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AZ Shooting:
  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, 6 Others Possibly Killed; Left Blames Sarah Palin; Update: Giffords in Critical Condition; Shooter Identified & in Custody; One Child Dead

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Posted on January 8 2011 2:49 pm
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[UPDATES BELOW]

NPR confirms the shooting death of  Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and at least 6 others: [NOTE: see updates below; this NPR report was incorrect.]

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and six others died after a gunman opened fire at a public event on Saturday, the Pima County, Ariz., sheriff’s office confirms.

The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

At least three other people, including members of her staff, were injured. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.

Giffords was talking to a couple when the suspect ran up and fired indiscriminately from about four feet away, Michaels said.

Update: At 2:36 p.m. ET, Reuters reported via Twitter that “Congresswoman Giffords still alive, in surgery, nine other patients brought in from shooting: hospital spokeswoman.”

The left-wing began politicizing the tragedy immediately by passing around lists of political “targets” released by Sarah Palin’s political action committee SarahPAC.  Rep. Giffords’ name appeared on the list.

A sampling of the tweets blaming Sarah Palin for the shooting:

Markos Moulitsas:

Mission accomplished, Sarah Palin, http://is.gd/knNgl

David Sirota:

The Palin-ites are likely busy trying to remove all trace of this graphic from the web, but NEVER FORGET: http://bit.ly/hbKNkJ

Matt Yglesias:

This is very unfortunate http://yfrog.com/h4j00sj

Yglesias’ tweet was retweeted by David Frum.  For those not familiar, “retweeting” is a way of amplifying a tweet so that it’s seen by more people.  When called out for his retweet by blogger Melissa Clouthier, Frum explained:

You think it’s going to be just Matt who makes this point? I’m hoping this is a nonpolitical crime …

More updates as they become available …

Andrew Sullivan also suggests Sarah Palin’s “target” rhetoric may be responsible for inciting this act of horrific violence:

We don’t know who killed congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and we should be very cautious in drawing any conclusions yet about why. But we can know that, whoever killed her and for whatever reason, political rhetoric involving words like “target” and “gun-sights” is inherently irresponsible.

For a public figure who has appeared on a national ticket and who commands a cult-like following, the irresponsibility is even more profound. And so one reads the following sentences from the Arizona Wildcat last September with the blood draining from one’s face:

Palin Reloads; Aims For Giffords

Earlier this year, Palin drew sharp criticism for featuring a map on her web page riddled with crosshairs targeting Democrats in vulnerable congressional districts. Tucson’s Gabrielle Giffords is among the 20 Democratic incumbents whom Palin intends to use for target practice.

Giffords was one of twenty members of Congress placed within metaphorical “gun-sights” in SarahPac’s graphic. That is not the same thing as placing a gun-sight over someone’s face or person. No one can possibly believe – or should – that Sarah Palin is anything but horrified by what has taken place. But it remains the kind of rhetorical excess which was warned about at the time, and which loners can use to dreadful purposes. It is compounded by the kind of language used by the Arizona Wildcat as well. Maybe “Palin Reloads; Aims For Giffords” is good copy as a headline. But next time, an editor should surely pause before enabling forces whose capacity for violence is real.

Update, 3:06 p.m. ET: Via Michelle Malkin on Twitter, KOLD reports that Rep. Giffords is still in surgery and is in critical condition. Five others are dead.

Update, 3:24 p.m. ET: AP reports the shooter is in custody.

Update, 3:36 p.m. ET: Fox News reports that Rep. Giffords is responsive. 19 people have been shot.  AZ State Senator Lopez mentions the “Tea Party people” while discussing the shooting on Fox.

Update, 3:46 p.m. ET: Shep Smith reports that Federal Judge John Roll was killed by the gunman.

Update: 3:52 p.m. ET: Shep says Judge Roll’s death has NOT been confirmed. The suspect is a 22-year-old white male.  Additional reports suggest he may be a veteran.

Update: 3:55 p.m. ET: Predictably, Paul Krugman piles onto the “Palin/crosshairs” meme:

Just yesterday, Ezra Klein remarked that opposition to health reform was getting scary. Actually, it’s been scary for quite a while, in a way that already reminded many of us of the climate that preceded the Oklahoma City bombing.

