Saturday, January 8, 2011

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot

Image credit: U.S. Congress official photo

Another Update (1:20 PST): David Dayen, who was live-blogging a hospital press conference, writes that Rep. Giffords is alive, and has had surgery, and is in critical condition but that the attending physician is optimistic that she'll recover. My guess is that we'll know in a day or two at most.

Meanwhile, a federal judge and a nine-year old boy have died in the shooting.

Update: A local TV station reports conflicting stories about Rep. Giffords' condition. As I mentioned in the previous update, the local sheriff reported that she is still alive.

I've left the main body of this article as it was originally written. Any changes will be in updates, or new articles.

It happened only three hours ago as I write this, but it now appears that U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-08), a Democratic congresswoman, has been shot and killed at a public meeting in Tuscon:
Chief Richard Kastigar with the Pima County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that 12 people were shot at a Gabrielle Gifffords event. The shooting occurred this morning at a Safeway Store near Oracle & Ina.

Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Her condition has not been disclosed by authorities. One shooter is in custody, authorities said.

12 people shot, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords wounded
The Arizona Daily Wildcat (the local college paper) reports:
Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head during a "Congress at Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson at approximately 10:15 a.m., according to reports from National Public Radio and Arizona Public Media.

Rick Kastigar, bureau chief for the Pima County Sheriff's office, said 12 people were wounded "some of them greatly," according to the Arizona Daily Star.

Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords shot and killed in Tucson
The report of her death has been confirmed by Talking Points Memo and The New York Times, based on NPR reporting. TPM reports this about the gunman:
Local news confirmed initial reports by NPR that the suspect in his late teens or early twenties was tackled on the scene and is in custody.

Congresswoman Giffords Shot In Arizona
The NYT article describes the event:
The shooting occurred at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson as Ms. Giffords hosted an event, called “Congress on Your Corner, to allow members of the 8th Congressional District to meet her individually. She has held several events since first taking office in January 2007. At one such event in 2009, a protester was removed by police when his pistol fell on the supermarket floor.

Last March, her Tucson office was vandalized a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nation’s health care system, the authorities said. Earlier events in Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sierra Vista, and Douglas had attracted between 75 and 150 people, according to a statement announcing the event. This was her first event since her re-election to a third term in November.

Congresswoman Giffords Shot in Tucson
As the photo shows, Rep. Giffords was young for a congressperson, 40 years old. She was married just three years ago, according to the NYT. That makes this shooting particularly tragic.

But perhaps the most tragic thing is the nature of this event. You won't have to read too many articles on Congress here to see that one of the problems I have with that body is how disconnected it is from its electorate. This event was one where a congresswoman went out to meet her constituents, rather than making them come to her. I don't know what her voting record was, but that willingness to seek out her voters where they are is something I find admirably unusual about her. Incidents like this, which happened at a place that's hard to secure, will probably increase Congress's isolation.

My condolences to Rep. Giffords' friends and family, and to the other victims of this event.

UPDATE: From FireDogLake, this update:
Update II: Sheriff Dupnik says that Gifford is still alive but in critical condition, says he is 100% sure, at 2:29 pm ET.
That's a half hour after the report I quoted at the top of the article, but I'm not sure if it's any more reliable. At this point, the people who are most likely to know about her condition are the staff at the hospital Giffords was taken to. Everyone else gets the information second hand.

At least at the time the sheriff last spoke with the hospital staff, though, Giffords' fate was still in doubt.

UPDATE (1:40 PM PST): The alleged gunman, Jared Loughner created an incoherent stream-of-consciousness video a couple of weeks ago. In his opening sentence, he refers to himself in the past tense. I think it's safe to assume this guy's missing a couple of fries from his happy meal.


Vigilante said...

Is this not a smoking gun for open and/or concealed carry? And especially at political Rallies? All those in favor of the rights of unregulated militias to bear arms should get in line to wash innocent blood from their hands. It is time for us, as a nation, to take up the unconstitutionality of standing un-regulated militias.

Cujo359 said...

The constitutionality is arguable, I think. What this strikes me as being is another example of why it's a bad idea to allow mentally unstable people unsupervised access to firearms. If I knew of a way to make that a less likely occurrence without giving the government even more power over us, I'd be recommending it.