Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

TRAGEDY: Gunman opens fire on Gabrielle Giffords, injuring her and killing others

We're just getting details of a horrific, detestable tragedy that has occurred in Tucson, Arizona, this morning. Several people, including John Roll, chief judge for the United States District Court in Arizona, were killed, and another eighteen people were injured at a "Congress on Your Corner" constituent event held by Arizona Democratic Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was among the injured.

Giffords was rushed to the hospital after being shot in the head. She was listed in critical condition after being operated on by a team of neurosurgeons. Doctors say they are optimistic that she will make a full recovery.

The gunman is suspected to be twenty-two year old would-be soldier Jared Lee Loughner, who purportedly posted videos talking about terrorism and revolution on YouTube under the screen name "Classitup10".

We don't know what the shooter's motivations were, so we'll refrain from speculation until we know more. The Federal Bureau of Investigation has Loughner in custody. If he is indeed responsible, we hope he gets life in prison. And counseling. We need to understand what drove him to commit this act of evil. He killed a young child, a federal judge, and seriously injured a member of Congress.

Also killed was a member of Giffords' staff — her district director.

Laughner apparently tried to escape after opening fire with his weapon, but he was tackled to the ground by a brave bystander and captured by police. The individual who tackled him deserves an award of merit for his act of courage.

President Barack Obama quickly issued a statement in response to the shootings, and later spoke at greater length about the calamity from the White House's State Dining Room at 4:46 PM Eastern Standard Time:
I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government. A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts. I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.

Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.

It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.

What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them. And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.
"Congresswoman Giffords is a brilliant and courageous Member of Congress, bringing to Washington the views of a new generation of national leaders. It is especially tragic that she was attacked as she was meeting with her constituents whom she serves with such dedication and distinction," added House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi.

Her counterpart, John Boehner, was equally appalled.

“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. 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. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."

“I am shocked and saddened by the news of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. An unthinkable tragedy has occurred injuring this bright, talented Congresswoman," Senator Cantwell said in a statement sent to NPI. “She is an incredible leader on important 21st century issues of clean energy, border security, and the innovation economy. Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and Congressional staff. And our prayers also go out to all those who lost their lives or have been injured by this senseless shooting."

More to come...


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