shot dead by police in Nogales, authorities in Tucson reported that Representative Gabrielle Giffords had been shot at close range while hosting a “Congress on Your Corner” rally outside a grocery store. Representative Giffords was rushed to University Medical Center in Tucson, approximately 10 miles from the shooting.
A public information officer on the scene told media outlets that 12 people in all were injured as a result of the incident. The suspects remain at large.
This is the not first time Giffords has received threats or been victimized. In 2009, a protester who attended one of her town hall type meetings was removed by police when he dropped a concealed pistol. However, since Governor Jan Brewer’s 2010 law that makes it legal for anyone in Arizona over the age of 21 to carry a weapon regardless of criminal past, police are no longer allowed to intervene with armed assailants at Giffords’ events. In fact, similar to the immigration bill, if police officers suspect citizens of not carrying their guns with them, the officers must detain and question those individuals.
Last March, Giffords’ office was vandalized in apparent retaliation to her sponsorship of health care reform, which Arizona’s elderly oppose because of the Death Panel provisions that would effectively allow the federal government to end their lives indiscriminately.
Tucson police spokespeople say that Giffords is putting herself in harm’s way. A detective on the scene explained.
“As long as you got your papers -- and I mean citizenship papers, not gun permits, ‘cause we don’t use them no more -- you can show up at one of her grocery store stump speeches and wave your sidearm around. Really, she needs to stop holding these ‘Hippie Commune Corner’ meetings, or whatever they’re called, or stop voting for laws that are hurting this country, like immigration amnesty, universal health care, equal rights, and gun control. This is what happens when these activist politicians go against the Bill of Rights. And that’s what she [Giffords] votes for: the violation of our Second Amendment freedoms. But now she knows firsthand what gun control leads to. People getting shot, which is what we got here today.”
Aides and close friends of Giffords claim that they have tried to persuade the congresswoman to stop running for office. The “Congress on Your Corner” gatherings, they worry, are needlessly exposing Giffords to harm. But they also state that supermarket street corners are the only places Giffords, as a Democrat, can find space to meet with her constituents.
“She’s only attracting crowds of 50 to 175 people at these things,” said Giffords’ chief advisor. “But then that number represents all of the Democrats in the state. The base was larger before last spring, when 90 percent of them got deported. Still, I’ve been dreading this day. It seemed inevitable in Arizona.”
Others believe that a Democrat in Arizona being re-elected three times to office is more shocking than a Democrat being shot at.
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