Six Dead and 12 Wounded, Incld. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in Tucson Tragedy

| On 08, Jan 2011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was one of 18 people shot in an unspeakable shooting spree at her campaign event in Tucson this morning.

Tragedy fell on an otherwise peaceful and beautiful day in Tucson, Arizona this morning.

Shortly after 10:00 a.m. MST, a gunman opened fire at a public event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) at a local Safeway grocery store. In the 15-20 or more shots reportedly fired, 18 people were hit. Six of them have died, including a 9-year-old girl and federal judge, John Roll, who has been at the heart of Arizona’s immigration debate.

Rep. Giffords was hosting the “Congress On Your Corner” event in an effort to reach out and meet local constituents whom she represents. This is a normal and public event for many Congressman who do outreach events in their district. Her 8th Congressional district in Arizona covers the Tucson area and the southeastern part of the state and its border with Mexico.

According to witnesses, Giffords was shot at point blank range in the head. The gunman has been identified as Jared Lee Loughner, 22, from the Pima, Arizona area. Giffords was flown by LifeFlight helicopter to a local hospital where she successfully underwent surgery.

Giffords was elected to Congress in November 2006. By a margin of 48-47 %, she recently won a close re-election fight  against Jesse Kelly, a Tea Party candidate. She was sworn in for her third term on Wednesday with other members of Congress from across the country.

Personally, I’m as shocked as they come on this one. There’s no link yet as to exactly why the shooter chose Giffords’s event for this chaos. But, of course, the finger-pointing has begun…

There are theories of Tea Party-stoked fear-mongering or the Congresswoman’s stance on gun rights or immigration as a possible cause. There’s even reference to Sarah Palin’s “Hit List” of lawmakers she posted on her site in September. Palin urged supporters to donate to oppositional candidates to get them out of office because of their pro stance on the new health care law.

Whatever the real reason behind this is, we need to (at least for now) remember the tragedy at hand and deal with its immediate aftermath. Right now, six people are senselessly dead and 12 wounded for an ideal we can’t yet wrap our minds around.

More to come…

[This is an ongoing story. Please look for additional PJM posts as more information develops.]

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