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January 14, 2011

Gay man credited with saving Rep. Giffords’ life

Tucson--A gay man is being credited with saving Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ life after a young gunman opened fire on her and the crowd gathered for a “Congress on Your Corner” event on January 8.

An intern in Giffords’ office for only five days, Daniel Hernandez Jr. was thrust into the national spotlight after the shooting.

His reaction when hearing the shots was to start making his way towards Giffords, 30 feet away, checking the pulses of victims along the way.

When he got to the representative, he saw the bullet’s entrance wound in her head and started applying pressure with his hand, replacing it with a clean smock when an employee from the Safeway grocery store at which the event was held brought him one.

He also held her upright while cradling her, ensuring she did not choke on her own blood.

Doctors at the hospital to which Giffords was taken said that his actions likely saved her life. She was still in critical condition at press time, although she was showing signs of improvement.

Hernandez is a member of the City of Tucson Commission on LGBT Issues.

On January 10, Hernandez was given a standing ovation by the Arizona state legislature, led by Gov. Jan Brewer.

Centrist commentators and those on the left are noting that the tone of conservatives’ rhetoric over the last few years has become increasingly violent, and expressed concern that this was, in part, responsible for the shooting. When Sarah Palin’s political action committee website included a list of 20 congressional districts whose representatives voted for President Obama’s health care plan, noting that these districts might be taken by Republican candidates, each of the districts was denoted by a symbol resembling the sights of a gun scope. Giffords’ district was one of these.

The January 8 attack injured over a dozen other people, and killed six, including federal judge John Roll and a nine-year-old girl.

The gunman, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, was subdued by bystanders and taken into custody. He has been charged with attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of murder and two counts of attempted murder. The motivation behind his attack is not yet known.

LGBT organizations noted that Giffords is a supporter of the community, having twice voted to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and also for the hate crime bill that was passed in 2009.

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This material is copyrighted by the Gay People’s Chronicle. Permission is given to repost no more than the headline, byline, and one or two paragraphs, with the full name of the Gay People’s Chronicle and a link to the full article on our website. Reproduction of the entire article is prohibited without specific written permission.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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