Arizona Shooting: A Week of Agonizing, Arguing, Praying, Investigating

Article excerpt

US Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, targeted in last week's Arizona shooting, continues to improve; a Tucson Safeway store reopens; and investigators work to build their case against Jared Loughner.

A week has passed since America - and Tucson, Ariz., in particular - was horrified, revolted, and grieved by a mass shooting at a congresswoman's routine event with constituents outside a Safeway supermarket.

In that time President Obama has three times spoken to the nation, in a bid to comfort and unite. In that time three of the six people killed in the shooting have been laid to rest. In that time the Safeway has reopened, with store spokeswoman Cathy Kloos on Saturday noting employees' desire to "reconnect with their customers" and affirming, "We're doing OK."

The initial round of castigation - liberals and conservatives feuding over who's more at fault for a climate of political "vitriol" and whether that played into the tragedy - has subsided. Lawmakers in Congress are considering whether Republicans and Democrats ought to intermingle in the audience at the upcoming State of the Union address, in a gesture of comity. Doctors say Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D), the apparent target of the attack, continues to improve after being shot in the head and is off a ventilator, raising hopes for her recovery, and 10 of the 13 wounded have been released from the hospital.

Things will never be the same, especially for families who lost loved ones. But for many they are starting to be manageable, if still not explainable.

Five of Jared Loughner's strange ideas

The challenge of explaining what happened - and why it happened - falls to law-enforcement authorities, who have spent the past week trying to build their case against suspect Jared Loughner. The 22- year-old Tucson resident, who had been kicked out of community college and rejected by the Army, faces four federal charges, including killing an employee of the federal government. Federal Judge John Roll died in last Saturday's rampage.

Authorities on Friday released a time line of Mr. Loughner's activities in the 12 hours before the shooting. They say it shows an individual acting with deliberation and focus, posting a "Good-bye friends" bulletin and uploading a photo on his MySpace page, and driving to one Wal-Mart store and then another after he was not able to buy ammunition at the first.

According to authorities, Loughner was up most of the night before the shooting. …