When former vice-presidential candidate and former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin embarked on her Take back the 20 campaign (a campaign targeting 20 democrats who were elected officials in conservative states) she probably didn’t expect the crosshairs marking the 20 states would do what the crosshairs are known for, targeting potential shooting victims. On January 8, 20 people were shot, 14 wounded and 6 killed, outside of a Safeway supermarket in Tucson, Arizona on Saturday during a meet-and-greet held by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords where 10 minutes into the meet-and-greet the congresswoman was shot by Jared Lee Lougher, a 22-year-old former community college student, a rumored supporter of Palin’s initiative to take by the 20 states from Democrats and ‘save America’.
Shot directly in the head, Giffords is in critical condition at University Medical Center of Arizona and is able to communicate with Doctors through simple commands. The fact that Giffords is still alive may be due in part to the quick actions of her intern, Daniel Hernandez who was standing 30 feet away from the congresswoman when she was shot. After being shot, Hernandez immediately rushed over to her and held Giffords head in his lap and applied pressure to her wound while everyone on hand waited for emergency support to arrive. As applying pressure to Giffords wound, Hernandez also advised others to provide help for the other victims injured and killed in the attack until help could arrive.
“When I heard gunshots, my first instincts was to head toward the congresswoman to make sure that she was okay,” Hernandez recalls, “Once I saw that she was down, and there were more than one victim, I went ahead and started doing the limited triage that I could with what I had,” Hernandez’s quick reaction in the moment of crisis has labeled him a hero in this horrific event. While aiding the congresswoman, Hernandez remembers shutting off all emotion because he knew, “I wouldn’t be good to anyone if I had a breakdown,” Hernandez was able to perform under pressure because he has had some training and experience in triage scenarios.
In a comment made to the Arizona Republic, Hernandez confirms his heroism when he claims, “It was probably not the best idea to run toward the gunshots. But people needed help.” Hernandez is a 20-year-old Junior from the University of Arizona who has been interning for Congresswoman Giffords for only five days.