Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot, 6 Killed and 10 Wounded by 22-Year-Old Jared Loughner

This morning in Tuscon, Arizona, something really really really tragic and terrible and absurd and heartbreaking happened when Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot while hosting a public event outside a Safeway grocery store. 11 others were also shot. 6 were killed. Gabrielle Giffords is pro-choice, supports embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage.

Three Giffords staffers were shot in the attack. One died and two others are expected to survive. Giffords’ director of community outreach, Gabe Zimmerman, a former social worker, died.

Amongst those killed was Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court Arizona, John McCarthy Roll, a George H.W. Bush appointee, was killed.

The Huffington Post reports:

Jared Laughner, the person reportedly being held under suspicion of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), was described by eyewitnesses as a young white man who looked like a “fringe character.”

Laughner apparently shot Giffords and 12 others at a public event at a Safeway grocery store in Tucscon. He reportedly shot the congresswoman “point blank” in the head and may have come from inside the store. After shooting Giffords, he allegedly fired 20-30 rounds and hit “a number of people,” including a child. He attempted to flee after running out of ammunition and was tackled by one of Giffords’ staffers.

Eyewitnesses have described Laughner as “young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing.”

He was arrested upon arrival of the sheriff’s department.

This is [allegedly] Jared Lee Loughner:

Jared Laughner’s YouTube profile lists his favorite books as:

I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

Hmm… Mein Kampf AND The Communist Manifesto? What the hell is going on here.

Jared Lee Laughner has only posted one video on his youtube channel, inspired by “conscience dreaming,” by which we think he means “Conscious Dreaming.”

A comment from Laughner attached to a now-removed video (look at the scrolling box on the right) has a seemingly schizophrenic or manic quality that suggests Jared Laughner may have been suffering from a psychotic break of some kind:

Classitup10 writes –> Hello, and welcome my classified leak of information that’s of the United States Military to the student body and you. Firstly, I want you to understand this from the start. Did you know grammar is double blind, listener? Secondly, if you want to understand the start of revelatory thoughts then listen to this video. I’ll look at you mother fuckin Anarchists who have a problem with them illegal illiterate pigs. :-D If you’re a citizen in the United States as of now, then your constitution is the United States. You’re a citizen in the United States as of now. Thus, your constitution is the United States. Laugh. I’ll let you in on their little cruel joke that’s genocidal. They’re argument is appeal to force on their jurisdiction with lack of proof of evidence. Each subject is in question for the location! The police don’t quite get paid correctly with them dirty front runners under section 10? Their country’s alliances are able to make illegal trades under section 10. Eh! I’m a Nihilist, not someone who put who put trust in god! What is section 10 you ask? If you make a purchase then it’s illegal under section 10 and amendment 1 of the United States constitution. You make a purchase. Therefore, it’s illegal under section 10 and amendment 1 of the United States constitution. We need a drum roll for those front runners in the election; those illegal teachers, pigs, and politicians of yours are under illegal authority of their constitution. Those dirty pigs think they know the damn year. Thirdly, tell them mother fuckers to count from 0 to whenever they feel a threat to stop their count. We can all hope they add new numbers and letters to their count down. Did you run out of breath around the trillions, listener? Well, B.C.E is yet to start for Ad to begin! What does this mean for a citizen in any country? Those illegal military personal are able to sign into a country that they can’t find with an impossible date! How did you trust your child with them fraud teachers and front runners, listener? Did you now know that the teachers, pigs, and front runners are treasonous! You shouldn’t jump to conclusion with your education plan. The constitution as of now, which is in use by the current power pigs, aren’t able to protect the bill of rights! Do you now have enough information to know the two wars are illegal! What is your date of time, listener? Fourthly, those applications that are with background checks break the United States constitution! What’s your riot name? I’ll catch you! Top secret: Why don’t people control the money system? Their Current Currency(1/1) / Your new infinite currency (1/~infinte) This is a selcte information of revoluntary thoughts! Section 10 – Powers prohibited of States No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility. No State shall, without the Consent of the Congress, lay any Imposts or Duties on Imports or Exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing it’s inspection Laws: and the net Produce of all Duties and Imposts, laid by any State on Imports or Exports, shall be for the Use of the Treasury of the United States; and all such Laws shall be subject to the Revision and Controul of the Congress. No State shall, without the Consent of Congress, lay any duty of Tonnage, keep Troops, or Ships of War in time of Peace, enter into any Agreement or Compact with another State, or with a foreign Power, or engage in War, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent Danger as will not admit of delay. Each subject is unlocatible!

