News / USA

    Former US Rep. Giffords Skydives on Anniversary of Shooting

    Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords blows kisses to the media, waves, and says "it was wonderful" as she briefly describes her skydiving experience, Jan. 8, 2014, in Eloy, Arizona.
    Former Arizona U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords blows kisses to the media, waves, and says "it was wonderful" as she briefly describes her skydiving experience, Jan. 8, 2014, in Eloy, Arizona.
    Reuters
    Former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot and badly wounded in a shooting rampage, went skydiving on Wednesday to mark the third anniversary of the attack that nearly took her life, according to an NBC journalist who accompanied her.
     
    Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, was shot in the head on Jan. 8, 2011, when gunman Jared Loughner opened fire on her and others at a congressional outreach event in Tucson, killing six people and wounding 13 others.
     
    NBC Today show journalist Savannah Guthrie, who was on the plane for the jump on Wednesday, wrote on Twitter that Giffords “stuck the landing.” Giffords has skydived before, but this was her first jump since the shooting, according to “Today.”
     
    Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (r) comes in for a landing during a tandem skydive, Jan. 8, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona.Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (r) comes in for a landing during a tandem skydive, Jan. 8, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona.
    x
    Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (r) comes in for a landing during a tandem skydive, Jan. 8, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona.
    Former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (r) comes in for a landing during a tandem skydive, Jan. 8, 2014, in Tucson, Arizona.
    ​Before the skydive, Giffords, 43, tweeted a picture of herself with parachute equipment strapped to her back and said in the post that Vice President Joe Biden had called to wish her good luck. “Join me next time?” she asked Biden in the tweet.
     
    She also said on Twitter that she would be jumping in southern Arizona with her friend, former Navy SEAL Jimmy Hatch.
     
    In an opinion piece in the New York Times on Wednesday, Giffords said that three years after the attack that wounded her she still struggles to speak, her eyesight is “not great,” and her right arm and leg have been “paralyzed.” But she said she was beginning to gain movement in the arm.
     
    Giffords resigned from Congress two years ago to focus on her recovery. Her popularity and political stature soared as she battled through a difficult recuperation.
     
    She compared her fight against gun violence, which has been her focus since leaving office, to her rehabilitation and said the United States needed reforms such as strengthening and expanding background checks for gun purchases and making it illegal for stalkers and domestic abusers to buy firearms.
     
    “I've seen grit overcome paralysis,” she wrote. “My resolution today is that Congress achieve the same.”
     
    Tuscon ceremonies
     
    Giffords says that she and her husband, retired astronaut and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Kelly, are proud gun owners. Last year, they founded Americans for Responsible Solutions to lobby and campaign for proposals to prevent gun violence.
     
    The group said in a post on its website that it spent $600,000 in Virginia last year to oppose Republican candidates for governor and lieutenant governor due to their positions on guns. The two candidates lost in the November vote.
     
    Giffords and a mother of a boy slain in the 2012 school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, have also co-authored a lesson plan for classrooms to discuss the massacre that left 20 children and six adult staff members dead at Sandy Hook Elementary.
     
    The man who shot Giffords, a college dropout with a history of psychiatric disorders, is serving a life sentence for the shooting at a Tucson area supermarket where Giffords was meeting constituents
     
    Loughner, 25, pleaded guilty in 2012 to murdering six people and wounding 13 others, including Giffords. He admitted to going to the supermarket armed with a loaded Glock 19 pistol with the intention to assassinate her.
     
    Those slain in the attack included U.S. District Judge John Roll and nine-year-old girl Christina-Taylor Green.
     
    In Tucson on Wednesday, bells were rung to mark the anniversary of the shooting, including at one event attended by Mayor Jonathan Rothschild, who posted a photo on his Facebook page
     
    U.S. Representative Ron Barber, a Democrat and former aide to Giffords wounded in the shooting and later elected to fill her former seat, led a moment of silence on the House floor, according to a statement from his office.
     
    U.S. Senator John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, said in a statement that he joins citizens across the state “to pause and remember those lost in a senseless and shocking act of violence in Tucson three years ago.”
     
