That’s the question Sandy Rios is asking:
Federal Judge John Roll was killed in Tucson trying to save another man’s life. As soon as madman Jared Lee Loughner finished his attempt to murder Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, he turned his gun on the people to his left, then the people to his right. Recently released video shows his first target to the right was Ron Barber, Gifford’s district director, who was standing next to Justice John Roll.
Barber was shot in the arm. Judge Roll then pushed him down and, shielding Barber with his own body, steered him to shelter under a nearby table. While under the table, Loughner aimed for Roll’s exposed back and pulled the trigger. The video continues as Judge Roll looks up over his right shoulder, lies back down and dies at the scene.
Why don’t we know that? We know that an intern to Gifford, Daniel Hernandez, held Congresswoman Gifford’s head in his lap, putting pressure on the wound to save her life. We know that retired Army National Guard Colonel Bill Badger, though injured, tackled Loughner. We know Joe Zamudio, a young bystander carrying a gun, ran to the scene initially to stop the shooter by his own deadly force, but aided Badger instead in the restraint. While both held Loughner, Patricia Maisch removed another loaded magazine from Loughner’s pocket.
We know the stories of these people well as recounted by the press and by President Obama at the memorial service. We are collectively proud of them and each deserve recognition and praise. But what about Judge Roll?
It’s a very good question. Rios herself provides a probable answer, too:
Could it be the heroes of this story have been chosen and that Judge Roll doesn’t fit the template? Appointed by President George H.W. Bush, could it be that Judge Roll’s act of courage was seen to diminish or interfere with the aggrandizement of a Democratic Congresswoman from her tragic shooting? Could it be that in an attempt to trade on her tragic circumstances, the report of a heroic Republican Judge would be inconvenient?
Read the whole thing, and decide for yourself.