LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — The father of the young girl killed in the attack against U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords is still an advocate for gun ownership.
But he also believes strongly in the LA gun buyback program, of which CBS2 and KCAL9 is a co-sponsor.
Christina-Taylor Green, then 9, was the youngest victim in the attack Jan. 8, 2011, that killed five others and wounded 13.
Green’s father, John Green, is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. His father is legendary baseball manager Dallas Green, who led the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series win in 1980.
Baseball is, literally, in the family genes.
“I grew up in the game,” John said. “There’s a long, proud tradition of baseball.”
John and his wife Roxanna’s second child — Christina-Taylor — continued the tradition as second baseman and pitcher of her Little League team.
“She was the only girl,” John remembers. “She realized it was sort of a family business. When she joined the team, she was just part of the team, which is kind of neat.”
The girl had been born Sept. 11, 2001.
“Even though many people lost their lives that day, she was sort of like a little gleam of light or hope on that day,” her father recalls.
As she started to understand the meaning of her birthday, her dad says she also started to understand the importance of public service as well.
“I think that began her thought process of helping the community out,” he said.
She ran for student council. Green was also interested in meeting real-life, full-time politicians.
Christina-Taylor had an important question for Giffords and went to her meet-and-greet event that day.
“She actually wanted to ask her her opinion on how she was going to make a difference in global warming, and that’s when everything happened.”
In a eulogy, President Barack Obama praised the little girl for being so conscientious at such a young age.
“I want to live up to her expectations,” the president said. “I want our democracy to be as good as Christina imagined it.”
After her death, her parents established the Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation.
They have raised more than $1 million to help build city parks and baseball fields in Tucson.
“We donated her corneas, and she was able to restore eyesight to two people.” She was honored for organ donation on the 2012 Rose Parade float called “Donate Life.
Even with the painful loss of his daughter, Green remains a gun advocate.
“I’m a hunter,” he explains, “so I have guns in the house myself. My wife’s very involved in the gun-safety issue. Things like the buyback program in LA I think are wonderful because it’s one way of taking guns off the street that some people may not even need.”
Nearly four-and-0ne half years after Christina-Taylor’s murder, John says his family is doing the best it can.
“We did think about her, and it will affect us forever,” he says, “but we know we’re going to join her in heaven one day.”