Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot, 6 killed

 

By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.

THE HEADLINES….

The American flag flies at half-mast on the U.S. Capitol in Washington Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011.

 

 

  • Thumbnail Sketches Of Victims In Tucson ShootingNPR, 1-9-11
  • Obama Orders U.S. Flags Lowered, Moment Of Silence For Tucson: President Obama ordered all U.S. flags on government buildings and properties lowered to half mast out of respect for the victims of Saturday’s shootings in Tucson.
    The White House also called for the observance of a moment of silence at 11 am EST Monday, “to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives.”
    The White House also postponed a planned trip to Schenectady, NY Tuesday in which the president was to highlight his administration’s efforts to create the enhance the climate for job creation. White House officials hoped to reschedule the trip.
    The move by Obama and his aides to place on hold some of their plans for the week followed the announcement by the House leadership that they were postponing a vote to repeal the health care law and other business in response to the shootings…. – AP, 1-9-11
  • U.S. sees evidence of assassination plot: Federal authorities filed murder charges Sunday against 22-year-old Jared Loughner, as new evidence suggested the alleged gunman in Saturday’s rampage had fixated on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) while his mental health deteriorated…. – WaPo, 1-9-11
  • Federal Charges Cite Assassination Plan: Prosecutors charged Jared L. Loughner, a troubled 22-year-old college dropout, of five federal counts on Sunday, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, for his role in a shooting rampage that left 20 people wounded, six of them fatally, on Saturday morning.
    Evidence seized from Mr. Loughner’s home, about five miles from the shooting, indicated that he had planned to kill Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona, according to documents filed in the Federal District Court in Phoenix. Special Agent Tony M. Taylor Jr. of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said in an affidavit that an envelope found in a safe in the home bore these handwritten words: “I planned ahead,” “My assassination” and “Giffords.”
    Mr. Loughner, who is believed to have acted alone, is in federal custody, and is scheduled to make his first appearance before a magistrate judge in Phoenix on Monday…. – NYT, 1-9-11
  • U.S. Files Charges Against Jared Loughner For Tucson Shootings: The federal government formally charged Jared Lee Loughner for a shooting incident in Tucson, AZ that left six people dead and 16 wounded. The charges included two counts of killing a federal employee and one count of trying to assassinate a member of Congress as well as two additional counts of trying to kill federal workers. Prosecutors also said investigators found allegedly incriminating evidence at Loughner’s residence that indicated that he his actions were premeditated…. – NPR, 1-9-11
  • Alleged Tucson Shooter Faces Federal Charges: A Law enforcement official said the man authorities earlier described as a “person of interest” in connection with the mass shootings in Tucson has talked to authorities and was cleared. NPR has confirmed through the Federal Bureau of Investigation that the man in an image taken by a security camera at the shopping center where the shootings occurred has talked with authorities and was cleared of any involvment. Authorities had wanted to talk with the man because he was seen entering the general area of the shootings at about the same time as the alleged guman, Jared Lee Loughner…. – NPR, 1-9-11
  • Giffords known for her openness and Judaism: She gained prominence quickly in that body and in 2006, at 36, she became the first Jewish woman elected to Congress from her state. At the same time, her Judaism was becoming more central to her identity. The turning point came in 2001 following a tour of Israel with the American Jewish Committee, she told The Arizona Star in 2007. “It just cemented the fact that I wanted to spend more time with my own personal, spiritual growth. I felt very committed to Judaism,” she said. “Religion means different things to different people. It provides me with grounding, a better understanding of who I came from.”… – JTA, 1-9-11
  • Memo notes Giffords’ Judaism in motives of alleged attacker: A U.S. Department of Homeland Security memo reportedly notes that Gabriel Giffords is Jewish in describing the motives of the Arizona congresswoman’s alleged assailant. The memo, obtained by Fox News Channel, says that Jared Lee Loughner mentioned American Renaissance, an extremist anti-immigrant group, in some of his own postings. “The group’s ideology is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti-ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), anti- Semitic,” says the memo sent to law enforcement, which also notes that Giffords, a Democrat, was the first Jewish congresswoman from Arizona…. – JTA, 1-9-11
  • Survival is possible for Giffords: Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords said Sunday that while she remains in critical condition, early signs have made them hopeful. Giffords is able to communicate with doctors by following simple commands, such as squeezing her hand, said Dr. Michael Lemole, Jr., chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tuscon, Arizona. “We are very encouraged by that,” he said, adding, “I am cautiously optimistic.” Brain swelling is the biggest threat Giffords faces now, said Lemole…. – CNN, 1-9-11
