WASHINGTON — When a gunman attacked Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) and others on Saturday, 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez ran toward the shots to try to save those who were injured. He stopped to check pulses on several victims before finding Giffords, who had been shot in the head. Hernandez applied pressure to the wound, holding his boss of five days until his clothes were soaked with her blood. Hernandez, trained as a nursing assistant, lifted her head so that she wouldn’t choke on her own blood. When an ambulance came, he climbed inside with her and held her hand.
“I think it’s a little strange to be calling me a hero, because the things that I did was a one-off,” Hernandez said on CBS’s “The Early Show” on Monday. “However, the real heroes are people like Congresswoman Giffords, who have dedicated their lives to public service and helping others.”
However heroic his actions, they may have saved the congresswoman’s life. Yet Arizona’s controversial anti-immigration law, SB 1070, discourages just this sort of heroic behavior for many members of the Latino community, because it could bring them into contact with law enforcement. The law’s language allows police officers to check immigration status on anyone they “reasonably suspect” to be in the country illegally, so long as they have a legitimate reason to be in communication with the person. Witnessing a shooting or coming to the rescue of a victim would be one such legitimate reason.