As most people know a 40 year-old three term Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, was shot in the brain and lies in critical condition in a Tucson, Arizona hospital. Others were killed by a shooter, considered too unstable to attend a local community college, who was armed with a 30-round Glock pistol, a gun with a ballistic-capacity even the Tucson police do not carry.
She was a moderate "Blue-Dog" Democrat, one of the few of her kind in the current Congress which had friends on both sides of the aisle. Violence was not new to her campaign. Her opponent, a far-right Tea Party candidate, had invited followers to a "rally" where they could fire automatic weapons, including an M-16 combat firearm.
Former Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin had targeted her with a "cross hairs" mark on her district, one of twenty on Sarah's target list.
This is a climate we live in in America. No matter what the shooter's mental state of mind, its clear politics played some role in his mania. If he had just wanted to shoot people, he could have picked many places in Arizona's second largest city to do so. Yet he went to a "Meet Your Congresswoman" event.
Conservatives pundits on Arizona's airwaves immediately went on the air today to dismiss the idea that their toxic rhetoric could have inspired any of this slaughter. A Fox news contributor (and former FBI agent) said on the "Geraldo Rivera" show Saturday that this had "nothing to do with politics".
Perhaps it would be best if all pundits took a deep breath the next time they vilify a person whose crime is not agreeing with them.
No politics involved in this shooting? One might ask ask why then did the shooter's first gunshot go into the head of a congresswoman?
(Below: Gabrielle Giffords interviewed in March of 2010.)