The earlier reports that she had died were inaccurate, and CNN is saying she is instead undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head. No word on the other dozen who were also shot. Let's pray for the best. I'm leaving the original post intact. (Further updates will be below original post.)
Far be it from me to believe in (or promote) conspiracy theories, but when you have a Congresswoman shot at point blank at an event for the public to come meet her, and there have been other incidents where someone was removed after discovered to have brought a firearm to such an event, and her home-state office was vandalized after she voted for the contentious Obamacare health care overhaul, it's not hard to connect the dots and see that as at least possible. (And her immigration reform positions may be another possibility.)
That Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and half a dozen other people were killed (and half a dozen more injured) is tragic enough. But if she were killed for her politic stance, that is utterly sickening.
In a country where both sides of the political spectrum increasingly see the other as an un- or anti-American, enemies who deserve violence delivered upon them (according to some of the more extreme voices on-line and even on-air), it would not be a surprising turn of events. Extremely disturbing, but unsurprising.
Requiescant in pace, Representative Giffords and the others.
Also killed was Judge John Roll, who earned the ire of local talk show hosts when he allowed a $32 million lawsuit against an area rancher to go forward.
In 2009, The Arizona Republic talks about the subsequent threats:
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.That, sadly, is exactly the kind of thing I was talking about earlier.
When Roll ruled the case could go forward, 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."
At the end of the month, Roll said four key men had been identified as threat makers.
And we're reading now that apparently Sarah Palin was targeting Congresswoman Giffords last year, complete with "gunsights," according to this Huffington Post story from last year:
Oh, and this is apparently the YouTube channel of the alleged shooter, Jared Laughner (or Loughner).
Well, not so much of an update as a comment, on others' comments. I think some might come along and think I've joined (or started) some sort of Tea Party- or conservative-bashing bandwagon, but a careful read of what I've written demonstrates otherwise. I specifically wrote (and even italicized) dangerous rhetoric on both sides of the spectrum, and this comment at The Marmot's Hole about the shooting demonstrates what I'm talking about:
Normally, I wouldn’t try to attribute blame between shooter and media influence. But Republicans tend to have low IQ so I think it’s likely the shooter was another one of those right-wing psychos inundated by diatribes by Palin, Fox, et al.. But we’ll see…Pot, meet kettle. I'm beginning to wonder if The Korean wasn't eerily prescient when he said this:
I think Palin should be shot. America’s political dialogue deserves to be better than whatever that bimbo has contributed.
But now, it looks like an argument can be made that Korean politics is actually more advanced than American politics, since the problems of American politics is appearing to follow the problems of Korean politics a few years ago. How much longer until we see Fight Night in Congress? ("You lie!" sure seems like a great prelude to that.)The coming end of American civility in the public sphere, I thought, would mean we can't reach necessary compromises on important issues. Now I'm beginning to wonder if the current take-no-prisoners form of American politics is bringing us intractable violence.