News Column

Giffords Shoots for 2nd Amendment

July 7, 2013

Winners & Losers:

Winner: Gabby Giffords

It probably struck some people as counterintuitive to see former congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., fire a handgun on Monday toward a target at a Las Vegas firing range.

But Giffords, shot in the head in a January 2011 assassination attempt by Jared Lee Loughner in which six others were killed, remains a gun rights advocate despite the extensive injuries she suffered. In an op-ed published Monday in USA Today, Giffords insisted, "I'm a patriot, and I believe the right to bear arms is a definitive part of our American heritage."

Giffords fired the shot publicly as she and husband Mark Kelly kicked off a seven-state tour advocating stricter background checks for gun purchasers.

Loser: CNN

The cable news network rapidly becoming better known for its miscues than breaking news erred again Monday when it broadcast live a wealth of personal information regarding Florida murder suspect George Zimmerman.

CNN showed Zimmerman's Social Security number, home address, date of birth and phone number as prosecutors displayed a report for jurors that included the information. No big deal -- except that the man accused of fatally shooting teenager Trayvon Martin has been the subject of numerous death threats on Twitter. Should he be acquitted, someone might just act out on those threats.

This gaffe potentially could have far more serious implications than the embarrassing one made in April by CNN national correspondent Susan Candiotti. As she covered the lockdown in Watertown, Mass., while the hunt for the Boston Marathon bombing suspects ensued, Candiotti densely observed: "Being in Watertown, the streets are eerie. It's empty. It's as though a bomb had dropped somewhere."

Loser: JLo

While performing recently in the former Soviet bloc country Turkmenistan, the popular entertainer Jennifer Lopez sang "Happy Birthday" to the country's leader, Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow. The serenade immediately was scorned by human rights activists who have described the nation as among the most repressive in the world.

In Turkmenistan, anyone criticizing the government risks life imprisonment for treason. Only a small percentage of the population has access to the Internet and censorship is rampant. Berdimuhamedow reportedly hates pets and has ordered the systemic extermination of stray cats and dogs.

Lopez's publicist insisted the event, sponsored by the China National Petroleum Corp., was vetted by the entertainer's staff -- though obviously not very well. "Had there been knowledge of human rights issues of any kind, Jennifer would not have attended," the publicist said.

Had there been even a cursory Google search, those alleged human rights violations could have been unearthed in seconds.

-- compiled by Trib Total Media staff

To suggest a winner or loser, or to find out what else is happening right now, go to,Right now

Source: Copyright Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (PA) 2013

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