Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords Shot: Utterly Unacceptable

"Rep. Giffords in Critical Condition After Being Shot in the Head at Public Event" (January 8, 2011)

"Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition after being shot in the head at close range Saturday morning while holding a public event, Fox News has confirmed.

"Initial reports said that Giffords had died but a hospital spokesman and three House sources told Fox News that she remained alive in a nearby hospital where she was undergoing surgery.

"At least 19 people were shot at Gifford's 'Your Corner' event held outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, including three members of the Democratic congresswoman's staff in Arizona. Five have died and nine are in critical condition at the University of Arizona Medical Center.

"A suspect is in custody. Authorities are looking for a possible second suspect.

"According to the law enforcement official, the suspect began shouting something before shooting wildly with an automatic weapon. Shots then rang out from the crowd -- a security agent or someone else fired at the suspect who survived...."

Member of Congress Shot: Getting a Grip

Depending on a person's biases, the attack on Gifford might be 'proof' that
  • Right-wing terrorists kill women
  • Gifford was shot because she supported a black man's policies
  • Guns cause crime
  • People in the American southwest are violent
  • The space-alien, shape-shifting lizard people are behind it
Maybe this time will be different: but there's already a whiff of an all-too-familiar odor:

"...Giffords's Tuscon constituency office was vandalised last March after she voted in favour of Barack Obama's controversial health bill, which has been bitterly opposed by the American right...."

"Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a moderate Democrat who stirred the wrath of right-wingers with her vote for health care reform ...."
(The Beat blog, The Nation)

Giffords, Others, Shot: Unacceptable

The Lemming doesn't do a political blog: but from time to time a post about political matters pops up here.

This isn't one of those times.

That's because the Lemming isn't going to rant about how those people over there are to blame because they don't agree with the Lemming. There's a little more to politics than that: and that's another topic.

It's too early, by far, to tell exactly what happened: apart from the fact that there was a shooting, and that one of the victims was a high-profile member of society.

The Lemming has no problem with folks using dangerous technology like LP gas, automobiles, printing presses, or guns. What the Lemming has a problem with is folks who use dangerous technology the way the shooter did in Arizona today.

That - is - utterly - unacceptable.

There was a time when the only practical way to deal with a local or regional leader who wasn't fit for office was to organize a war band and storm the castle, manor, or whatever. We get the job done with elections now. Or, rather, that's the way it's supposed to work.

What the President and House Speaker Said

"...President Obama issued a statement, calling the shooting 'an unspeakable tragedy.'..."

"...House Speaker John Boehner condemned the attack on Giffords.

"'I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff,' he said in a statement. 'An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society.' "

I'm on the same page as House Speaker Boehner on that last point. Here in America, we're supposed to vote folks out of office: not shoot them.

Not-completely-unrelated posts:

Update (January 8, 2011, 4:55 p.m. CDT)

Someone's Talking Sense: Tea Party Member Remarks

"Arizona Tea Partier: We Need to Be Careful About What We Say"
David Weigel, Weigel, blog, Slate (January 08, 2011)

"Patrick Beck, president of the Mohave County Tea Party, was at a Republican Party meeting this morning when the news of the shooting in Tuscon got out. Ron Gould, a state senator at the meeting, started to talk about Gabrielle Giffords -- who, for a short time, had been reported dead. This had happened at the other end of the state, but everyone there had opposed Giffords, a rising star who'd voted for health care reform and narrowly been re-elected in 2010...."

"...' really brought home that none of this should be personal. When we talk about Barack Obama, we've got to be clear, it's not personal. When we say he's destroying this country we are not saying he's doing it out malicious intent and a desire to cripple us. He has good intentions and he's wrong. I worry when that gets lost.'

"Arizona has one of the most active Tea Party movements of any state, and its activists have repeatedly had to defend themselves against charges of racism, of threatening the president (after one activist showed up carrying a rifle, which is legal, to a protest outside a presidential appearance), and now, of encouraging an attempted assassination...."

More of Beck's remarks, as quoted in the blog post:

"...'I've definitely been in Tea Party events where people have signs or shouted inappropriate things,' he said. 'What can we do to stop that? Not a lot. All we can do is be real clear about what we mean, but it makes it real difficult to speak when every few minutes you're giving a disclaimer. 'We have to fight back -- but, wait, I don't mean literally fight.' Those words such as fight, and take back, and restore... we know what we mean but we have to be clear what we mean, and in next few weeks, as this all plays out, people will be more understanding of that.'

"Beck wasn't looking forward to the coming 'finger-pointing' over this incident, which has definitely claimed the life of a judge, John Roll, who'd been protested over an immigration ruling. 'People blame the right for Oklahoma City,' said Beck. 'People blame the left for the Pentagon being bombed. I don't know this guy who did this, but there are crazy people in all walks of life. One rotten apple does not make a bad batch.' "

The Lemming hopes that Mr. Beck is right: that "...' next few weeks, as this all plays out, people will be more understanding of that.'..."

That would be nice: but it seems to be so much easier to assume that anyone who holds a different view is utterly evil.

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