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ROBERT SIEGEL, Host:

Tonight in Tucson, President Obama attends a memorial for those who died in Saturday's shooting.

Daniel Hernandez has emerged from the tragedy a hero. He was a new intern who rushed to the aid of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords after she'd been shot.

M: The first thing I did was to pick her up and prop her up against my chest to make sure that she could breathe properly. Once I was sure that she was able to breathe properly and wouldn't asphyxiate, the next thing I did was to apply pressure to her wounds to make sure that we could stem the blood loss.

SIEGEL: The Latino community is especially proud of Daniel Hernandez. And some say they are also relieved.

Writer Daisy Hernandez, no relation to Daniel Hernandez, has this reflection.

M: I wasn't the only person on Saturday who rushed to her Android when news came of the Tucson shooting. I wasn't looking, however, to read about what had happened. My auntie had already filled me in - someone tried to murder una representante. People have been killed, she reported. What I wanted to know was the killer's surname.

M: Jared Loughner. Not a Ramirez, Gonzalez or Garcia.

It's safe to say there was a collective sigh of brown relief when the Tucson killer turned out to be a gringo. Had the shooter been Latino, media pundits wouldn't be discussing the impact of nasty politics on a young man this week, they'd be demanding an even more stringent anti-immigrant policy. The new members of the House would be stepping over each other to propose new legislation for more guns on the border, more mothers to be deported and more employers to be penalized for hiring brown people. Obama would be attending funerals and telling the nation tonight that he was going to increase security just about everywhere.

In short, the only reason the nation is taking a few days to reflect on the animosity in politics is precisely because the shooter was not Latino.

It's painfully ironic that a gay Latino man came to the aid of Representative Giffords in the storm of gunfire. If a judge hadn't blocked provisions of Arizona's SB 1070 law, however, the intern's surname would have easily qualified him as a target for police under different circumstances on Saturday.

A: The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous, and unfortunately, Arizona has become sort of the capital.

I admit that it was only after I saw the shooter's gringo surname that I was able to go on and read the rest of the news about those who lost their lives on Saturday and those who, like Representative Giffords, were severely wounded. I admit also that I felt some small relief in knowing that at least this shooting wouldn't be used as a reason for yet another backlash against immigrants, or at least that's what I'm hoping. In this political climate, it's hard to tell.

SIEGEL: Daisy Hernandez is the co-editor of "Colonize This! Young Women on Today's Feminism."

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