That joking I did in the past about how it won’t be long before people are once again caning each other on the House floor doesn’t seem quite so funny anymore.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head by a gunman at a public event in Tucson on Saturday. There are conflicting reports about whether she was killed.
The Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office told member station KJZZ the 40-year-old Democrat was killed. A hospital spokeswoman said Giffords was in critical condition and undergoing surgery.
At least eight other people, including members of her staff, were injured. There also were conflicting reports on the number of deaths at the scene, but President Obama, in a statement, said “we know that some have passed away” and that Giffords was “gravely wounded.”
Giffords, who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.
The suspect fired indiscriminately from about four feet away, Michaels said. A congressional official told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the gunman was using an automatic weapon.
The suspect ran off and was tackled by a bystander. He was taken into custody. Witnesses described him as in his late teens or early 20s. Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities in Arizona are investigating the shooting.
The congresswoman was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.
Giffords was first elected to represent Arizona’s 8th District in 2006. The “Congress on Your Corner” events, which she holds regularly, allow constituents to present their concerns directly to her.
I guess the best we can hope for is first and foremost that the folks who got shot make it through, and secondarily that the shooter was motivated by some politically-neutral cause like plain insanity. Cold comfort, but it’s a fuckload better than the alternative.
Important not to speculate; important not to be an asshole here. Some people are dead and others badly hurt. This is a tragedy, not political theater, and people ought to keep their goddamn mouths shut until we at least have some idea of what happened here.