Shooting Victim Speaks: 'This Is Not Happening'

'Good Samaritan' stayed with Pam Simon
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 14, 2011 8:10 AM CST
Shooting Victim Speaks: 'This Is Not Happening'
This undated photo released by the Office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz, shows Giffords, left, posing for a photo with Pam Simon, who works in community outreach in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ office. Simon was wounded in the Saturday Jan. 8, 2011, shooting in Tucson.   (AP Photo/Office of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords)

Pam Simon's first thought was "this is not happening." The aide to Gabrielle Giffords' next thought was "that's a toy gun." A moment later: "It's happening." Then she was shot, and lay on the ground pretending to be dead, she tells the Wall Street Journal. Simon, who was wounded in the chest and wrist, describes her experience in her first interview since being released from the hospital yesterday. A "Good Samaritan" offered help, asking if she could feel her fingers and who he should notify, and stayed with her until the ambulance showed up.

The bullet in her chest missed her vital organs and settled near her hip; doctors called Simon "one very lucky lady." A former teacher at the middle and high schools Jared Lee Loughner attended (he was never her student), Simon says the shooting has prompted her to focus on helping teachers address the needs of troubled students. She urged President Obama for greater effort on that front. Meanwhile, she’ll head into the office today to greet the rest of the staff. As for Giffords, who Simon visited before leaving the hospital: "She will be back in the saddle."
(More Gabrielle Giffords stories.)

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