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Why Was Gabrielle Giffords Targeted?

It’s impossible to say what motivated Jared Laughner to shoot Gabrielle Giffords until the full story comes together.

Many liberals are drawing attention to the relatively significant history of right-wing opposition to Giffords’ endorsement of health care reform which often involved violent imagery and language.

Gabrielle Giffords appeared on Sarah Palin’s infamous target-list, a SUPER TASTEFUL inforgraphic that everyone really loved:

On March 21, 2010, Giffords’ office was vandalized a few hours after Gifford voted in favor of health care reform. Gifford and her staff had already vacated the building, but the front door was smashed which set off the alarm system.

On June 12th, 2010, Giffords’ 2010 Congressional opponent Jesse Kelly held an event advertised as “Get on Target for Victory in November Help Remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly.” See:

Although the event has since been removed from Kelly’s website, the Arizona Daily Star‘s account remains:

Jesse Kelly, meanwhile, doesn’t seem to be bothered in the least by the Sarah Palin controversy earlier this year, when she released a list of targeted races in crosshairs, urging followers to “reload” and “aim” for Democrats. Critics said she was inciting violence.

He seems to be embracing his fellow tea partier’s idea. Kelly’s campaign event website has a stern-looking photo of the former Marine in military garb holding his weapon. It includes the headline: “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly.”

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UPDATE 2:00 MST:

Rep Giffords is out of surgery and in critical condition with a single gunshot wound to the head.

One of the people killed today was a 9-year old child.

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UPDATE 3:00 MST:

At a news conference broadcast on CNN, Arizona Governor Brewer fought back tears while speaking to the press, saying that “all of Arizona is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that occurred this morning in Tuscon.” Brewer describes Gaby as “more than just a colleague, [she was] a friend.”

Brewer asked “the people of America to keep the victims and their families in their prayers and pray for their recovery and pray that we never again in Arizona have to ever experience a tragedy like this ever again.”

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UPDATE 3:43 MST:

Jesse Kelly, her prior opponent who hosted an event advertised as “Get on Target for Victory in November Help Remove Gabrielle Giffords from office Shoot a fully automatic M15 with Jesse Kelly” has released a statement expressing his condolences and urging people to pray for Giffords, her family, and others injured today.

From CNN:

Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, said the attack was committed by a “wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion.”

“Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law,” he said.

Obama called the attack an “unspeakable tragedy.”

“We do not yet have all the answers,” he said. “What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.”

House Speaker John Boehner said he was “horrified” by the shooting.

“An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve,” he said. “Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society.”

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UPDATE 4:04 PM MST:

CNN says that an inside source has told them that Jared is claiming that he acted alone.

At 12 noon MST (Giffords was shot at 10am MST), Sarah Palin tweeted this:

At about 3:30 MST, Sarah Palin tweeted a link to her facebook page “On the tragedy in Arizona“:

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

- Sarah Palin

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UPDATE 4:49 MST:

The “crazed internet rantings of Jared Loughner” are making the rounds — it’s pretty much crystal clear at this point that we’re dealing with someone who needed some serious mental health care. This could have been prevented.

Tuscon Weekly has collected some of Jared Loughner’s final thoughts via his various internet presences. Here’s a bit of those:

Most people, who read this text, forget in the next 2 second!

The population of dreamers in the United States of America is less than 5%!

If 987,123,478,961,876,341,234,098,601,978,618 is the year in B.C.E. then the previous year is 987,123,478,961,876,341,234,098,601,978,619 B.C.E.

987,123,478,961,876,341,234,098,601,978,618 is the year in B.C.E.

Therefore, the previous year of 987,123,478,961,876,341,234,098,601,978,619 B.C.E.

If B.C.E. years are unable to start then A.D.E. years are unable to begin.

B.C.E. years are unable to start.

Thus, A.D.E. years are unable to begin.

If A.D.E. is endless in year then the years in A.D.E. don’t cease.