    “We pray for the continued recovery of all those wounded, including my friend Gabrielle Giffords, whose courage and perseverance has inspired our state and nation,” he said.

    You May Like

    Multimedia Obama Calls on Americans to Help the Families of Its War Dead

    In last Memorial Day of his presidency, Obama lays wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery

    The Strife of the Party: Will Trump Permanently Alter Republicans?

    While billionaire mogul's no-holds-barred style, high-energy delivery are what rocketed him to nomination, they also have created rift between party elites and his supporters

    China's Education Reforms Spark Protest

    Beijing is putting a quota system in place to increase the number of students from poor regions attending universities

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trendi
    X
    May 27, 2016 5:57 AM
    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Chinese-Americans Heart Trump, Bucking National Trend

    A new study conducted by three Asian-American organizations shows there are three times as many Democrats as there are Republicans among Asian-American voters, and they favor Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. But one group, called Chinese-Americans For Trump, is going against the tide and strongly supports the business tycoon. VOA’s Elizabeth Lee caught up with them at a Trump rally and reports from Anaheim, California.
    Video

    Video Reactions to Trump's Success Polarized Abroad

    What seemed impossible less than a year ago is now almost a certainty. New York real estate mogul Donald Trump has won the number of delegates needed to secure the Republican presidential nomination. The prospect has sparked as much controversy abroad as it has in the United States. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Drawings by Children in Hiroshima Show Hope and Peace

    On Friday, President Barack Obama will visit Hiroshima, Japan, the first American president to do so while in office. In August 1945, the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city to force Japan's surrender in World War II. Although their city lay in ruins, some Hiroshima schoolchildren drew pictures of hope and peace. The former students and their drawings are now part of a documentary called “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard.” VOA's Deborah Block has the story.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese Rapper Performs for Obama

    A prominent young Vietnamese artist told President Obama said she faced roadblocks as a woman rapper, and asked the president about government support for the arts. He asked her to rap, and he even offered to provide a base beat for her. Watch what happened.
    Video

    Video Roots Run Deep for Tunisia's Dwindling Jewish Community

    This week, hundreds of Jewish pilgrims are defying terrorist threats to celebrate an ancient religious festival on the Tunisian island of Djerba. The festivities cast a spotlight on North Africa's once-vibrant Jewish population that has all but died out in recent decades. Despite rising threats of militant Islam and the country's battered economy, one of the Arab world's last Jewish communities is staying put and nurturing a new generation. VOA’s Lisa Bryant reports.
    Video

    Video Meet Your New Co-Worker: The Robot

    Increasing numbers of robots are joining the workforce, as companies scale back and more processes become automated. The latest robots are flexible and collaborative, built to work alongside humans as opposed to replacing them. VOA’s Tina Trinh looks at the next generation of automated employees helping out their human colleagues.
    Video

    Video Wheelchair Technology in Tune With Times

    Technologies for the disabled, including wheelchair technology, are advancing just as quickly as everything else in the digital age. Two new advances in wheelchairs offer improved control and a more comfortable fit. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Baby Boxes Offer Safe Haven for Unwanted Children

    No one knows exactly how many babies are abandoned worldwide each year. The statistic is a difficult one to determine because it is illegal in most places. Therefore unwanted babies are often hidden and left to die. But as Erika Celeste reports from Woodburn, Indiana, a new program hopes to make surrendering infants safer for everyone.
    Video

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Communities in the U.S. often hold festivals to show what makes them special. In California, for example, farmers near Fresno celebrate their figs and those around Gilmore showcase their garlic. Mike O'Sullivan reports that the wine-producing region of Temecula offers local vintages in an annual festival where rides on hot-air balloons add to the excitement.
    Video

    Video US Elementary School Offers Living Science Lessons

    Zero is not a good score on a test at school. But Discovery Elementary is proud of its “net zero” rating. Net zero describes a building in which the amount of energy provided by on-site renewable sources equals the amount of energy the building uses. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, the innovative features in the building turn the school into a teaching tool, where kids can't help but learn about science and sustainability. Faith Lapidus narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora