The husband of assassination target U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said “there is nothing to do but pray.” Jared Lee Loughner has been arrested for shooting her in the head and killing six others in what appeared to be a clear assassination attempt upon the legislator.
Mark Kelly, a senior U.S. astronaut and married to Rep. Giffords, told reporters, "Many of you have offered help. There is little that we can do but pray for those who are struggling.”
Doctors have said it is a miracle that the third-term Arizona Congresswoman survived the shooting and are cautiously optimistic. However, they have not speculated on the extent of possible rehabilitation.
Federal legal authorities feel certain that she was Loughner's prime target, but have backed off declaring that the attack, which killed the legislator’s Jewish aide Gabe Zimmerman, a judge, a nine-year-old girl and three others, was based on anti-Semitism. Born to a Jewish father and non-Jewish mother, Rep. Giffords associated herself with the Reform Jewish faith.
American media reported that Loughner was described as bizarre by students at a community college, from where he recently was kicked out. The U.S. Army rejected him for reasons that are not known, due to the American privacy law. He also has been arrested for possession of drug-related material.
Among his favorite books was Mein Kampf, and he once said he does not believe in G-d. A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo obtained by Fox News noted that Giffords has referred in web site postings to the American Renaissance group, an extremist anti-immigrant group.
"The group's ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti-Semitic," according to the memo, which pointed out that Giffords was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona.
Her paternal grandfather was a rabbi, but the fact that her mother was not Jewish defines her as a non-Jew according to Jewish law. Giffords has defined herself as a Jew under non-traditional theology, which also recognizes a Jew through Jewish paternity alone.
In addition to her Jewish roots, she strongly identified herself as Jewish and has shown solid support for Israel. She recently was sworn in over the Five Books of Moses. After her first visit to Israel several years ago, she said, “If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it. Jewish women -- by our tradition and by the way we were raised -- have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done, and pull people together to be successful.”
Dr. Michael Lemole, a surgeon at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz. told reporters Sunday that Rep. Giffords was responding to doctors' instructions, although not verbally.
CNN's Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, a practicing trauma neurosurgeon, commented that the fact that Giffords was "following commands even before she had an operation was a very positive sign… No doubt, Giffords is not out of the woods yet. But, ‘cautiously optimistic’ sounds pretty good after an injury as devastating as this one.”
Loughner staged his attack at a “meet-and-greet” event at a local supermarket on Saturday. Investigators later searched his home and found an envelope that included the words, "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and "Giffords" written by hand on it.
He appeared at the small crowd that came to meet Giffords in front of a Safeway supermarket. An eyewitness said he lunged forward and pulled out what later was proven to be a 9mm semi-automatic Glock pistol with an extended magazine, which he aimed at Giffords.
Alex Villec, a 19-year-old volunteer at the gathering, told the Arizona Daily News, "I didn't see his gun, but it was clear who he was going for. He was going for the Congresswoman." Bystanders wrestled the attacker to the ground before he could reload a magazine after he had emptied his first magazine of 30 bullets.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik has said, "Yes, I believe she was the target."
One possible link to Loughner’s strange background is his obsession with grammar and mind control theories, according to the London Guardian. "The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. You control your English grammar structure," Loughner wrote in one website posting.