A.D.E. is endless in year.

Therefore, the years in A.D.E. don’t cease.

If I teach a mentally capable 8 year old for 20 consecutive minutes to replace an alphabet letter with a new letter and pronunciation then the mentally capable 8 year old writes and pronounces the new letter and pronunciation that’s replacing an alphabet letter in 20 consecutive minutes.

I teach a mentally capable 8 year old for 20 consecutive minutes to replace an alphabet letter with a new letter and pronunciation.

Thus, the mentally capable 8 year old writes and pronounces the new letter and pronunciation that replaces an alphabet letter in 20 consecutive minutes.

Every human who’s mentally capable is always able to be treasurer of their new currency.

If you create one new currency then you’re able to create a second new currency.

If you’re able to create second new currency then you’re able to create third new currency.

You create one new currency.

Thus, you’re able to create a third new currency.

You’re a treasurer for a new currency, listener?

You create and distribute your new currency, listener?

You don’t allow the government to control your grammar structure, listener?

If you create one new language then you’re able to create a second new language.

If you’re able to create a second new language then you’re able to create a third new language.

You create one new language.

Thus, you’re able to create a third new language.

All humans are in need of sleep.

Jared Loughner is a human.

Hence, Jared Loughner is in need of sleep.

Sleepwalking

If I define sleepwalking then sleepwalking is the act or state of walking, eating, or performing other motor acts while asleep, of which one is unaware upon awakening.

I define sleepwalking.

Thus, sleepwalking is the act or state of walking, eating, or performing other motor acts while asleep, of which one is unaware upon awakening.

I’m a sleepwalker – who turns off the alarm clock.

All conscience dreaming at this moment is asleep.

Jared Loughner is conscience dreaming at this moment.

Thus, Jared Loughner is asleep.

Terrorist

If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon.

I define terrorist.

This, a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon.

If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.

You call me a terrorist.

Thus, the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.

Every United States Military recruit at MEPS in Phoenis is receiving one mini bible before the tests.

Jared Loughner is a United States Military recruit at MEPS in Phoenix.

Therefore, Jared Loughner is receiving one mini bible before the tests.

I didn’t write a belief on my Army application, and the recruiter wrote on the application; None.

The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America’s Constitution.

You don’t have to accept the federalist laws.

Nonetheless, read the United States of America’s Constituion to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.

You’re literate, listener?

If the property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution then the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and laws.

The property owners and government officials are no longer in ownership of their land and laws from a revolution.

Thus, the revolutionary’s from the revolution are in control of the land and laws.

In conclusion, reading the second United States Constition, I can’t trust the current government because of the ratifications: The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.

No! I won’t pay debt with a currency that’s not backed by gold and silver!

No! I won’t trust in God!

What’s government if words don’t have meaning?

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6:25 MSTHouse Legislation Postponed:

“Our nation was shocked by the tragedy in Arizona earlier today. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, and others became the victims of a senseless act of violence. Congresswoman Giffords serves Arizona’s 8th District with distinction and thoughtful leadership, and it is horrifying that she was exposed to such violence at an event designed to reach the people she represents. I couldn’t agree more with Speaker Boehner, who earlier said that, ‘an attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.’ Along with our nation, this institution has suffered a horrible tragedy. We are saddened, mourn those who lost their lives, and stand together in hopeful prayer for the recovery of the victims and their families.

“All legislation currently scheduled to be considered by the House of Representatives next week is being postponed so that we can take whatever actions may be necessary in light of today’s tragedy. Further information relating to a revised House schedule will be released tomorrow.”

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7:00 MST- Sheriff Clarence Dupnik:

“When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And, unfortunately, Arizona I think has become sort of the capital. We have become the Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.

“It’s not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. And that’s the sad thing of what’s going on in America. Pretty soon, we’re not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.”

The police has confirmed that they are looking for a second suspect.

The uncle of the 9-year-old girl who was killed today has spoken to KTAR.com. She had just won her student council election and had gone to the event to meet a real Congresswoman.


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From here on out we’re just going to add additional information as we see it.

More About the shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner:

Loughner was never in the army in Afghanistan. He tried to join the army but was rejected for unknown reasons.

From The Arizona Daily Star, Loughner is “disturbed” and has made death threats before but not against Giffords:

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was “obviously very disturbed.”

