Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot and critically wounded Saturday morning while hosting an event outside a Tucson grocery store, according to local news reports. Doctors said she survived the attack, but six others did not.
Federal law enforcement sources said that John M. Roll, the senior U.S. District judge in Arizona, was shot and killed in the incident. The Pima County Sheriff's office said that five others including a nine-year-old child had died, and a total of 18 people were injured.
A 22-year old man was taken into custody after being tackled by people on the scene after the shooting. One pistol was recovered and it had what police described as "an extended clip."
The man was identified as Jared Loughner of Tucson, according to the Associated Press.
Giffords, who in November narrowly won reelection to a third term, was hosting her first "Congress on Your Corner" event when a gunman ran up and began shooting her and others in her entourage with a Glock handgun, according to law enforcement sources.
Eyewitness Steven Rayle, a Tucson doctor, said he saw a young man wearing sneakers and what appeared to be navy blue sweats approach Gifford with a semi-automatic handgun raised. The man shot Giffords once in the face, he said.
After Giffords fell, he said, a number of people near Giffords sought to flee but were trapped--hemmed in by the table and a concrete post. The gunman fired into the crowd, he said.
Giffords had a sighted rifle scope symbol over her district on the map at Sarah Palin's SarahPAC website, as well as Palin's Facebook page. Palin had endorsed Giffords' Republican challenger in 2010, who used this tagline: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."
This isn't the first time someone showed up at one of Giffords' events with a gun.
Gary Hart's comments are perhaps the best to heed:
Gradually, over time, political rhetoric used by politicians and the media has become more inflammatory. The degree to which violent words and phrases are considered commonplace is striking. Candidates are "targeted". An opponent is "in the crosshairs". Liberals have to be "eliminated". Opponents are "enemies". This kind of language eminates largely from those who claim to defend American democracy against those who would destroy it, who are evil, and who want to "take away our freedoms".
Today we have seen the results of this rhetoric. Those with a megaphone, whether provided by public office or a media outlet, have responsibilities. They cannot avoid the consequences of their blatant efforts to inflame, anger, and outrage. We all know that there are unstable and potentially dangerous people among us. To repeatedly appeal to their basest instincts is to invite and welcome their predictable violence.
So long as we all tolerate this kind of irresponsible and dangerous rhetoric or, in the case of some commentators, treat it with delight, reward it, and consider it cute, so long will we place all those in public life, whom the provocateurs dislike, in the crosshairs of danger.
That this is carried out, and often rewarded, in the name of the Constitution, democratic rights and liberties, and patriotism is a mockery of all this nation claims to believe and almost all of us continue to struggle to preserve. America is better than this.
Hart didn't mention "second amendment remedies", or "reload", or some other choice words.
Homeland Security director Janet Napolitano -- a former Arizona governor who had an explosive package mailed to her just a few days ago -- has spoken about the threat of violence from right-wing extremists as early as 2009.
What do you think it will take to curtail the deadly virus of hate and violence spreading like wildfire among the far right and those who enable them?