outside the hospital where the victims were taken.
The lives of many, including Hernández’s, changed forever and overnight the young Latino became an activist, a voice against the violence generated by firearms.
The shooting in Tucson motivated Hernández to run as a state legislator in Arizona in 2016, where to this day he continues to fight to pass laws regulating the sale of firearms, especially for people suffering from mental problems.
“I have been working for ten years to achieve a change, we have achieved very good things, like in Nevada, where together with other groups we managed to pass regulations to verify people’s information before they can buy weapons,” said Hernández.
However, he regretted that in states such as Arizona, where this shooting occurred, great changes have not yet been established.
“This is a marathon, it is not a short or easy race, but there are many people who are working to achieve it,” he said.
For his part, Giffords, who still suffers from speech problems due to the gunshot he suffered in the head, leads a nationwide organization that bears his last name and which is fighting to establish stricter measures to regulate the sale of arms in the States. United.
During an event organized this Thursday in Arizona, Giffords recounted how his recovery continues to be a day-to-day job, through hard work and speech therapy.
“Even though I have trouble speaking, I haven’t lost my voice,” said Giffords, married to now-recent Arizona Senator Mark Kelly and considered by many in Tucson as an example of overcoming adversity.
For her part, Roxanna Green, mother of the youngest victim of the shooting, the girl Christina Taylor Green, who was only 9 years old, has dedicated the last decade of her life to working on behalf of children in Tucson.
Tragedy survivors like Hernández lament that the American people sometimes have too “little memory” and quickly forget the pain and suffering caused by armed attacks.
“It is very easy that as a community we say ‘there is another shooting’, we regret the deaths, but how can we make sure that the people in their power to approve a change do not forget it once the cameras are turned off and the news spreads?” Hernández questioned.
As a survivor, Hernández believes that the most important thing is that people understand that the shooting in Tucson “could have been prevented” and believes that they must work harder to provide help to all people suffering from mental problems.
“As citizens and residents of Arizona we must understand that it should not be so easy to have access to weapons, especially those who do not have to be loved,” he emphasized.
In the last decade, after the shooting in Tucson, there have been other tragedies throughout the country where hundreds of people have lost their lives due to firearms attacks, such as the attacks in Aurora, Newtown, Orlando, Las Vegas and El Paso.
For his part, Loughner, who was subjected by several of those attending the event, was arrested and a psychiatric evaluation ruled that he suffers from schizophrenia and is currently serving a life sentence in prison.