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Breaking News: Gabrielle Giffords (D), AZ-8, shot

08/01/2011

Looks like a downer this weekend, friends.

I’m reading reports on NPR and Huffington Post as we speak that are rapidly and continuously updating. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona’s 8th Congressional District, was shot today along with twelve others while hosting an event called “Congress On Your Corner”. The constituent outreach event was the first in a planned series that would allow her constituents to have face time with Giffords, and to share their thoughts and opinions with her directly.

As I’m writing this, NPR, CNN, Reuters and HuffPo have all issued and retracted reports of Representative Giffords’ death after a hospital spokeswoman and Giffords’ husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, told MSNBC and local news affiliates that she is still alive and in surgery — of course, in serious to critical condition. Reports are also conflicting as to how many others are dead v. injured; I’ve read reports that say six people are dead, others that say only four. News networks have yet to learn who all of the victims are, though preliminary reports state the lone gunman targeted members of Representative Giffords’ staff while others say the man began firing “indiscriminately”. He is now in police custody.

I will update the story as I know more…

But let me just say that this is absolutely appalling. We do not live in a society run by martial law, where it is appropriate to take one’s frustrations over anything out on another person violently. I’m sure we’ll hear more about the gunman’s motivations as the story develops, but if he was dissatisfied with the Representative (who has just begun her third term in the House of Representatives) then he should have expressed that at the ballot box. He should have communicated that to her office. He should have written a goddamned letter to the editor of his local press outlet, but what he shouldn’t have done is take a loaded semiautomatic weapon into a public place and just open fire.

I don’t know anything at all about Representative Giffords’ record in the House, or of her record as an Arizona state Senator before that, except what I can glean from briefly perusing her Web page — she is a Democrat, she supports healthcare reform. I also know now that she was one of the twenty House Democrats singled out in Sarah Palin’s infamous “hit list” of Representatives in districts that went for McCain in 2008 who voted in favor of healthcare reform. Whether or not the two items are related is not yet known, but it’s a very upsetting and dangerous coincidence…

Follow the story:
NPR‘s live-blogging coverage
Huffington Post‘s live updates

Sarah Palin’s “Political Hit List”:
The Examiner
Business Insider

Firedoglake

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