“He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,” said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College’s Northwest campus.

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From “The End of Access” by Howard Fineman at The Huffington Post:

The shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is a watershed event in many ways, some of which we cannot yet know, but one of the clearest and simplest is this: Congress and its members are about to be permanently quarantined, physically isolated, from the people it and they represent.

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I just tried to buy a gun online via Sportsman’s Warehouse, where Jared Loughner bought his gun, and it would appear there is no screening process? I got to the part where I had to submit a credit card but it seems like they were good to go after I said I was 18. IDK.

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In unrelated news, Sarah Palin’s Alaska will not have a second season, JUST LIKE Hey Paula.

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YOU KNOW HOW I LOVE MY RADICAL LEFT-WING MEDIA!! (Srsly I do) FAIR Blog points out that Fox News OH JUST SO HAPPENS TO BE The No. 1 Name in Murder Fantasies. I’d like to point out that this article was written in November, so:

Bill O’Reilly‘s recent “joke” about decapitating Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank was only the latest example of a demented Fox News culture that permits on-air personalities to fantasize about assassination and other forms of violence against those deemed enemies of the station, its personalities or their worldview.

KEITH OLBERMANN’S SPECIAL COMMENT:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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104 Comments

  1. Thumb up 0

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    this is really horrifying. i’ve been glued to the tv.

    if this attack is politically motivated, i won’t be surprised. the rhetoric has been ridiculous.

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        it seems like from the stuff Jared has been writing online — like about a new currency, a government conspiracy to create a new language, the conscious dreaming… all of this random shit — he could be mentally ill? wonder if he had healthcare.

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          yeah, judging from what i’ve read and those videos, he seemed to be off to say the least? something wasn’t right, thats for sure. this could have been prevented, especially if he had healthcare.

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          It definitely seems to me that he is mental ill, but I still think the right and far right rhetoric fanned the flames of an already burning anti-government paranoia that this guy had. This episode has just shown how irresponsible it is for the right to disingenuously engage in that sort of demagoguery.

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          when my schizoaffective friend had a psychotic break the stuff he was writing is pretty much identical to what Jared was writing. Same random sentence construction, mish-mash of seemingly unrelated ideas, always the conspiracy theories… And whenever a republican makes something like Sarah Palin’s target list my first thought is always that there are crazy people out there who take a morsel like that and run with it. politicians need to pay more attention to how their messages can be misused by kids and by mentally unstable people who turn conspiracy theories into all-encompassing insane philosophies from which to carry out their vigilante justice.

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          As usual Riese, I agree with you. It just makes you wonder if this guy’s untreated illness might have led him in a non-fatal direction if he hadn’t been exposed to those sorts of messages.

          I also find it infuriating because if someone brings up the idea that indulging the fantasies of a fearful group of white conservatives with inflammatory shit like “second amendment solution” is dangerous because it might trigger someone like this kid, it can be dismissed as some sort of equally ridiculous liberal paranoia. This is a sad realty check. One can only hope that this may inspire some more responsible rhetoric.

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          Yeah, first thing I thought when I read his online postings was “schizophrenia.” The sad thing is, the hatemongering perpetuated by the talking heads isn’t going to stop, because that’s what makes them money. There will always be people out there who will listen to garbage and conspiracy theories, because lots of people don’t bother to think for themselves, but most are happy to sit on the sofa and yell at the TV. The danger lies in when someone with severe distress, emotional, or psychological problems takes it a step further.

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          I agree Riese.
          From what I can tell, this man is clearly delusional and expresses ideas of persecution as well as conspiracy.
          And that plus a weapon…..

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        The government is corrupt. It is obvious by the things the Tea party eschews. Yet the tea party is confused too! We tend to only see bits and pieces of the big picture. We have been marginalized and kept fragmented in our understanding of our society.
        Most of the people in our society are mentally ill in some form or another. Many in our society are sick from toxic chemicals in food and water. Hell birds are falling from the sky and they (the government) want to make that a non alarming event.

