Arizona

Event Photography: President Speaks in Tucson

This past Saturday morning, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords hosted a “Congress on Your Corner” event in the La Toscana Village shopping center at the corner of Ina and Oracle Roads.

As has been widely reported, a 22-year-old man opened fire on Giffords and others. Six people died, and 13 were wounded, including Congresswoman Giffords.

Yesterday, President Obama came to Tucson. His visit included a speech during the memorial at the University of Arizona’s McKale Center.

Local news outlets reported that people started lining up for McKale seats during the early hours of yesterday morning. After sunrise, the line of a few hundred people became a line of several thousand people.

Shortly after 1:00 p.m., I got on my bike and headed over to campus. It was probably too late to get a seat in McKale, but the university said that overflow seating would be provided in Arizona Stadium.

First stop was University Medical Center (UMC), where Congresswoman Giffords and other shooting victims are being treated. Outside the hospital’s entrance, there’s a huge community shrine that has been growing and growing and growing…

Event photography - Panoramic view of shrine to victims of shootings at Congresswoman Giffords Congress on Your Corner event

Event photography - Closeup view of shrine to victims of shootings at Congresswoman Giffords Congress on Your Corner event

After I left UMC, I pedaled south into the main campus. The McKale Center line had grown much larger than what that indoor arena could hold. Here’s the view from Cherry Avenue, just south of Second Street…

Event photography - Line of those wishing to see President Obama speak at McKale Center, University of Arizona in Tucson

And here’s the crowd outside the McKale parking garage…

Event photography - Line of those wishing to see President Obama speak at McKale Center, University of Arizona in Tucson

Although these people had been waiting in line for several hours, they were very respectful toward each other. I didn’t hear one cross word spoken.

As soon as the announcement came about the availability of Arizona Stadium seating, I parked my bike and found a place in the bleachers…

Event photography - Overflow crowd entering University of Arizona football stadium before speech by President Obama in Tucson

The Arizona Stadium crowd alternated between pensive silence…

Event photography - Silent crowd in University of Arizona football stadium before speech by President Obama in Tucson

…and hearty applause and cheering. President and Mrs. Obama’s appearance on the big screen got very positive reaction…

Event photography - Cheering for President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama, Arizona Stadium in Tucson

The President embraces Mark Kelly, husband of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords…

Event photography - President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama on video feed into Arizona Stadium in Tucson

The President’s speech was very well received…

Event photography - Applauding the speech President Barack at the University of Arizona in Tucson

I do hope that this tragedy does not turn the name Tucson into something synonymous with Columbine. Or Dallas. Or Memphis. We’re much better than that.

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