Breaking: Dem. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot and in critical condition, others killed in shooting

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A couple of hours ago during a “Congress in Your Corner” event at a supermarket in Tuscon, AZ, Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot as well as 10 others, including 5 reported killed, including a 9-year old girl and a federal judge.

Giffords is currently in recovering from surgery in the local hospital for a gunshot wound to the head by the shooter, who is in custody and reported to be a 21-year old man. While we don’t know the political implications behind the attack, Giffords’ office was vandalized last year as well as received death threats after her vote supporting health care reform. Here is Giffords talking to MSNBC about those threats as well as the rhetoric of violence around political issues such as health care reform.

All of us here at Feministing are hoping for her recovery, and thoughts are with the wounded and families of the lost in this heinous act of violence. We’ll be sure to keep readers updated on her status and more information on what exactly happened — a press conference is being anticipated shortly.

P.S. In the meantime, Sarah Palin has just removed a webpage from her PAC website that included a controversial poster used during the recent elections, “targeting” Giffords. (Giffords specifically addresses this in the MSNBC interview.)

UPDATE: A child is reported by the hospital to have died in the shooting, via a live press conference here. Doctors are optimistic for Gifford’s recovery; she is currently out of surgery and in ICU.

UPDATE 2: Obama’s statement live.

UPDATE 3: We find out more about the shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. Also, see Rebecca Traister’s piece on Gifford’s “revolutionary political role.”

UPDATE 4: In a press conference, Sheriff Dupnik calls out the vitriolic rhetoric given by certain “people in the radio business and some people in the TV business” that create a hostile atmosphere, adding that folks tend to turn their heads to “all the vitriol that we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it’s not without consequences.”

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4 Comments

  1. Posted January 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to get a solid read on the shooter. Someone who reportedly knew him describes him as left wing, and another article says “The Communist Manifesto” is one of his favorite books, that same second article said he liked “Mein Kampf” (which is anti-Marxist, notable since Karl Marx co-authored “The Communist Manifesto”). If anything, his contempt for the Giffords, his anti-flag rhetoric, his interest in Dystopia novels (“Brave New World” and “Animal Farm”) suggests a distrust of government (not unreasonable) that he has chosen to channel towards violent ends (not reasonable). He regards action as “currency,” and he has it somewhat clear how he intends to spend it.

    As to how this relates to Sarah Palin, while it could be interesting to see if he found inspiration in her, I doubt he would find anything in her ideology. The problem with both Palin and Loughner (the shooter) is their lack of respect for those they disagree with — that they would use violence, violent rhetoric, or violent images in the name of their cause. Whether Lougher is conservative, liberal, libertarian, tea party, or anything else is a distant second from a more important matter — the means one uses and is willing to use to achieve their ends (at least short of fighting for survival).

  2. Posted January 9, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

    I gotta say it’s bit more than odd that, with the vast majority of Congress members being men, it ends up being one of the very few women who gets shot.

  3. Posted January 9, 2011 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

    Them Bastards gone crazy and it looks like that Sarah Palin not only lacks class….that target map just looks like pure High Octane Nightmare Fuel! I wonder if Governor Palin ever cried in that scene of “Bambi” where Bambi finds out his mother has died. Keep us updated, hope that somebody’s conscience gets stricken.

  4. Posted January 9, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Permalink

    Arizona feminist here — THIS IS A FEMINIST ISSUE, and here’s why. What keeps turning around in my mind, over and over, is that a certain power structure didn’t get what they wanted peacefully, so now they’re resorting to force. Gabrielle Giffords was supposed to turn over her seat to a Tea Party member and go quietly into history. Unfortunately for the Tea Party, Giffords’ constituents LOVE her because she does stuff like, yaknow, spending her weekends hanging out with them at Safeway. She was the only Democrat in a Republican district in Arizona who hung onto her seat. That says a lot.

    Giffords was Arizona’s third-ever elected Congresswoman and the second elected since the 1930s. (After Giffords was elected, Ann Kirkpatrick became the fourth). What’s starting to become disturbing to me was that the three women elected after 1990 were challenged by extremist anti-feminist conservatives. Kirkpatrick and Karin English were respectively voted out by Paul Gosar, a Tea Party-aligned dentist, and J.D. Hayworth, who can’t kick around welfare recipients and Hispanics enough.

    Giffords, on the other hand, was not.

    I closely watched Giffords’ freshman race in 2006. When she started hanging 20 points on Randy Graf, her anti-immigrant extremist opponent, anonymous blogs went up calling her a homewrecker. Conservative extremists started getting freaked out that a powerful, independent, childless woman was about to ascend to power. If you’ve been watching what’s happened lately, you can see that things haven’t much changed since then.

    Gabby has been a hero to me because she’s handled everything with a ton of sophistication and authority. Her big issues have been helping the mentally ill and getting the federal government to invest in solar energy. I was extremely moved to hear that as soon as the news of her shooting broke out, Jeff Flake — her conservative Mormon colleague from the eastern side of Phoenix– jumped in his car and drove to Tucson to the hospital where she was staying. Which is to say, everyone loves Gabby, even those who sit across the aisle from her. The only ones who don’t are those who have a problem with women, minorities, and their loss of absolute power in the system.

    Arizonans have been predicting that she will become our next Senator when John McCain retired. I’m hoping that she becomes our next Senator… and President of the United States.

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