        When the WTC was attacked the good people who helped are suffering severe illnesses. What did politicians do? They dragged their feet until now. Even now they are not helping us survive the economic explosion the banks, housing, and stock-market industries helped create with the help of politicians allowing them freedoms to ransack our wealth at our expense by taking away the controls that keep them from making sneaky trades and using our funds to gain untold wealth. (Politicians and corporate exes walk away healthy, wealthy and much wiser than we).

        This young man is surely perturbed to say the least, but he has some justified issued that need attention from our society. My bet is that we will fret terribly over what he did, but forget about the things that caused him such grief and to snap.

        The things that cause him grief also causes great grief to us all in some way or another. You may not experience it or even see it, but believe me when I tell you it’s there.

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    This is tragic indeed. Such a beautiful and gentle woman. Why on earth would such a fine lady become a stinking politician?

    Politicians are all guilty of usurping the constitution and causing death and destruction here and around the world.
    It is sad that many cannot see the connections. We should all be saddened by this attack, but we should also be saddened that we are unable to turn our very corrupt government ship around.

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        It’s sad that politicians are responsible for millions of deaths in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Cuba, Haiti, Many South American countries, Mexico and Many African Nations. It is the politician who votes to allow our tax dollars to be used to activate wars and military, and our intelligence agencies to attack others and us too. Because we pay taxes we are guilty also. We are, for the most part unsuspecting of what is occurring in our names but politicians are held to a greater level of expectation and therefore are more at fault they are guilty by association.

        People are dying as we speak because of so-called “good people” who hold political positions in our country.

        You must ask yourself why do people become politicians. Is it to serve the public or is it to garner power and great wealth, because they usually receive the latter at the expense of the public.

        They get great medical care at our expense and deny us medical care, they get great wages that they can increase while cutting our wages, trying to chop down unions, and allowing big business to run off with our hard earned tax dollars. The issues are broad, so broad that it would take a pretty thick book to expose. The question is who would be wise enough to understand? Who is aware enough to sort through the unnecessary fluff and who is strong enough to accept the news without going completely mad?

        The easiest thing politicians do is smile in our faces and lie to us about many things. They know that we can’t see through their lies in most cases and they know that they (usually) cannot be held accountable for many of the things they vote to happen against us and people of the world.

        I am totally against violence, but I know that this society is driving many who were already half-crazy to total insanity. They will think their own corrupted thoughts and react in their own corrupted way. We are a society so disturbed we can’t see our own dilemma.

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          The reason they’re not held accountable is because of whiny people like you saying “Oh they’re so corrupt and horrible, there’s nothing I can do, politics is icky, government is wrong, I’m a vcitim”, etc. instead of getting pro-active and learning about politics *for real*. Most people get politically involved and run for office because they honestly want to make a difference, but it’s pressure from moderate constituents and multinational corporations that lead them to vote the way they do, not some unnatural lack of morals. Yes, some gov’t officials are corrupt, but studies show that Congress is actually far less corrupt than the media conveys: http://www.bakadesuyo.com/16606377

          You still sound like you’re blaming the woman’s career for her near-death, which is despicable. Again, what did she ever do to you?

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          You think I’m whining and you don’t know anything about what I do. If you can’t add something positive you are worthless. If you want to prop up a congress that shows its wrongness that’s on you. I’m done here.

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      Are you fucking kidding me! Do you even know Gabby? Because the Gabby that I know became a politician to make an active positive change in this world. The only person who caused death and destruction this morning was this guy Jared.

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    Tucson had been unreal today…tons of helicopters, sirens, & false reports. The area where the shooting happened is right down the street from my apartment and is extremely busy with tons of stores, coffee shops and restaurants. It’s hard because sooo many people frequent this area and they aren’t releasing all the names of the victims yet so right now everyone is trying to make sure loved ones are safe.

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        Yup I think it was the AP. But his name isn’t that important, I don’t particularly want another gunman to become famous.

        And Fox News is painting Congresswoman Giffords as one of the “more conservative” Democratic members of Congress. Prochoice, favors stem-cell research and same sex marriage? Yeah right, that sounds pretty conservative to me.

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    A lot of this has shocked me, but it’s particularly startling when the assailant is my age and resembles (interest-wise and appearance-wise) a lot of people that I know.

    I’m interested in knowing how influential he found Palin.

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    I wonder if any of these republicans will really realise that some people, particular those that seem mentally unstable as this man seems, may take their gun-ho words literally.

