LB - Energy Savings 0424 P61166778 728x90 40%

Home | Classifieds | Place Ad | Public Notices | Galleries | Kudos | Obits | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | Villager | Health Directory | Contact Us
The Verde Independent | Cottonwood, Arizona

home : latest news : latest news April 29, 2016


4/4/2014 2:48:00 PM
White House cites Tucson shooting survivor for work against gun violence
Pam Simon, a staffer for then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was there for the Jan. 8, 2011, attack in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, including her and Giffords. She was in Washington this week to be honored by the White House for her work since on gun control. (Cronkite News Service photo by Whitney Ogden)
Pam Simon, a staffer for then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was there for the Jan. 8, 2011, attack in Tucson that killed six and wounded 13, including her and Giffords. She was in Washington this week to be honored by the White House for her work since on gun control. (Cronkite News Service photo by Whitney Ogden)
BY WHITNEY OGDEN
Cronkite News Service

WASHINGTON - Pam Simon said she remembers only part of what happened that January day in the parking lot of a Tucson supermarket.

"A person appeared ... and shots began to be fired," Simon said. "You kind of go into another reality."

She was one of the first to be hit when a gunman opened fire at a "Congress in Your Corner" event held by then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, for whom Simon was working as a staffer. Six people were killed and she and Giffords were among 13 wounded.

Until that day, Simon, a one-time middle school teacher in Tucson, never thought gun violence was an important issue. Until that day, she said, gun violence was always something that happened to other people.

Since that day, Simon has become an activist with organizations across the country that work to prevent gun violence.

Her efforts brought her to Washington this week, where she was acknowledged Thursday as a White House "Champion of Change" for her work on gun control.

"I'm really happy that she was honored," said Lizzie Ulmer of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, one of the many groups Simon has worked with. "She's a role model for other survivors."

Simon said she considers the White House honor as recognition not just for her but for all the survivors of the Tucson shooting.

Rep. Ron Barber, D-Tucson, remembers the Tucson shooting as a "horrifying day ... a day that changed all of our lives." He was on Giffords' staff and was at the event where he was among the wounded.

"We've become close, like family," said Barber, who succeeded Giffords in office. "Pam ... has been a major part in leading the survivor group."

Simon remembers ducking when the shooting began that day. A bullet went through her hand, into her chest, passed over her heart and lodged in her hip. After she fell, she couldn't see what was happening but heard people rushing to help the victims.

Since then, she has been active with Moms Demand Action and Arizonans for Gun Safety, as well as the mayors' group. During the last presidential election, she helped Mayors Against Illegal Guns "demand a plan" from the candidates for reducing gun violence.

She accused gun-rights groups of scaring people into thinking that any gun-control measure means they are losing their rights.

That drew a sharp rebuke from Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, who called gun control "a criminal's friend."

"I believe she's losing the argument, or else this would be a more dangerous country to live in," said Pratt of Simon's efforts. He said the country is safer with more guns, not fewer.

But Simon said the numbers argue otherwise. In addition to the high-profile mass shootings - Tucson, Columbine, Aurora, Sandy Hook and this week's Fort Hood attack - she said that gun violence claims 33 people every day in the U.S.

Simon said she is now focusing her efforts on improving mental health resources and bringing background checks on potential gun owners to law in every state.

She said 16 states and Washington, D.C., now require background checks on anyone purchasing a gun, what she called a "small step" to a safer country.

She praised President Barack Obama for taking up the gun-control fight but said there is still much to be done - and vowed to keep working, despite relatively little progress since she was shot.

Even though she said there have been some setbacks on gun-control legislation, "we've made great headway."

"This is going to be one of those issues that is not going to be solved overnight," said Simon, who thinks that in such long battles, it is important "that we celebrate the small steps."

Barber, who called the shooting a unifying experience for those involved, said he wanted to commend Simon for "her courage and her energy" in the years since that day.

"I'm very proud of her ... she didn't let that day define her," he said.

Taylor Waste

    Most Viewed     Recently Commented
•   Blaze destroys RV and jeep Sunday; freeway traffic blocked (2527 views)

•   Mingus Union's Mike Westcott named 2016 Yavapai County Teacher of the Year (2172 views)

•   New subdivision, 500 homes: Vineyards at Cottonwood coming soon (1883 views)

•   Court Docket: April 27. 2016 (1727 views)

•   Cottonwood-Oak Creek schools, Sodexo partner to teach culinary skills, healthy eating (1509 views)





Article Comment Submission Form
Comments are not posted immediately. Submissions must adhere to our Use of Service Terms of Use agreement. Rambling or nonsensical comments may not be posted. Comments are limited to Facebook character limits. In order for us to reasonably manage this feature we may limit excessive comment entries.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Required
Last Name:
Required
Telephone:
Required
Email:
Required
Comment:
Required
Passcode:
Required
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.
   


Advanced Search

HSE - We want to hear from you
Find more about Weather in Cottonwood, AZ
Click for weather forecast





Submission Links
 •  Submit your feedback about our site

Find It Features Blogs Celebrate Submit Extras Other Publications Local Listings
Classifieds | Place Ad | Galleries | Kudos | Real Estate | Subscriber Services | e-News | RSS | Site Map | Find Verde Jobs | Contact Us
LB - Energy Savings 0424 P61166778 728x90 40%

© Copyright 2016 Western News&Info, Inc.® The Verde Independent is the information source for Cottonwood and Verde Valley area communities in Northern Arizona. Original content may not be reprinted or distributed without the written permission of Western News&Info, Inc.® Verde News Online is a service of WNI. By using the Site, verdenews.com ®, you agree to abide and be bound by the Site's terms of use and Privacy Policy, which prohibit commercial use of any information on the Site. Click here to submit your questions, comments or suggestions. Verde News Online is a proud publication of Western News&Info Inc.® All Rights Reserved.

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved