By Muna Shikaki
By Muna Shikaki
July 21, 2012
A mass shooting in a packed movie theater in Colorado that killed twelve people and injured 59 claimed the life of a young Jordanian American, Jessica Ghawi, who had survived another mass shooting merely a month before in Canada.
Ghawi who was 26, has been described as an aspiring sports broadcaster. She had just moved to Denver from Texas and was excited about watching the midnight premiere of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises.” She tweeted, “Movie doesn’t start for 20 minutes.” In other Tweets, she lamented that there weren’t enough friends who wanted to watch the midnight viewing of the movie.
In an interview with MSNBC Television, her brother Jordan Ghawi described his sister as “a feisty redhead. She was passionate, curious and well loved.” On his blog, Ghawi wrote that his sister and a friend had been sitting in the middle of the theater when the shooting happened.
“Brent and Jessica immediately dropped to a prone position for cover. Jessica advised multiple times for someone to call 911, which Brent immediately attempted to do. Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent, began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head.”
Ghawi had been at the scene of another recent mass shooting at a Toronto shopping mall, Eaton Centre. She left the mall less than five minutes before a gunman opened fire in the food court and killed two people. She wrote at the time, “I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the victims of a senseless crime…I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”
Condolences were being shared on a Ghawi family Facebook page, which describes the family’s ties to the region. Ghawi used the last name Redfield professionally.
The suspected shooter, James Holmes, was arrested by police in Aurora, Colorado in the parking lot of the theater. He is a 24-year old PhD candidate who had booby-trapped his house before going on his rampage. Holmes entered the theater wearing a helmet, bullet proof vest and leggings, a gas mask and gloves. According to police, he detonated smoke bombs, then began firing at viewers. Holmes told arresting officers that that he wanted to be called “The Joker,” a reference to the villainous character in the Batman movie series. The police have ruled out terrorism in the case.
This shooting is the latest in a spate of attacks in the U.S. over the last decade. Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, an organization dedicated to stricter gun control, lists over 62 pages of mass shootings in the U.S. since 2005, including a mass shooting at a school not far away from Aurora in Columbine, Colorado in 1999. This most recent Colorado shooting has reignited debate among Americans about the necessity for stricter gun control, although little legislative or regulatory action is expected. The right to bear arms is a U.S. constitutional guarantee that gun advocates say gives them the right to buy guns. Backed by the strong National Rifle Association lobby, gun enthusiasts have pushed back against attempts over the last decade to regulate the sale of guns, which have also been redoubled by the US Supreme Court in a number of recent rulings. U.S. gun ownership, per capita, is one of the highest in the world.
Some prominent Arab Americans mourned the tragedy but also criticized the almost exclusive focus of lawmakers on Arab and Muslim radicalization in recent years, while neglecting the issue of domestic non-Islamist extremists. “Last year over 14,000 Americans were murdered in the U.S, zero by Islamic terrorist” said Dean Obeidallah, a comedian and activist. “Politicians should focus more on who is truly killing our fellow Americans and less on demonizing Muslims for political gain.”
President Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney suspended campaign activities on Friday and offered their sympathy to the victims. However, in a radio interview on Friday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg urged both men to address the issue of gun control.
“Soothing words are nice, but maybe it’s time that the two people who want to be president of the United States stand up and tell us what they’re gonna do about it. “
Source: Al Arabiya