Bil Browning

AZ Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot

Filed By Bil Browning | January 08, 2011 3:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Politics
Tags: Arizona, crazed gunman, Gabrielle Giffords

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot at a townhall meeting in Tucson, Arizona. gabrielle-giffords.jpgSeveral other attendees, including a federal judge supposedly, were wounded or killed.

Details are still emerging, but it appears that the Congresswoman was shot in the head at close range. She is currently in critical condition at a local hospital and undergoing surgery.

Congresswoman Giffords is a member of the Congressional LGBT Caucus. She had just been re-elected to a third term in a tight race against a teabagger. A former Republican, the Congresswoman is part of the Blue Dog coalition of more conservative Democrats.

She was the frequent target of harassment and intimidation by the right because of her vote in favor of healthcare reform. Sarah Palin has targeted Rep Giffords on a virtual hitlist over her vote; Palin has now removed the graphic of Congresswoman Giffords in Tea Party crosshairs that was published on her Sarah PAC website.

Statement from President Obama after the jump. I'll add others as they come in.


This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tuscon, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.

Statement by Sarah Palin

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

Human Rights Campaign

WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today reacted to the tragic shooting involving U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. HRC President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:

"We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy. Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona. We wish her a speedy recovery as our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as with the families of all of those touched by today's horrific violence."

The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

Stonewall Democrats

"We at National Stonewall Democrats are shocked at the news of the shooting involving Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)," said NSD Executive Director Michael Mitchell. "We know that an act like this affects an entire community and we are holding all the parties affected in our thoughts and prayers at this incredibly difficult time."

"Many members of the Southern Arizona Stonewall Democrats have worked on Rep. Giffords' campaigns and were close with her and her staff, so this is a horrible day for us, especially considering that today was the Arizona Democratic Party reorganizing meeting and, by law, we had to continue with the meeting after word of the shooting came to us," said Les Krambeal of the SASD. "We're devastated by what happened."

"There's something particularly gut-wrenching when an act of violence like this is committed against public servants, their staff and/or other folks participating in a constituent event," continued Mitchell. "Violence of this type has no place in a civil, democratic society.

"There will be people who try to isolate this deplorable act as a singular incident unconnected to the surge in gun-infused rhetoric we've seen from the Tea Party - from Sarah Palin, no less - and the rest of the far Right in the past few years. But words obviously have power and the Left has been verbally attacked as traitors and worse by our own countrymen quite a bit of late. Of course, the vast majority of people on the Right are not violent; but few on the Right have stood up to the racist, homophobic, radical and destructive language that has sullied the national discourse. It's not much of a leap to make the connection that language like that can be twisted into permission to commit violent acts by those who are already on the edge."

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I'm stunned and saddened by these events. The sheriff's statement that he isn't aware of any elected official that haven't been threatened is an awful indictment of what's going on in this country.

The congresswoman's husband is a Navy captain and an astronaut. Who would have thought that she would be the one with the more dangerous job in their family.

And let's not forget about the federal judges who are in harm's way. The judge who was killed today had previously had 200 threats made against him and his family. Four of those were considered so credible and imminent that he and his entire family had protection from the US Marshalls for a month.

This has gotten way out of hand.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | January 9, 2011 3:24 AM

In this new chapter of "Intolerance" I would remind all that she is a moderate Democrat in a largely conservative state. I know that AZ ranks among the easiest place to acquire a firearm and this will mean that all politicians (everywhere) will meet their constituents with greater security. It is going to heighten the importance of more media money and less personal contact with the representatives. Not a good time for "openness in government."

Whether this young man is motivated by delusions or right wing hatred is still a matter of conjecture. I hope she survives for the sake of her family and to become another "Brady" standing for controls on who can acquire such powerful weaponry. Even to the exclusion of politics and party this nonsense has persisted long enough.

Meanwhile we wait and America narrows yet again.

I was reading another site where someone who had a schizophrenic relative looked at the alleged shooter's YouTube account and raised the possibility that said shooter might be suffering from schizophrenia based on the contents of his videos.

But as someone else pointed out, the possibility of mental illness shouldn't necessarily completely divorce this from the political. A person already having trouble keeping in touch with reality would be even more susceptible to the violent rhetoric that gets thrown around in political discourse and might take things like the aiming reticules on certain politicians literally.

So even if it comes out that the shooter is mentally ill, we should still be holding politicians who use extremist, violent, hateful rhetoric (on either side) accountable for what they're putting out into people's minds.

"Greater security"? As someone who lives in Arizona, it is important for people to know what our gun laws say:
1. you can carry concealed weapons anywhere, even into bars, without training or special permits;
2. you will not go through a thorough background check when purchasing guns;
3. and soon, teachers and students will be able to carry guns in state colleges and universities.

This despicable act, where women, children, and the elderly were either hurt or murdered is not the act of a nut job, right-winger, or tea bagger, but the result of all their nonsense and the lack of accountability we are living through at this moment.

Off my box and back to mumbling and hoping for a better tomorrow for all of us.

Dear Robert,

You should be ashamed of yourself for trying to politicize this incident and for you obvious lack of facts considered when writing such a comment.

Really, your desire to paint your political opposition as responsible is in and of itself part of the problem.

Praytell how "The Commuist Manifesto" one of the shooter's favorite books is right-wing?

Instead of offering condolenscens you choose to pick the scab of the obvious discontent in this country regardless of political philosophy.

Shame on you.

One of the shooter's other favorite books is "Mein Kampf." Care to explain how that's left-wing?

This is completely shocking!My heart goes out to the victims and their families. This is a terrible story whether there is a political cause to this or just a man gone wild!!

Ken Davidson | January 9, 2011 6:53 AM

It doesn't take long for people to try to turn this tragedy into a political win. The statement by the SASD is as deplorable as the act itself.

The Bilerico web site-blog deserves credit for being civil in its posting content and keeping the comments moderated to a civil discourse.

There are way too many blogs that set out to ridicule and humiliate public officials with their selection of blog content, pictures and video. Too many blogs also allow comments to deteriorate into cruelty and pettiness.

You folks may be liberal progressives, but you’re rational editors and level headed moderators. Please keep it that way.

The statement by the SASD is exactly right. The Tea Party in Tucson has done nothing but demonize Democrats since they formed, not in the language of political discourse, but in the language of hate. Sarah Palin puts Rep. Giffords on a target list, with her district in a literal crosshairs, shouting don't retreat, RELOAD. It is shocking, but not that surprising, when an unstable individual takes this rhetoric to the next level.

Agreed. I think it hits exactly the right tone too.

These shootings are a direct result of Sarah Palin's terrorist map. She should be facing a criminal investigation for what she has done.

Those of my generation are reminded of the dark days of political terrorism and assassination in the early 1960s. Whatever the twisted motivations of this Arizona killer, his actions were borne in the context of hateful political discourse that has increasingly promoted and encouraged physical violence. For example, Sarah Palin's web site,, depicted a rifle scope crosshairs logo on Rep. Giffords' Arizona district. This graphic was scrubbed from Palin's site after the shootings yesterday and the site is completely down today, but you can see a copy at

My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Giffords and the victims of this horrific violence.

Following up on the "greater security" comment, here is what our wise legislators are thinking of doing to help public servants feel "safer": The Giffords Zimmerman Act would require the state of Arizona to train and arm all elected officials and their staffs, but not to those who are elected by merit, such as Supreme Court or Court of Appeals judges or Maricopa or Pima County Superior Court judges. The link follows:

Oh, and the Westboro Baptist Church will protest at the 9-year-old-victim's funeral.

Yeah. Safe. Taking a deep breath and counting to 500.