KMSB "Fox-11 Forum," Sunday, 12/4/11, 7:30 AM & Sunday, 12/11/11, 10:30 AM on KTTU "In Focus."

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By Bryce Potter By Bryce Potter

Host Bob Lee interviews John Newport, Ph. D., author, “The Tucson Tragedy: Lessons Learned From the Senseless Shooting of Gabrielle Giffords.

Newport, who lives about a mile from the Shopping Center where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot January 8, 2011, says the day after the shooting he decided to write a book about the event and its aftermath. He says his goal was to portray the human side of the experience, both in terms of the tragic repercussions of the shooting, and the incredible outpouring of healing and compassion that ensued in the weeks and months after the event.

Newport says in effect, the tragic shooting in Tucson on January 8 and the heroic actions of ordinary citizens documented in his book and elsewhere provide a microcosm of the horrific tragedy that befell our nation on 9/11/2001. He says in the days that followed both events, victims and rescuers performed valiant acts of courage, the majority of which mostly went unmentioned.  

Newport says among the lessons to be learned from the tragedy are that news media need to be sure of all facts before they report them (referring to erroneous reports early on that Giffords had died) and that subsequent discourse following such events should be tempered and kept civil.  He says another lesson to be learned is the need for better gun control and screening to prevent individuals with mental issues from obtaining guns.  Finally, he says, people in general should seek ways to become actively involved in promoting civil discourse and combating violence.