Congresswoman Shot in Head Was On Sarah Palin’s Hit List
Democratic Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition after a gunman shot her at point blank range as she hosted an event in Tuscon, Ariz. She was gunned down today after having just been sworn in for her third term as a representative. Giffords was hosting the event for “constituents to present their concerns directly to her.” Giffords was on Sarah Palin’s “hit list” for the 2010 elections, a list punctuated by sniper scope graphics over the targeted representative’s districts. The gunman has been identified as Jared Lee Loughner.
Gawker spoke to eyewitness, Steven Rayle, who helped to restrain the gunman at the scene today:
The event was very informal: Giffords had set up a table outside the Safeway and about 20-30 people were gathered to talk to her. The gunman, who may have come from inside the Safeway, walked up and shot Giffords in the head first, “point blank”. According to Rayle, who is a former ER doctor, Giffords was able to move her hands after being shot.
After shooting Giffords, the gunman opened fire indiscriminately for a few seconds, firing 20-30 rounds and hitting a number of people, including a kid no older than 10 years old. Rayle hid behind a concrete pole and pretended to be dead. When the gunman apparently ran out of ammunition he attempted to flee, but a member of Giffords’ staff tackled him. Rayle helped hold the gunman down while waiting for the sheriff to arrive, about 15-to-20 minutes later. The EMS came about 30 minutes later. Rayle said he was “stunned” by how long it took medical help to arrive.
The gunman 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, although he struggled at first. He was “not particularly well-dressed”; he didn’t look like a businessman, but more of a “fringe character,” Rayle said. The sheriff’s department arrived, arrested the gunman and cordoned off the parking lot.
Also on Sarah Palin’s hit list were the following congressional representatives:
Vic Snyder (AR-2)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-1)
Harry Mitchell (AZ-5)
Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)
John Salazar (CO-3)
Betsy Markey (CO-4)
Allen Boyd (FL-2)
Suzanne Kosmas (FL-24)
Brad Ellsworth (IN-8)
Baron Hill (IN-9)
Earl Pomeroy (ND-at large)
Charlie Wilson (OH-6)
John Boccieri (OH-16)
Kathy Dahlkemper (PA-3)
Christopher Carney (PA-10)
John Spratt (SC-5)
Bart Gordon (TN-6)
Tom Perriello (VA-5)
Alan Mollohan (WV-1)
Nick Rahall (WV-2)
The shooter’s motives are unknown currently, but the country has been nervously hoping to avoid a tragedy like this and violent rhetoric like “second amendment remedies” along with Sarah Palin’s “Don’t Retreat, Reload” accompanied by a map with sniper scopes over Democrats districts has done nothing to calm the fears of a politically divided nation. No political leader should be making even metaphorical references to violence against the domestic opposition. While the Right has been denying any responsibility for stirring up and inciting violence with their rhetoric, any one with common sense can see that if this shooting turns out to be politically motivated, Sarah Palin and Sharron Angle will have blood on their hands.
Regardless of what this man’s motives are, this horrible tragedy should serve as a teachable moment for the Republicans and indeed all citizens to begin to demand responsible rhetoric from their leaders. Incendiary rhetoric of the kind used in the last two years holds no place in a civilized society. But today, our thoughts are with the victims of this horrific shooting and their families and friends.
Update: January 8, 2010 4:16 PM: There are ten patients from the shooting, one has died, five are in critical condition. The dead patient was a child.
Update: 4:20 PM Sarah Palin has reportedly just taken down her webiste with the cross hairs graphic targeting the Democratic Congresswoman.
Update 5:26 PM: U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll had died from injuries sustained in today’s shooting.