Doctor says Giffords has a ‘101% chance’ of survival

Democrat now breathing independently after being shot in head in Tucson; ADL releases analysis of online writings of Arizona shooter.

By JORDANA HORN
January 12, 2011 01:54
3 minute read.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords. (photo credit: AP)

NEW YORK – Doctors said Tuesday that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is now breathing independently after being shot in the head in Tucson on Saturday.

Although still on a breathing tube to protect her airway, Giffords was drawing breaths on her own, according to neurosurgeon Michael Lemole, who noted that she was alert, responsive to doctors and moving both of her arms.

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“She has a 101% chance of survival,” said Peter Rhee, head of the University of Arizona Medical Center’s trauma unit, where Giffords was brought for treatment.

Giffords has shown some slight movement on one side of her body, and there are signs she could open her eyes soon, said Dr. Rhee.

Also on Tuesday, the Anti- Defamation League released an analysis of the online writings of Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner, painting a picture of the 22-year-old in the months leading up to the shooting rampage that critically wounded Giffords and killed six others.

While the ADL concedes that Loughner’s traceable online postings are few in number, his writings and videos on YouTube and MySpace reveal a young man who frequently called others “illiterate” and disliked both religion and government.

“While there is still much we don’t know about Loughner, his online footprint offers one window into his mindset in the months leading up to the killings,” said Abraham H. Foxman, the ADL’s national director. “The writings that have come to light so far suggest someone who probably was not associated with any extremist group or movement, but who has a generic distrust of government and a vague interest in conspiracy theories.”

Using the screen name “Erad3,” Loughner’s comments appeared on the conspiracy-oriented website Above Top Secret, a forum dealing with conspiracy theories that includes anti-government extremists among its membership.

In the Above Top Secret forum, Loughner alleged that NASA fakes space flights.

On YouTube, in a conflation of two preferred topics, Loughner suggested that the government was “controlling grammar.” He also claimed to have refused to write his religious preference on an Army recruiting form, proclaiming,“ No! I don’t trust in God.”

As Erad3, he frequently mocked Christianity and its adherents.

“Taken together, Loughner’s often disjointed, rambling and semi-coherent writings suggest someone who probably is not associated with any particular extremist groups or movements, but has a generic distrust of government and a vague interest in conspiracy theories,” the ADL analysis stated. “They are indicative of an individual who has been exposed to a number of different ideas, from across the political spectrum, and has sometimes appropriated external concepts often seemingly divorced from their original context.”

The ADL added that Loughner’s writings “do not provide any solid body of evidence or any patterns that would seem clearly to point to a particular ideology or belief system as a significant motivating factor.”

Paul Callan, a criminal defense attorney and a former prosecutor, and Jeff Gardere, a clinical and forensic psychologist, told CNN’s American Morning Tuesday they had doubts that an insanity plea would stand.

With the “amount of planning that went into this assassination,” Callan said, “it’s highly unlikely [Loughner] will meet the legal insanity defense threshold” required for such a plea.

“It’s very hard to prove insanity at trial,” Callan said. “You really have to prove that your mental illness is so severe that you don’t even understand that you’re committing a criminal act.

And it’s almost impossible to prove that.”

Gardere underscored that “premeditation will work against him in this one, as far as getting an insanity plea.”

A memorial mass for the victims was scheduled to be held Tuesday night at St. Odilia Church in Tucson. The Arizona state legislature was expected to pass legislation Tuesday to prevent protesters at funerals from getting within 300 feet of services, a spokesman for the state senate said to CNN.

The action, according to senate spokesman Daniel Scarpinato, was in direct response to a controversial church’s announcement that it planned to picket the funeral of Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was one of six people killed Saturday during the shooting.


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