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The Tragedy in Arizona: Gunman Opens Fire at Political Gathering

The BCS Championship isn’t the only thing that’s been catching attention in Arizona lately. On Saturday morning, Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D. Arizona) held her first “Congress on Your Corner” event and was seriously wounded when a gunman opened fire on her and others attending the event (Oregonian, New York Times). In total, 14 were injured (including Rep. Giffords) and 6 died.

Rep.Giffords, photo taken from her website

Recently reelected for a third term, Rep. Giffords’ website describes her as “…one of the most centrist legislators in Congress she is a strong supporter of fiscal responsibility, bipartisanship and government accountability.” Her facebook page displays her favorite quote, from Abraham Lincoln:  “With malice toward none, with charity for all, …let us strive on to finish the work we are in, …to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace among ourselves and with all nations.” Rep. Giffords represents a southeast corner of Arizona and according to the NYT, “has been an outspoken critic of the state’s tough immigration law, which is focused on identifying, prosecuting and deporting illegal immigrants, and she had come under criticism for her vote in favor of the health care law.”

The Saturday morning event was held outside a Safeway. It was an opportunity for individuals to meet Rep. Giffords and talk with her one-on-one about “any issue, concern or problem involving the federal government.”

The alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, has been charged with 5 federal counts and according to the NYT, the shooting may have been premeditated:

Evidence seized from Mr. Loughner’s home, about five miles from the shooting, indicated that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, according to documents filed in Federal District Court in Phoenix.

Special Agent Tony M. Taylor Jr. of the F.B.I. said in an affidavit that an envelope found in a safe in the home bore these handwritten words: “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.”

It has also been reported that Mr. Loughner attended at least one town meeting held by Rep. Gifford.

Among the dead are chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona John M. Roll, 9-year-old Christina Green, Rep. Giffords’ director of community outreach, Gabriel Zimmerman, Dorthy Morris, Dorwan Stoddard and Phyllis Schneck. The latest update on Rep. Giffords, is that she is responding to basic commands.

Republican leadership has spoken out against the shooting,  Senator McCain has said “Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race.”

An event like this is unfortunate. If the shooting was politically motivated, as it seems, then the gunman had no idea how the American political system works. When someone speaks out with violence instead of rhetoric, that individual’s credibility is greatly diminished and the political agenda which the individual is trying to further is negatively affected. These acts are not valiant but simply crazy and unfortunately extremists can’t seem to comprehend this. Whatever political views Rep. Giffords has, whatever she legislates for, she did not deserve to be shot, nor did any of the other 19 victims, but we all knew that. All of us except the gunman.

  1. Vincent says:

    “If the shooting was politically motivated, as it seems…”

    Doesn’t… you know… ALL AVAILABLE EVIDENCE militate against this particular interpretation?

  2. “Whatever political views Rep. Giffords has, whatever she legislates for, she did not deserve to be shot, nor did any of the other 19 victims, but we all knew that. All of us except the gunman.”

    Well said.

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