Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Following is a remarkable account of a Mother... protecting her daughter... in the face of madness... out of Arizona.

AZ Central
Arizona shooting: Mother shielded daughter from shots

by John Faherty and Laura Trujillo - Jan. 11, 2011 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic

It was supposed to be a nice, quick moment. A photograph to help commemorate an important event.

Mary Reed and her daughter, Emma McMahon, were only going to be there for a few minutes.

Emma, a Tucson high-school senior, had been a congressional page for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords over the summer. But things had been so busy, she never got a photograph of herself with the congresswoman. Giffords inspired her, and she wanted the memory.

So, on Saturday morning, the two went to Safeway, where Giffords would be holding a "Congress on Your Corner," a meet-and-greet event. Also along were Mary's husband, Tom McMahon, and son, 13-year-old Owen.

They were the second-to-last people in line to meet Giffords.

Then everything changed. A gunman approached, shot Giffords in the head and kept on firing.

Mary didn't know exactly what it was when she first heard the noise, but she knew it was loud and bad. She knew she wanted to protect her daughter.

So, Mary pushed Emma up against the brick wall, cradling and covering her with her own body. "There was nowhere to go," she said.

Only when she was shot the first time did she realize what she was protecting her daughter against. "I knew what it was then," Mary said.

That's when she saw a man with a gun, 2 feet away.

"It was terrifying," Reed said. "But I had to save my daughter."

She scanned the crowd, but couldn't see her husband or son.

Owen and Tom were less than 10 feet away when the gunman started shooting, just a short distance, but enough to keep them safe in a peculiar crime where violence erupted so cataclysmically in such a small space.

Then, Reed was shot again. And shot again. But she didn't move. She couldn't expose Emma.

"Yes, a mama bear," Mary said.

Emma remembers hearing screaming and seeing people fall to the ground, and feeling the warmth of her mother pushing her against the wall.

About 6 feet away, she watched as two men wrestled the man with the gun to the ground, and as a woman grabbed the gun's magazine.

Then, almost as soon as it started, the crime was over. Emma was fine, and Tom had protected Owen.

"All I could think about was my son, about Owen," she said Monday from her Tucson home, where she was recovering from a shot in her back and one in each arm.

When the shots stopped, Mary told her daughter she had been hit.

Emma called 911 as her father and brother rushed to them. Emma and Owen took turns holding cloths on their mother's bullet wounds. A paramedic wiped gunshot residue from Mary's arms.

"My mom was so amazing," Emma said Monday after school, where she had attended a prayer service for the victims. "I am so grateful and amazed by her."

Reed says recovery will take a while, and remains amazed that none of the bullets or shrapnel hit a vein, artery, organ or bone.

It is not easy to consider yourself fortunate after being shot three times, but Mary does, she said, because her family is safe: "I'm very blessed."

Salute to the "Mother-Bear!"

xtnyoda, shalomed



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