  • Massacre suspect “mentally disturbed,” former teacher says: The suspect in the weekend massacre in Arizona was kicked out of an algebra class at a community college in June after repeated interruptions and clearly “needed psychological help,” his instructor said Sunday. Jared Lee Loughner was “physically removed” from the Pima Community College course less than a month after it began, its instructor, Ben McGahee told CNN. McGahee said Loughner sometimes shook, blurted things out in class, and appeared to be under the influence of drugs at times. “I was scared of what he could do,” McGahee said. “I wasn’t scared of him physically, but I was scared of him bringing a weapon to class.”… – CNN, 1-9-11
  • Born on Sept. 11, Claimed by a New Horror: Christina Green was on the student council of her elementary school, so on Saturday her mother’s friend thought she might enjoy seeing government in action: the local congresswoman meeting with constituents outside a supermarket near Christina’s home. “I allowed her to go, thinking it would be an innocent thing,” said the girl’s mother, Roxanna Green, 45. It did not turn out that way. A gunman shot Representative Gabrielle Giffords, leaving her in critical condition, and his fusillade killed six people, including Christina, a 9-year-old who loved animals and volunteered at a children’s charity…. – NYT, 1-9-11
  • 9-year-old killed in US shooting was born on 9/11: Christina-Taylor Green, the nine-year-old who was killed Saturday along with five other people at an Arizona political event, was drawn to politics from the awareness she was born on September 11, 2001, her parents have said. “She was born back east, and September 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it. She was very patriotic and wearing red, white and blue was really special to her,” Roxanne Green told the Arizona Daily Star.
    “She was born on 9/11, the day the towers came down in New York City,” her father John Green told Fox News on Sunday. The dark-haired, brown-eyed third-grader was one of 50 babies born on that date featured in a book called “Faces of Hope.” She had gone to the Tucson strip mall with a neighbor on Saturday to meet congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was still in critical condition Sunday after being shot through the head, according to the newspaper.
    Christina-Taylor died in hospital after the shooting. Her neighbor, identified by the girl’s father as Susy Almond, was shot four times and recovering from surgery at Tucson’s University Medical Center, the daily said.
    Six people were killed, including a federal judge, and 14 were wounded in the shooting spree, in which 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner was charged Sunday…. – AP, 1-9-11
  • Suspect’s Odd Behavior Caused Growing Alarm: In a community college classroom here last June, on the first day of the term, the instructor in Jared L. Loughner’s basic algebra class, Ben McGahee, posed what he thought was a simple arithmetic question to his students. He was not prepared for the explosive response.
    “How can you deny math instead of accepting it?” Mr. Loughner asked, after blurting out a random number, according to Mr. McGahee.
    Mr. McGahee, for one, was disturbed enough by the experience to complain to school authorities, who as early as last June were apparently concerned enough themselves to have a campus officer visit the classroom. And what Mr. McGahee described as a pattern of behavior by Mr. Loughner, marked by hysterical laughter, bizarre non sequiturs and aggressive outbursts, only continued.
    “I was getting concerned about the safety of the students and the school,” said Mr. McGahee, who took to glancing out of the corner of his eye when he was writing on the board for fear that Mr. Loughner might do something. “I was afraid he was going to pull out a weapon.”… – NYT, 1-9-11
  • Six dead in shooting that wounds Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords: The Democrat was shot in the head when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet at a supermarket. She is responsive after surgery. The dead include a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and at least 12 others are injured…. – LAT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona shooting suspect Jared Loughner may have posted anti-government messages: The 22-year-old suspect in the shooting of U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords and others at a Tucson grocery is Jared Loughner, who lives in the same city. On MySpace and YouTube web pages, a man who identifies himself as 22-year-old Jared Loughner posted anti-government messages that talk about mind control and suggested he will soon be adopting a new consciousness. “Goodbye,” Loughner posted on his MySpace account at approximately 5 a.m. Saturday. “Dear friends … Please don’t be mad at me.”… – USA Today, 1-8-11
  • Second suspect sought in Arizona shooting: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and several others were shot Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Giffords was meeting with constituents. A 22-year-old suspect was in custody, law enforcement officials said. But at a Saturday evening news conference, investigators said they were looking for an accomplice who may have helped the gunman. Six of the victims died. The Pima County sheriff, Clarence W. Dupnik, said among those killed were John M. Roll, the chief judge for the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, and a 9-year-old girl…. – NYT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona massacre suspect: ‘Kind of a troubled past’: The 22-year-old man under arrest in Saturday’s massacre in Arizona railed against government “mind control” and illiteracy in online missives and had “kind of a troubled past,” as the local sheriff put it. “There’s reason to believe this individual may have a mental issue,” Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters Saturday night. An Arizona law enforcement source and a U.S. law enforcement source have identified the suspect as Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old former community college student. He was taken into custody after the massacre at a Tucson supermarket that killed a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others and seriously wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was hosting a meeting with constituents at the Safeway…. – CNN, 1-8-11
