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

    California Republicans Mull Choices in Presidential Race

    Ted Cruz tells state's Republican Convention delegates campaign will be 'battle on the ground, district by district by district,' ahead of June 7 primary

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, many Kurds are trying to escape turmoil by focusing on success of football team Amedspor

    South African Company Designs Unique Solar Cooker

    Two-man team of solar power technologists introduces Sol4, hot plate that heats up so fast it’s like cooking with gas or electricity

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensionsi
    X
    April 29, 2016 12:28 AM
    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Turkish Kurd Islamist Rally Stokes Tensions

    In a sign of the rising power of Islamists in Turkey, more than 100,000 people recently gathered in Diyarbakir, the main city in Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, to mark the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad. The gathering highlighted tensions with the pro-secular Kurdish nationalist movement. Dorian Jones reports from Diyarbakir.
    Video

    Video Pakistani School Helps Slum Kids

    Master Mohammad Ayub runs a makeshift school in a public park in Islamabad. Thousands of poor children have benefited from his services over the years, but, as VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem reports, roughly 25 million school-age youths don't get an education in Pakistan.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Bangladesh Targeted Killings Spark Wave of Fear

    People in Bangladesh’s capital are expressing deep concern over the brutal attacks that have killed secular blogger, and most recently a gay rights activist and an employee of the U.S. embassy. Xulhaz Mannan, an embassy protocol officer and the editor of the country’s only gay and transgender magazine Roopban; and his friend Mehboob Rabbi Tanoy, a gay rights activist, were hacked to death by five attackers in Mannan’s Dhaka home earlier this month.
    Video

    Video Documentary Tells Tale of Chernobyl Returnees

    Ukraine this week is marking the 30th anniversary of the world's worst nuclear accident, at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Soviet officials at first said little about the accident, but later evacuated a 2,600-square-kilometer "exclusion zone." Some people, though, came back. American directors Holly Morris and Anne Bogart created a documentary about this faithful and brave community. VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko reports from New York on "The Babushkas of Chernobyl." Carol Pearson narrates.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.
    Video

    Video  Return to the Wild

    There’s a growing trend in the United States to let old or underused golf courses revert back to nature. But as Erika Celeste reports from one parcel in Grafton, Ohio, converting 39 hectares of land back to green space is a lot more complicated than just not mowing the fairway.
    Video

    Video West Urges Unity in Libya as Migrant Numbers Soar

    The Italian government says a NATO-led mission aimed at stemming the flow of migrants from Libya to Europe could be up and running by July. There are concerns that the number of migrants could soar as the route through Greece and the Balkans remains blocked. Western powers say the political chaos in Libya is being exploited by people smugglers — and they are pressuring rival groups to come together under the new unity government. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Russia’s TV Rain Swims Against Tide in Sea of Kremlin Propaganda

    Russia’s media freedoms have been gradually eroded under President Vladimir Putin as his government has increased state ownership, influence, and restrictions on critical reporting. Television, where most Russians get their news, has been the main target and is now almost completely state controlled. But in the Russian capital, TV Rain stands out as an island in a sea of Kremlin propaganda.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora