Gabrielle Giffords

I didn’t think I’d have a lot to say tonight about the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords today.  I’m in that state of numbing shock that makes me wonder what has happened. Earlier in the week, Rep. Giffords (D-AZ) was one of the members to take to the House floor to read The Constitution.  She read the First Ammendment, about the right to assemble peacefully.

A federal judge was killed. A child was killed. Rep. Giffords, conducting a ‘Congress on the Corner’, meeting her constituatnts outside a grocery store, was shot, an aide was killed. So were others. Many others critically injured. 2 individuals wrestled the gunman to the ground saving who knows how many other individuals.

Out this shocking, stunning, sad day a voice of reason came from the sheriff of Pima County, Arizona Clarence Dupnik who said called out the vitriolic rhetoric on radio and television markets and his own state when he said:

“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think it’s time we do the soul-searching,” he said.

“The anger, the hatred the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capitol. We have become the Mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”

The fact that 6 people had to die, 19 people injured for somebody in a place of leadership to say “this is OUR fault” is tragic. But Sheriff Dupnik, if you were running for office in my district, you would probably get my vote, for speaking the hard truth, the difficult truth and telling this country to look in the mirror. And to stop running ads that show candidates with bulls-eyes across their faces.

Words have consequences: And even the First Ammendment, which Rep. Giffords read on the House floor this week has been limited by the judiciary to prevent First Ammendment defenses in order to incite violence.  It’s time for the arugments to end: it’s time to work together. We have differences to celebrate, we have differences to debate. We don’t have a single excuse for picking up a gun and shooting 25 people at a Safeway.

It is time we simply grow up.

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