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"It's time to demand a plan": January 8th survivors push for action on guns
Reporter: Marcelino Benito
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - For many who were at the Safeway on January 8th, 2011, the sound of bells can never replace the sounds of gunfire, the screaming, the crying and ultimately the silence of those lost from their lives. But survivors are channeling their efforts now into pushing for tighter gun control laws.
"Emotionally this isn't a disease you get over," Suzi Hileman said. "You figure out a place to put it and you move forward."
Hileman survived the shooting that day, but the little girl she brought to the Safeway, Christina Taylor Green did not.
"She's with me always, I have the energy of a nine-year-old," Hileman said.
Hileman has shied away from speaking out about guns in the past, but two years after the tragedy, she felt it was time to speak out.
"There's nothing soft or cuddly about guns, and we have to realize not everyone is responsible enough to handle the power, the awesome power that comes with standing behind it," said Hileman.
In 2012 alone, the carnage was rampant. Moviegoers gunned down at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Shoppers shot dead at a mall in Oregon. Then 20 children in Sandy Hook massacred inside their classrooms. All of that happened after Congresswoman Giffords was nearly assassinated right here in Tucson.
"I would like to think there's enough outrage with 20 dead 5 and 6 year olds, with a congresswoman with a bullet through her brain, that America would get over itself and take charge, and people would demand a plan," Hileman said.
Now Christina Taylor Green's mother is doing just that, lending her voice and Christina's story to a campaign pushing for tougher gun laws hoping something will move lawmakers to act.
"I think Washington is broken," Hileman said. "I think Phoenix is broken."
She tells KGUN9 she knows tougher gun laws won't be easy, but she's calling on all Tucsonans to come together again to say enough is enough with gun violence.
"It would be nice if people stopped talking about how sad it is, and translated it into what can we do about it," Hileman said. "Because what we can do is not simple, but it is doable."