You know that Republicans will yell about the evils of partisanship whenever anyone tries to make a connection between the rhetoric of Beck, Limbaugh, etc. and the violence I fear we’re going to see in the months and years ahead. But violent acts are what happen when you create a climate of hate. And it’s long past time for the GOP’s leaders to take a stand against the hate-mongers.

Update: I see that Sarah Palin has called the shooting “tragic”. OK, a bit of history: right-wingers went wild over anyone who called 9/11 a tragedy, insisting that it wasn’t a tragedy, it was an atrocity.

Update, 3:57 p.m. ET: On Fox News, Shep Smith identifies the shooter as Jared Laughner, a 22-year-old white male.

Update, 4:01 p.m. ET: Hospital press conference: Giffords was shot in the head, doctors are “as optimistic as you can get in this situation.”  A young child is dead.

Update, 4:12 p.m. ET: Multiple reports indicate a second person has been arrested in connection with the shooting.

Update, 4:15 p.m. ET: Fox News now reports the shooter’s name is spelled Jared Loughner. A YouTube video that may have been produced by the shooter is being passed around Twitter.  His YouTube channel lists The Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf as two of his favorite books.  His YouTube profile is written in a way that suggests he expected to die — “I had favorite books” rather than “My favorite books are.”

Books:
I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

Update, 4:25 p.m. ET: The AP confirms Judge Roll is dead.

Update, 4:40 p.m. ET: Ben Smith offers a partial transcript of a video Loughner favorited on YouTube. The video “shows the burning of an American flag and is accompanied by an anti-government screed.”

If there’s no flag in the constitution then the flag in the film is unknown.
There’s no flag in the constitution.
Therefore, the flag in the film is unknown.
Burn every new and old flag that you see.
Burn your flag!
I bet you can imagine this in your mind with a faster speed.
Watch this protest in reverse!
Ask the local police; “What’s your illegal activity on duty?”.
If you protest the government then there’s a new government from protesting.
There’s not a new government from protesting.
Thus, you aren’t protesting the government.

Update, 4:50 p.m. ET: President Obama addresses the nation about the shooting.  He initially referred to Rep. Giffords in the past tense, saying she “was a friend of mine,” but later in the presser he spoke of her in the present tense.  He appeared to be speaking from a teleprompter.

Update, 5:30 p.m. ET: The odious Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake blogs about a shooting fundraiser held by Giffords’ 2010 congressional opponent Jesse Kelly back in June.  The title of her post:

Giffords Opponent, Jesse Kelly, Held June Event to “Shoot a Fully Automatic M16″ to “Get on Target” and “Remove Gabrielle Giffords”

Guns don’t kill people, Republican fundraisers kill people?

Update, 5:55 p.m. ET: Time jumps into the fray: Is Violent Rhetoric Behind the Attack on Giffords?

Update, 6:13 p.m. ET: The AP reports that Jared Loughner told officials he acted alone.  Expect the media to “unpack” the meaning of the word “alone” — is that code for “at the behest of Tea Party extremists”?

Update, 6:55 p.m. ET: Fox News reports that Rep. Giffords has been speaking and her prognosis is good.

Update, 7:43 p.m. ET: Hey, why not?  Hanoi Jane decides to troll Twitter with her thoughts on the shooting:

@Janefonda: Progressive Arizona Rep Gabrielle Giffords is shot. In her ads, Sarah Palin had her targeted in a gun site. Inciting to violence.

@Janefonda: Glen Beck guilty too. Shame. It must stop!

@Janefonda: Violence against 1 woman is violence against every woman. So let all women commit 2 stopping this radical violence. NOW #VAW #tucsonshooting

@Janefonda: It isn’t enough that Palin just removed the map of Giffords district with gun crosshairs off her website. She holds responsibility

@Janefonda: @SarahPalinUSA holds responsibility. As does the violence-provoking rhetoric of the Tea Party

Update, 7:54 p.m. ET: Jared Loughner attempted to enlist in the military, but was rejected, according to NBC.  The Daily Caller reports that Loughner had at least two prior run-ins with law enforcement.  And here’s a photo of Loughner captured from his MySpace profile before it was taken down:

Update, 8:12 p.m. ET: The Sheriff’s Department confirms Giffords was the intended target.  There are six dead. A suspicious package at Gifford’s headquarters in Pima, AZ is being investigated.

Speaking at a press conference, the Pima County Sheriff called Arizona a “mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

Law enforcement is actively pursuing a second male suspect. No further details are being released right now.

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