President Obama has released a statement condemning the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and several others today. The President said, “We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.”
Obama said that Giffords was critically wounded, “This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tuscon, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.”
The President continued, “We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.”
The President is correct that we don’t have all the answers yet, so it is unfair to blame any particular person or political party for this tragedy. All too often we rush to politicize events, and draw political connections where none may exist. The facts will be revealed, and there will be plenty of time for analyzing where the extremely heated and partisan rhetoric that has become common place in our political dialogue played a role in this incident.
At this moment, several people have been shot, and may be battling for their lives. Now isn’t the time to extend blame beyond the individual who committed this heinous act. Recent history does give validity to the suspicion that the person who carried out this act could have been motivated by incendiary rhetoric. The time will come soon enough for that discussion. Our thoughts right now should be with the victims of this shooting. The politics and blame will be assigned soon enough.