Of all the senseless acts of violence we’ve seen over the years, today’s shooting at a Gabrielle Giffords public event in Tucson really strikes home. I spent time in the company of “Gabby” Giffords and met many members of her staff during her first run for Congress. I saw her as a “balanced” representative (a former Republican turned Democrat who still, for example, supported Second Amendment rights) who I thought could bring some new energy into Washington, which seems to perpetually suffer from “Good ‘Old Boys” syndrome.
That she has been violently attacked by an individual who is obviously mentally deranged is shocking and extremely disturbing. Almost as disturbing is how the mainstream media has latched onto this story as a way to demonize anyone who believes in the U.S. Constitution.
The shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner, is, by any sensible interpretation, mentally deranged. Yes, he mentioned the Constitution among his various ramblings, but he also listed the Communist Manifesto as being among his favorite books. In addition, he released a YouTube video containing unintelligible ramblings of repeated nonsense phrases, including references to the government taking away “grammar,” of having a colorful bird on his shoulder, brainwashing and what he called “conscience dreaming.”
The utterly false and irresponsible accusation floating around certain circles on the ‘net that Loughner was some sort of extreme right winger who targeted a Democrat is extremely irresponsible and hateful. Giffords was pro Second Amendment and publicly supported the right of the People to keep and bear arms. She’s actually a gun owner who urged the U.S. Supreme Court to protect Second Amendment rights. She was also a huge supporter of a stronger border with Mexico, which has traditionally been one of the key positions of Arizona conservatives. Giffords can’t be pigeonholed into a label, you see. Her views are far more complex than “Democrat” vs “Republican.” She is certainly no “left-wing liberal,” and the attack on her doesn’t appear to be politically motivated at all (see below).