  • Rep. Giffords Critical After Ariz. Attack: Representative Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and 17 other people were shot just north of Tucson on Saturday morning when a gunman opened fire outside a supermarket where Ms. Giffords was meeting with constituents for a “Congress on Your Corner” event.
    Ms. Giffords, 40, was described as being in very critical condition at the University Medical Center in Tucson, where she was operated on by a team of neurosurgeons. Dr. Peter Rhee, medical director of the hospital’s trauma and critical care unit, said that she had been shot once in the head, “through and through,” with the bullet going through her brain.
    “I can tell you at this time, I am very optimistic about her recovery,” Dr. Rhee said in a news conference. “We cannot tell what kind of recovery but I’m as optimistic as it can get in this kind of situation.”…. – NYT, 1-8-11
  • Arizona Rep. Giffords shot, at least 5 killed: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and wounding several others in a rampage that rattled the nation.
    Giffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was “optimistic” and that she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a bullet go through her head. The hospital said a 9-year-old child was among the dead, and a U.S. Marshal said a federal judge was also fatally shot in the attack.
    Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin said an unspecified number of her staff members were injured in the shooting. Congressional officials said an aide to the Democrat was killed, and President Barack Obama said five people died in all. The reaction to the shooting was swift and rippled across the globe. Obama held a nationally televised news conference to express his condolences. The shooting cast a pall over Capitol as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting as a horrific act of violence. Capitol police asked members of Congress to step up security in the wake of the shooting, and some politicians expressed hope that the killing spree serves as a wakeup call at a time when the political climate has become so emotionally charged.
    Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. Pima County Sheriff’s officials said he used a pistol to carry out the shooting spree. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly…. – AP, 1-8-11
  • Authorities Suspect Gunman in Arizona Rampage Posted Pre-Shooting Video Online: Jared Loughner, the 22-year-old man who sources identify to Fox News as the gunman in custody in the deadly shooting rampage Saturday in Arizona, is suspected of posting a series of YouTube videos that show a focus on literacy and currency — as well as his distrust in the government. “Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner,” one of the videos says, in words appearing on the screen. “This video is my introduction to you! My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don’t dream – sadly.”
    The video, posted Dec. 15, later turns more political. “The majority of citizens in the united states of America have never read the united states of America’s constitution. You don’t have to accept the federalist laws,” the video’s titles say. “In conclusion, reading the second United States constitution, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: the government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar. No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver! No! I won’t trust in god!”
    Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among the people critically wounded in the shooting at a public event in Tucson, and several people were killed, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old boy…. – Fox News, 1-8-11
  • Giffords had been target of violent threats: It is not yet known whether or not the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, and as many as a dozen other people at a public event in Tucson, was an act of political violence. The AP has reported that the gunman has been identified as Jared Loughner. There’s still uncertainty about Loughner’s motives and politics. But a Youtube video posted under the name Jared Lee Loughner of Tucson proposes creating a “new currency,” and rails against non-English speakers “in District 8” — Giffords’s congressional district.
    But it’s worth noting that Giffords — who in 2006 became the youngest woman ever elected to Congress, at 36 — has, for more than a year, been the target of violence-tinged rhetoric from political opponents and of threats that appear to have come from right-wing activists.
    Asked by the New York Post whether his daughter had any enemies, Giffords’s father replied: “The whole tea party.”
    In August 2009, an attendee at a Giffords town-hall meeting dropped a handgun, leading Giffords’s staff to call the police. “We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” her spokesman said at the time.
    After Giffords voted in favor of the health-care overhaul in March, she said that vandals had broken the glass door of her Tucson office. “The rhetoric is incredibly heated, not just the calls but the emails, the slurs,” she told MSNBC at the time. “Things have really gotten spun up.” She added: “We do have these polarized parts of our parties that really get excited, and that’s where … all of us have to come together and say, ‘OK, there’s a fine line here.'”… – Yahoo News, 1-8-11