    Just, how awful. And so soon after all of the holidays and things.

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    This is such a traffic day for America. It’s really sad when the people that are trying to make this nation great are hurt. My heart and prayers goes out to their families.

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      To Katch: I hope it made you just as sick to see the WikiLeaks release of a military chopper cutting down some people in Afghanistan including a news reporter.
      That kind of murder has to first be condoned by politicians before the military can get the go ahead.
      It is why it is so important for politicians to keep us in the dark about such goings-on.

      We can’t connect the beautiful lady politician to the attack of innocent people in Iraq and Afghanistan etc. and many of us would not want to, but believe me when I say that if they are politicians and they are voting for military support and war on other nations, they are responsible for the death and sickness of the men, women, and children there.

      Don’t just stop there though. They are also responsible for the men, women, and children suffering in this country too, because our wealth is being stolen, our health is being compromised and our country is being ransacked by the rich-elite with the sure help of politicians on all sides of the aisles.
      I hope the beautiful lady recovers and leaves corrupt political life.

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        Yeah, you know, that nine-year-old girl that got shot alongside the pretty lady really had that shit coming. I mean, with the way kids are here these days, anyway, she surely couldn’t have been near as innocent and undeserving as a little girl in Iraq or Afghanistan. Surely.

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          The little girl, the rest of those killed, you and me. We are all victimized by this. It is not something that is to be condoned. It is something that is to be studied. Why, and what can we do to make our society better so that these things will never happen again.
          But alas you must know that it is difficult to make others understand what you are trying to say?

          I feel saddened for every human who is murdered or dies of starvation, or contamination, or any terrible and preventable tragedy. I don’t pick and choose who is better to die. No human should die!
          We should not act like the primitive animals we are. Hell we are an advanced species, but alas, we are mentally ill.

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          Sadly violence and murder will never vanish frm this world, much less from the human race. Aggression, greed, jealousy, genetic disposition, brain chemicals, upbringing, hierarchical structure, political reasons, traumata and thousand of other things will ensure that horrible things will never cease to happen.

          I’m all for research and preventional measures, but evidently being the most evolved and intelligent animal (as opposed to truly primitive ones) has only heightened our disposition for cruelty. We may dislike it, but complexity covers both the black and the white, as well as everything in between.

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          To Liev: You know I really enjoyed reading the words coming from what I can ascertain as a well tuned fine mind. Thanks for sharing that. I will copy it and use it someday if you don’t mind and I will leave your ID as the originator. Thanks again.

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          I don’t mind at all. I also wouldn’t mind if you’d ignore the spelling mistakes and substituted preventional with preventive. The English language is still a foreign one in many ways, and I wish I’d catch my mistakes before hitting the send button instead of retrospectively.

          To return the compliment, I find your opinions very interesting and thought-through. We may not agree on all accounts, and you surely have controversial opinions (of course the sensitivity towards the subject is especially high today, only hours after a tragic incident), but I can appreciate an eloquent statement, albeit it feels a bit wrong to discuss the matter whilst Mrs. Giffords is still very much on the brink of death.

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        not all politicians are corrupt. i don’t know giffords at all except for what i’ve read today, but you’re just generalizing. not all politicians support the war in iraq and even if they do it does not mean they deserve to be shot in the head.

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          To Emily: Not all politicians are corrupt, but the ones who don’t fall in line are weeded out some way. Congress is an animal to be studied closely especially when the Supreme court has given them the go-ahead on Lobbyist and Corporate money.

          The Politician’s position is similar to that of cops who are ostracized if they rat on another cop. Look at the bigger picture. It appears in our society in other ways. If a politician doesn’t vote the way that most more powerful do they usually find they can’t get anything done at all. Look at Obama. Even a man who is supposed to be “the most powerful man on the planet” can get very little done.(That being said I consider them puppet leaders and facades for more powerful men.)

          They are complicit in their activity. Some may have had good intentions going in but they wind up having to do what they are told and only given something if they do. Most politicians are aware of what they will be facing in Congress etc., They took the job for wealth and power.

          Of course it doesn’t mean anyone should be murdered. I don’t believe in the death penalty and I don’t believe in violence against humans in any form. Too bad it cannot be a fantasy world as some think it is. As some actually live it.

