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Arizona Congresswoman shot

Horrible.

Six people were killed and 12 others wounded — including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords — in a shooting outside a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store where the congresswoman was holding a constituent meeting, police said.

The suspect in the shooting was in custody, according to U.S. Capitol Police, who did not identify the alleged gunman.

Darci Slaten, a spokeswoman for University Medical Center in Tucson, said Giffords, 40, was undergoing surgery Saturday afternoon for a gunshot wound to the head.

Local law enforcement officials have not provided a public accounting of the injuries, but President Obama called the shooting an “unspeakable tragedy,” and said “some have passed away,” according to a statement from the White House. He said Giffords was “gravely wounded.”

A federal judge was also killed in this attack. He had received numerous death threats in 2009 as the result of a ruling he made in a civil suit.

In February, when U.S. District Judge John Roll presided over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher, the Marshals Service was anticipating the fallout.

When Roll ruled the case could go forward, [US Marshall David] Gonzales said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats.

In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

“They said, ‘We should kill him. He should be dead,’ ” Gonzales said.

Roll, who is the chief federal judge in Arizona, said both he and his wife were given a protection detail for about a month.

“It was unnerving and invasive. . . . By its nature it has to be,” Roll said, adding that they were encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible. “It was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service.”

While Rep. Giffords is thankfully expected to survive, one of the fatalities is reported to be a nine year old girl. I’m just sick to my stomach. We don’t know yet what the motivation was of the shooter, but given all of the violent rhetoric and imagery that has infected our politics lately, it’s not hard to speculate about possible causes. In the meantime, I pray for the full recovery of all of the injured, and for peace for the families of the dead.

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10 Comments

  1. Liberty says:

    The shooter has been identified as Jared Loughner, although he has made some peculiar political rants, They can’t be easily associated with either the left or the right. So far there hasn’t been any identified association with either The Democratic or the Republican party. Neither is any association with any tea party or even any right winged extremist groups.

    Lets net overlook the obvious, that this guy was just a kook and that mainstream political debate and politics had nothing to do with the attack. Rep. Giffords is a moderate Blue Dog, I believe that while she is respected from both ends of the spectrum. Folks differ with her from both ends of the spectrum. Why is it the first thing people think of is a right wing conspiracy?

    I as a conservative libertarian pray for her recovery as I’m sure many others are.

  2. Agreed, the shooter was mentally ill and incoherent, though apparently they’re now seeking a second person of interest. But the violent rhetoric and imagery is a problem. It’s corrosive and dangerous, and all people of conscience should abhor and condemn it. The fact that there may not be a connection to this particular event doesn’t change that.

  3. Liberty says:

    Political debate will always have lots of loud overblown rhetoric. The word “campaign” itself is a military reference. The implication that Sara Palin’s targeting of political races was a call to violence is actually more incendiary than anything that Gov. Palin has ever said. We all expect both sides to campaign hard and motivate people to give their money and time. The rhetoric comes from both sides whether it’s from the left or the right, the idea is to motivate people to action.
    I suspect if politics and political ideals weren’t something that we got emotional about, our blogs would just fade away.

  4. matx says:

    Rhetoric espousing “2nd amendment solutions” and “the tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants” is too often excused as acceptable because it’s “not to be taken literally.” Sheriff Dupnik of Pima County, AZ, expressed an excellent view on this during a press conference yesterday:

    The sheriff spent several minutes directing his anger at the “vitriol” he said comes from radio and television personalities. “That may be free speech, but its not without consequences,” Dupnik said.

  5. Violent and dangerous rhetoric and imagery should be condemned, I agree. I also think that people making unfounded connections to attack political opponents doesn’t illustrate a good example of toning down overheated rhetoric. There doesn’t appear to be a shortage of this from either side of the political spectrum. Apparently the Daily KOS had posters saying that Giffords was “dead” to them for voting against Pelosi. They also had a map similar to Palin’s with a bullseye on Giffords and Arizona. Glass houses? I think everything should be toned down, to use this tragedy, at least at this point in time when Giffords is fighting for her life, is troubling. Here is a link with screenshots off the KOS, don’t know, maybe this was all photoshopped but it sure throws a different light on the debate.
    http://hillbuzz.org/2011/01/08/my-congresswoman-voted-against-nancy-pelosi-and-is-now-dead-to-me-eerie-daily-kos-hit-piece-on-gabrielle-giffords-just-two-days-before-assassination-attempt-on-her/

  6. matx says:

    The DailyKOS diarist took down the diary, written prior to the shooting, out of regret and respect for the congresswoman. He was a supporter and worked for her re-election, and did not agree with her vote for John Lewis. There was no target and bullseye imagery involved. He was angry and upset by her support for Lewis. The particular phrase “dead to me” is not a physical threat to anyone, and maybe more people should embrace it when referring to the site where your link goes to.

  7. And Palin took down the map with the crosshairs on them after the shooting too, and yes, there were bullseye targets on a map targeting Giffords similar to what was on Palin’s site on the daily KOS there is a screenshot on the same link. You are missing the point. The point is when someone starts playing this blame game there is no telling where that arrow is going to be pointing when the spinner stops. The same loose unfounded connections made between this human tragedy and political opponents can be made a two way street very easily. I see no difference between the connections made on the site in that link to the connections made between the shooting and those on the right. I think they are all reprehensible and take away from the focus of the real personal human tragedy and treats those deaths and injuries as a means to a political end.

  8. matx says:

    The diarist had no bullseye imagery in his diary against Congresswoman Giffords. The link you posted also included a posting from 2008 about certain Democratic districts that may get or deserve primaries. The bullseye image was added after the fact and was not in the original posting–just a little bit of clip art to pointing to the words “bulls eye”. There was also a map, with no accreditation at all as to where it came from or when.

    The symbol of a rifle target site compared to a symbol of a bullseye is similar, but far from the same.

  9. matx says:

    The symbol of a rifle target site compared to a symbol of a bullseye is similar, but far from the same.

    The diarist had no bullseye imagery in his diary against Congresswoman Giffords. The link you posted also included a posting from 2008 about certain Democratic districts that may get or deserve primaries. The bullseye image was added after the fact and was not in the original posting–just a little bit of clip art to pointing to the words “bulls eye”. There was also a map, with no accreditation at all as to where it came from or when.

  10. I don’t recall anyone claiming the diarist had a bullseye on her, he only said she was “dead” to him, the bullseye target was used on her district by democrats wanting to target blue dog democrats, “not all of these people will get or even deserve primaries, but this vote certainly puts a bullseye on their districts” That isn’t a rifle sight, but even if it were how is it far from the same? A bullseye is a target, a target is a recepticle for bullets, I don’t get the idea that putting a target on her is not as bad as putting a crosshair on her. If I told you you had a bullseye on your chest would you feel threatened? But again, this isn’t the point, if you are trying to say it is a reach I agree, just like it is a reach that putting crosshairs on her district among several others is a reach. I don’t think either are to blame, I don’t think Islam is to blame for the fort hood shootings, I don’t think environmentalist are to blame for the discovery building shooting and I don’t think Palin is to blame for Giffords shooting. The only point I am trying to make is that there is something wholely wrong with using a horrendous tragedy like this to make a political point when there is no evidence of the insinuations and especially when the exact same arguments used can be used to blame people on the left. To somehow use this reaching political blame game to further political goals to try to make a comment about vitrial political rhetoric seems rather disingenuous to me. That’s all I have to say, sorry if that doesn’t make sense.

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