January 8, 2011 – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was hosting her regular “Congress in Your Corner” events at a local Safeway in Tucson, Arizona, when suddenly shots rang out. Alleged shooter Jared Loughner had come to the event with Rep. Giffords as his target when he opened fire on the crowd. His shots filled the air, injuring 14 and killing 6, including young 9-year old Christina Taylor Greene and U.S. District Judge John Roll.
When the shots rang silent for a brief moment, Patricia Maisch, Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber, and Joseph Zimudie saw a chance to minimize any more casualties. Tackling Loughner to the ground as he was trying to reload, the men held him down, while Patricia Maisch was able to get the new magazine full of bullets from him. As the men pinned Loughner down, Patricia Maisch, age 61, held him by his ankles until authorities arrived. Had they not stepped in when they saw an opportunity, the number of wounded and dead could have been much more.
These four amazing citizens, when they woke that morning, did not think they would be faced with the decision to run or take action. They were there to meet Rep. Giffords or just picking up groceries at the store. Either way, they decided, in a split second, to take action and do what they could to help save lives. They were just your average citizens when the day started, but they had it in them to stand up and fight when they knew they needed to.
Patricia Maisch and the others stood up to take action against violence, even though doing so put their own lives at risk. But this standing up against violence is something, as Americans, we all need to do. This shooting has drawn attention to the promotion of violence seen in recent years between the political parties and the media. The ‘calls to action’ and ‘taking out the other side’ type comments between both parties have changed from a debate between beliefs to that of a violent war. As a country, America claims to fight this kind of violence, yet it is our top political figures and our media that is adding fuel to the fire of violence every day.
Just like Patricia Maisch, Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber, and Joseph Zimudie, we, as ordinary citizens, need to come together and stand up to this violence and demand it to end. We must stand up and disarm the media and the politicians to end the violence. We, as citizens, can no longer sit back in our homes and do nothing. The spotlight needs to be taken off the politicians and away from the media and the violence they are promoting. We need to hold them accountable for their actions and shine a light instead on the idea of peaceful debate between parties and the coming together as a nation. All Americans should look at Patricia Maisch, Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber, and Joseph Zimudie as everyday American heroes and know that by standing up together, we can all end this violence and find hope and pride in our nation again.
Kevin Dolak and Justin Weaver,Patricia Maisch Describes Stopping Gunman From Reloading, ABC News
More from this Contributor:
Americans Responsible for Creating Their America
Christina Taylor Greene: A purpose in Life and in Death
Westboro Baptist Church: God Sent the Shooter
Sarah Palin Target List: A Tragedy in Arizona