At 10:11 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, a crazed gunman opened fire at Gabby Giffords' Congress on Your Corner event, killing six people—9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, federal Judge John Roll, Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman and retirees Phyllis Schneck, Dot Morris and Dorwan Stoddard—and injuring another 13, including Gabby herself, who miraculously survived after being shot through the head.
The community response to this monstrous act of gun violence was extraordinary: an outpouring of support and love from across Southern Arizona.
Sadly, the shooting did not prompt Congress to act to address gun violence issues, such as the lack of background checks on second-hand sales by sellers who don't have federal licenses, or the ease with which domestic abusers can acquire guns even with a background check in too many states. And in the last seven years, the mass shootings have continued: Florida's Pulse nightclub, Las Vegas' Route 91 Harvest Music Festival, Sandy Hook Elementary School and too many more to list.
But there is some good news. This week, Ron Barber, the Giffords aide who nearly died after being shot twice that day, catches us up on what's happening with the memorial to those who were shot and killed. Barber, who took Giffords' place in Congress from 2012 to 2014, is the president of the January 8 Memorial Foundation Board. He reports that fundraising for the memorial is coming to an end and construction will soon begin next to the Historic Pima County Courthouse in downtown's El Presidio Park. Stop by the courthouse on Monday, Jan. 8, at 9:30 a.m. to hear the details and to honor those who lost their lives with a bell ringing at 10:11 a.m.
Elsewhere in this issue: The Tucson Jazz Festival, now in its fourth year, returns this year from Jan. 11 to Jan. 21 with more than a dozen acts, including Sheila E., Arturo Sandoval and the Spyro Gyra. Music writer Brett Callwood previews shows from the Mingus Dynasty and the Hot Sardines in this week's music section.
More highlights: Staff reporter Danyelle Khmara looks at the problems the state has with childcare services for low-income families; calendar editor Emily Dieckman celebrates the 50th birthday of downtown's Book Stop; columnist Tom Danehy looks back a half-century to the nightmarish year of 1968; food writer Mark Whittaker invites you to stroll along a food tour of Fourth Avenue and University Boulevard; film critic Bob Grimm says you should see The Shape of Water, now playing at the Loft Cinema; comedy correspondent Linda Ray has the details on the upcoming Fringe Festival; and, of course, we have all the usual stuff about where to have fun (City Week), where to find great food (Quick Bites), where to hear the best music this week (Nighcrawler and XOXO...), how to improve your love life (Savage Love), what the future holds for you (Free Will Astrology) and a bunch more.
Let's hear it for new beginnings!
— Jim Nintzel, Executive Editor
P.S. A correction from last week: If you needed proof that Twin Peaks was on my mind too much in 2017 (and/or that the accelerated year-end deadlines were messing with my head), I accidently identified our theater writer as Sherilyn Fenn rather than Sherilyn Forrester. My apologies to Sherilyn and to readers!