While Giffords Heals, Loughner’s Parents Cry

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Photo: AFP

It was a good day for Gabrielle Giffords: While she remains in critical condition, doctors report that she's healing and responsive. Physicians say that the third and fourth day after a traumatic brain injury are actually the most critical, and are optimistic that, though she's still not able to speak, Giffords's recovery is going well. More on Giffords, Tucson shooter Jared Lee Loughner, and how Arizona is healing, below:

Police say they found a note in Jared Lee Loughner's safe that read simply, "die bitch." [NYDN]

Dr. Peter Rhee, the director of medical trauma at the University Medical Center where Giffords is being treated, is cautiously optimistic. “She has a 101 percent chance of survival. I can’t tell whether she’s going to be in a vegetative state. I hope that she’s not and I don’t think she will be in a vegetative state, but I know that she’s not going to die.” [NYT]

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed an emergency law today prohibiting protesters from picketing the funerals of shooting victims. The bill came about after Fred Phelps of the "God Hates Fags" Westboro Baptist Church said it was planning to picket the funeral of 9-year-old shooting victim Christina Taylor Green. Now, Phelps will have to stay at least 300 feet away from the event. Well, that's a start. [WP]

Meanwhile, the parents of Jared Lee Loughner reportedly can't stop crying. In a public statement Tuesday, Amy and Randy Loughner apologized for their son's horrific actions. "We don't understand why this happened," the statement read. "It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss." [CNN]

Police say they made several visits to Loughner's home prior to the shootings. A spokesperson for the Pima County Sheriff's Department couldn't say what the calls were about, only that the department was "familiar with the family" prior to Saturday's incident. [NYT]

“He was a nihilist and loves causing chaos, and that is probably why he did the shooting, along with the fact he was sick in the head.” —Zane Gutierrez, who sometimes went target shooting with Jared Lee Loughner. [NYT]

Prosecutors' first hurdle in the case against Loughner: arguing that he should be tried in Arizona. His attorneys are expected to claim that he won't be able to have a fair trial in the state. And, because John Roll, chief federal trial judge of Arizona, was one of Loughner's victims, Tucson federal judge Raner Collins issued an order disqualifying all Tucson federal judges from presiding over the case because their "impartiality could be reasonably questioned." [WSJ]

Congress is now wondering if they're all potential victims. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr. (Democrat of Illinois) is arguing for a 10 percent increase in office budgets in order to bulk up security. Congress needs protection because, "There are a lot of desperate people in our society who may be unemployed, uneducated and despondent. They are susceptible to rumors, innuendo and anti-government rhetoric that only serves to inflame an already combustible environment,” [Politico]

President Obama is scheduled to make a speech at Wednesday's memorial service for the victims of the shootings. He'll focus on the idea of service to the country and avoid making direct reference to the political climate of violence. Senior advisor David Axelrod said Obama's "interests in going, his role in going is in response to a tremendous trauma for that community and the whole American community.” [Caucus/NYT]

ABC News anchor Bob Woodruff, himself a victim of massive head trauma from an IED explosion in Iraq, is optimistic about Giffords's recovery. "Medicine has never been so advanced as it is today," he wrote. "If I was hit five years earlier I really don't believe I would have survived. I know in my heart that she will recover as well." [CNN]