Before this weekend, I didn’t know much of Congresswoman Gabriella Giffords. I knew she was a Democrat, and I knew she was from Arizona. Then early Saturday afternoon, I started hearing reports of a shooting in Arizona. My first instinct was to send a tweet to my two good friends out there to warn them to stay away from all Safeways today.
Then I learned that among those shot was Congresswoman from the 8th District. In the head at point blank range. My first thoughts were to say a little prayer for everyone involved. Then I wanted to know more about the shooting and the Congresswoman.
Rep. Giffords is a blue dog Democrat. She’s a staunch defender of the Second Amendment. She supports an immigration overhaul that would stiffen border security, impose tougher penalties against employers who hire illegal immigrants and create a guest worker program allowing foreign citizens to work seasonally in the United States. And when it was time to vote for Speaker of the 112th Congress, Rep. Giffords was one of 19 Democrats who did not vote for Nancy Pelosi.
These killings are an unspeakable tragedy. And we may never learn the real motives behind this horrific event. This was not a political act. It was an assassination attempt. Just days ago, we were all lauding the images of a peaceful transfer of power in the House of Representatives from outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi, to the newly elected Speaker John Boehner. We marveled and even reminisced about President Obama’s swearing in as the 44th President and the peaceful transfer of power from George W. Bush.
That’s how we solve things in America. We have elections, we fight, we vote, and hopefully, our guy (gal) comes out on top. If not, we regroup and plan for the next election cycle. What we do not do is go out and shoot people because they have different political views.
Immediately after the news reports were buzzing, some started politicizing the events. These morons will stoop to any level to attempt to make a political point. But in doing so, they only show how insignificant they truly are. Knee jerk reactions blaming one side or another are simply pathetic.
The first person attacked from the left was Sarah Palin. Everyone from The Daily Kos to Rep. Chris Van Hollen went after Palin for using images of cross hairs, bulls eyes and such, until it was uncovered that Van Hollen’s Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee website had similar images for the last two election cycles. I don’t even think Markos Moulitsas realizes that back in June of 2008, he himself put a bulls eye on the district of many suspect Democrats, including Giffords.
The reality is that both sides are guilty of this vitriol. There are crazy people on both sides. Using their own twisted logic, Palin is as much to blame as Jesse Jackson, because the shooter is said to be anti-Semitic. It was former Congressman Alan Grayson who said his opponent was a member of the Taliban.
During the presidential campaign back in 2008, then-Senator Obama said “If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.” So should we now blame the President of the United States? Of course not. That would be puerile.
The media does its own share of engaging in this level of speech. How many times do you hear the media talk about battlegound states, like the presidential campaign is a war.
When there’s actual evidence that Jared Loughner was motivated by someone’s political rhetoric, I’ll consider people lecturing to tone it down.
Of course, we will shortly revisit the debate of gun control. And that is fine. As long as it is a sensible one based on facts and statistics, and not on emotions.