QUOTES

  • Gabrielle Giffords shooting stirs outpouring of concern and support: Leaders react to the shooting of the Arizona congresswoman. Obama: ‘We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this.’…. – LAT, 1-8-11
  • President Obama: The President Speaks on the Shootings in Tucson: “We Are Going to Get to the Bottom of This, and We’re Going to Get Through This”: As many of you are aware, earlier today a number of people were shot in Tucson, Arizona, including several who were meeting at a supermarket with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims. She is currently at a hospital in the area, and she is battling for her life.
    We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy. Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years; and a young girl who was barely nine years old.
    I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government. A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts. I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.
    Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.
    It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.
    What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them. And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.
    Obviously our hearts go out to the family members of those who have been slain. We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this. But in the meantime, I think all of us need to make sure that we’re offering our thoughts and prayers to those concerned. WH, 1-8-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Sarah Palin, On the tragedy in Arizona: 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. –
  • Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz): “I am horrified by the violent attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families. I beg our loving Creator to spare the lives of those who are still alive, heal them in body and spirit, and return them to their loved ones.
    Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law. – McCain Senate, 1-8-11
  • House Speaker John A. Boehner (R- Ohio): I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.
  • House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D- San Francisco): “Our prayers and thoughts are will all of them. … Congresswoman Giffords is a great patriotic American.
  • Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer: I am just heartbroken. Gabby is more than just a colleague, she’s actually a friend. She’s always been a noble public servant.

HISTORIANS & ANALYSTS’ COMMENTS

  • UW Professor Mordecai Lee: Shooting Will Impact Democratic Process Expert Predicts Tighter Security For Members Of Congress: “From now on, going to a town hall meeting with a member of congress is going be like going to the airport — you’re going to have to walk through one of those body scans,” said UW Milwaukee Government Affairs professor Mordecai Lee.
    “If we have to put U.S. senators and members of congress in the same secret service bubble that now extends to presidents and presidential candidates, the nature of American politics will change,” he said.
    “You can’t live in a bubble. You can’t view every single person as a potential assassin or a potential assailant. The essence of being a politician is being amongst people,” he said.
    “This is terrible for democracy, but I’m afraid it’s really the only pragmatic answer for these horrible kind of situations,” he said…. – WISN, 1-9-11
  • Gabrielle Giffords shooting fuels debate over rhetoric: Has the nation’s harsh political rhetoric become more than just talk — to the point of being dangerous? The attempted assassination of Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as she spoke with voters outside a grocery store in Tucson fueled a debate Sunday over whether the sharp partisanship and anti-government language that now mark American politics have created a climate that makes violence against public officials more likely. As a moderate Democrat who barely won re-election in a state torn by disputes over immigration policy, economic angst and growing mistrust in the government, Giffords was familiar with today’s increasingly nasty political rhetoric. Her opponent last fall accused her of betraying her district. Meanwhile, former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s website posted a map with crosshairs on 20 Democrat-held congressional districts Palin was targeting for takeover by Republicans in the November elections. Giffords’ was one of them.
    “You can’t say they’re just words; they have consequences,” said South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, a member of the Democratic leadership. He said he worries about the effect of words on “people who may not be clicking on all cylinders.”
    He cautioned, “We need to take a look at what we’re drifting into here.” However, some Republican leaders and conservative activists rejected the suggestion that their hard-edged language on issues such as health care and immigration could fairly be tied to Saturday’s attack by a gunman in Tucson that left six people dead, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. Giffords, who was shot in the head, was in critical condition Sunday after surgery.
    “This is a terrible politicization of a tragedy,” said Rebecca Mansour, an aide to Palin. “We don’t know (the suspect’s) motive. It doesn’t seem like he was motivated by a political ideology. Craziness is not an ideology.”… – USA Today, 1-9-11
  • Bloodshed Puts New Focus on Vitriol in Politics: The shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others at a neighborhood meeting in Arizona on Saturday set off what is likely to be a wrenching debate over anger and violence in American politics. While the exact motivations of the suspect in the shootings remained unclear, an Internet site tied to the man, Jared Lee Loughner, contained antigovernment ramblings. And regardless of what led to the episode, it quickly focused attention on the degree to which inflammatory language, threats and implicit instigations to violence have become a steady undercurrent in the nation’s political culture.
    Clarence W. Dupnik, the Pima County sheriff, seemed to capture the mood of the day at an evening news conference when he said it was time for the country to “do a little soul-searching.” “It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included,” Sheriff Dupnik said. “That’s the sad thing about what’s going on in America: pretty soon we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”… – NYT, 1-9-11
Advertisements
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: