63-year-old J. Eric Fuller was one of those shot in the rampage last weekend that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured, killed six people, and left twelve other wounded. On Saturday, at a special forum St. Odilia Catholic Church that was being televised by ABC and hosted by news anchor Christiane Amanpour, Fuller made a threatening outburst at a Tea Party supporter ‘who favored delaying talk about gun laws until emotions over the shooting have died down,’ according to the January 15th Arizona Republic. Fuller was escorted out by five police officers and arrested for making threats.
As reported in the New York Times, State Representative Terri Proud, a Republican, was sitting behind Fuller. She offered a comment to clarify a bill that was introduced recently in Arizona, to allow faculty members on college campuses with concealed weapons permits to carry guns. According to the New York Times:
At that point, Trent Humphries, the founder of the Tucson Tea Party, who was sitting one row behind her, rose to speak and suggested that discussion about gun legislation be postponed until after the funerals. He started to say that he, too, had been affected by the tragedy, explaining that a neighbor had been a victim.
At that point, Ms. Proud said, Mr. Fuller blurted out to Mr. Humphries, “You’re dead.”
Mr. Fuller then began to “behave in a very odd manner,” she said. “He was making inappropriate comments.”
Fuller used to drive a limousine and now works collecting signatures for political campaigns, among other odd jobs. Before the January 8th attack at the Safeway grocery store in Tucson, he had gotten into a confrontation with another man about politics; they were separated by Gabriel Zimmerman, who was one of Rep. Giffords’s aides and who was killed in the shooting. Fuller said that he was hit by a bullet as he fell to the ground, but ‘decided that because he didn’t have any medical training to help others’ and drove himself to the nearest hospital.
The Arizona Republic quoted Dr. Laura Nelson, the deputy director for the behavioral health sciences division at the Arizona Department of Health, who suggested that Fuller’s actions could be a response to the trauma of the shootings: ‘”Grief after what happened here in Tucson last week is a completely normal reaction, and … anger is a very common symptom of grief.”‘
The forum, the Arizona Republic noted, was ‘designed to promote conversation and healing a week after the grocery-store shooting.’ Certainly there is a lot of healing to do, and a lot of grieving, among other feelings. After Tucson, Is the Anger Gone?, an op-ed in the January 16th New York Times asks. It has been just over a week since the terrible events of January 8th: Perhaps it is too early to ask such a question—-perhaps we are all still trying to figure out how to feel about everything that has happened.
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