After years of increasingly violent rhetoric by the right-wing directed at Democrats, someone finally took action.
Details are at this time sketchy, which is to be expected. Some earlier reports claimed Giffords had been killed, but she is now reportedly in surgery but in critical condition. 12 other people on scene were also shot.
The man was young, mid-to-late 20s, white clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down.
This is a disgusting act of cowardice. This tragic event was presaged by numerous, escalating incidents:
The New York Times writes that Giffords’ office was vandalized in March “a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nation’s health care system.”
Matt Yglesias points out that an anti-Giffords event was held in June with the billing: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”Rep. Giffords was also on Sarah Palin’s “target list.”
The right-wing has not been held accountable for their anti-American speech filled with hate and threats of violence. I have written since before Obama was elected that unless public leaders took responsibility and worked actively to defuse tensions within the country, someone would eventually be hurt and killed. This event, while incredibly tragic, doesn’t surprise me. By Monday morning, right-wing pundits will be claiming that the fault lies with the radical left, that it was people like Giffords who brought it upon themselves. That will not be acting responsibly. That will not be exercising American values. It will be a continuation of public displays of moral cowardice.
My thoughts and prayers are with Rep. Giffords, her family and her staff.