|Rep. Giffords with her husband Capt. Mark E Kelly NASA Astronaut|
The news this evening that Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot point blank shot to her head while out campaigning is harrowing news. The fact that some of her staffers and others in the grocery store when she was holding her first Congress on Your Corner were hurt or killed sadly highlights that in some cultures where guns are readily available, reaching out into the community isn't always safe. The fact is that a nine year old child, Christina Taylor Green, has died in hospital as a result and eight others are being treated, four others along with the congresswoman in a critical state. Update: It has now been confirmed that at least five other people were killed. As they were not taken the the hospital as reported earlier they may have been pronounced dead at the scene.
Update: The other dead have been named John Roll, chief judge on the U.S. Distroct Court of Arizona and Gabe Zimmerman the congresswoman's director ofcommunity outreach. Along with three elderly consitituents Dorwin Stoddard, 76, Dorthy Murray, 76, and Phyllis Scheck, 79.
The 3rd term representative for the Arizona 8th Congressional District was Arizona's first Jewish congresswoman. Her election in 2006 was against the former Republican Senator Randy Graf who was famous for his enforcement only position on immigration and illegal immigrants. Her debut congressional race was therefore often mentioned in the run up to polling day as a test bed for Arizona's tough immigration stance. Last year she retained her seat for a second time after defeating on the 'top ten' Tea Party Republicans Jesse Kelly. She is a pro-choice, pro-stem cell research, has spoken up for the immigrants which in a state like Arizona are all controversial subjects.
The events surrounding her shooting still remain a mystery. There have been numerous time in campaigns that I have been on walkabouts or events with the candidate, if indeed I am not the candidate myself. In fact I think in all four of the hustings I have even done as a parliamentary candidate on each occasion I was sat next to the person who was defending his seat. We're fortunate that the number of political assassinations or attempted assassinations in the UK have been few and far between. But would an increasedrisk make me any less likely to go a walk behindmy party leader, a candidate or go myself as the candidate out in public? No, my love for politics and helping others is what is and always will drive me on. Therefore those staffers and the congresswomen have been injured doing something they love, indeed have a passion for.
But while we of course all express our concern for her husband, who was to be the commander of the last Space Shuttle on Endeavour, scheduled for April, and family and sympathy for the family of the child who has died, there is also needs for the families of the other eight who are affected by this incident. Many of them were just going about their work helping their congresswoman, some appear to have been attending a public gathering that she had arranged. They were going about their democratic right to gather to talk about their future, making things better.
"For those that are fighting for their lives, it is time to pray" Mayor of Tuscon live at 21:05 GMT speaking at press conference at Arizona University Medical Centre
Update Somebody has recently unearthed this rather harrowing, in light of today's events, news piece from 25 March last year about threats of violence against some Democratic Representatives including Rep. Giffords
Update 2 While I am not putting a blame on any source, some of the imagery that did exist on Sarah Palin's website for those of her opponents that needed to be removed from office looks a bit sick in light of today's events. The Website is currently down and many are speculating that this list of Democratic congressional districts will either be removed or severely modified in the mean time.