          There is no doubt that the beautiful madam politician favored some good things but she also favored some bad things. I still don’t like to see people abused in any way in any place.(The people you elect were not your actual choice they chose you) and [Our voting can be tampered with.]

          The things I say are sure to make some who don’t understand a world view angry. It makes me sad to see so many who don’t see the rest of the picture when they visit a tragedy. I don’t get angry enough to feel like inflicting violence nor do I get angry enough to wish others no good. To that I wish you health, wealth and good luck.

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          Dina if you have to ask what the bad things are it points to your not paying attention and/or you agree with everything a “centrist democrat” is capable of doing or has done.
          As a person she is an angel, but as a politician she becomes something that can make life better in some ways for some people and cause death and destruction for others.

          That being said. I am totally against violence and offer my condolences to all family and loved ones of the victims of this heinous crime.

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          “Dina if you have to ask what the bad things are it points to your not paying attention and/or you agree with everything a “centrist democrat” is capable of doing or has done.”

          i thought it pointed to dina reading your comment and wanting to learn more about what you were saying. you talk of the importance of a world view and seeing the whole picture but if you can’t even help one person who, i believe, was asking for more information then all your talk and knowledge is useless.

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          AUSTIN, Texas – Former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, once considered among the nation’s most powerful and feared lawmakers, was sentenced to three years in prison Monday for a scheme to influence elections that already cost him his job, leadership post and millions of dollars in legal fees.

          This is a part of what I’ve been trying to convey. All there is are people who don’t want to accept the core message. Instead their minds are keyed to the moment and when they read things that they cannot comprehend or research to find the truth they just get angry or upset at the messenger instead. For people like this there is nothing I can say. Maybe if someone else confirms what I’m trying to convey they then might ease up and learn the truth of the political atmosphere and how it harms us all severely. WizardG

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        It’s not only the loss of life that is sickening in this story – it is the fact that someone felt desperate enough to go and make an attack on the US government.

        Whether this is speaking to the horridness of the government in power, the people railing against the government or the mental illnesses of the shooter (or, hell, all three) is a matter of opinion, I guess.

        But I think it’s fair to say that nearly everyone here mourns all deaths with the same strength.

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    look, ‘wizardg’ i’m really not going to take much time to dignify your comment with a long-winded response because i find it so reprehensible. but, i’m pissed. the implication of your argument is that being a public official makes you complacent in the world’s evils–that in some way this tragedy is a matter of desert. first and foremost, we live in a democratic society so the ‘beautiful lady’ in office was voted in by all of us. by extension, we all ‘have it coming,’ and getting shot point-blank range in the head is somehow justifiable.

    a nine-year old girl was killed today. she will never get to live as you have. five more people died and others injured. so don’t try to sit on some high-horse talking about starvation and under-covered problems in this world because lord knows there are many. every murder is a tragedy, so do no belittle what happened today as a symptom of a “mentally ill” society. the man who did this was mentally ill–and you should be ashamed of what you’re saying.

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      To Katch: It is understandable that you don’t understand what I’m saying. I get it all of the time. I see it all of the time.
      It is one the reasons we are in this mess. So many with a small world view.
      You take one little girl and make issue. I take the whole world and make issue.
      I am not ashamed to be mourning for the world. You are not ashamed because, “Forgive them for they know not what they do”.

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        No one is prioritizing tragedies. Loss is tragic, no matter the country it happens in or the events leading up to it.
        But no, you can’t possibly blame it on politics.

        The very word “Politics” is derived from the “city, the people”. It’s about people coming together to build something. There is nothing corrupt or grim about it.

        What’s problematic here is the heinous rethoric and the calls for violence. It’s certainly not about Politics. Public Service is beautiful, romantic and admirable, and I commend Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords for wanting to represent her constituents and perpetuate democracy.

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          It just goes to show you. I learned what I know by reading from great educated people. I’m retired and I study constantly. I watch special documentaries and I’m lucky enough to have a very advanced, deductive and logical mind. (not everyone shares the same tools in life).[ignorance, truly is, bliss] The things I convey aren’t just my ramblings they are what I have gathered from famous great men and women of yesterday and today.
          Yet still. I can write long passionate messages concerning the connections between our tragedies and the tragedies all over the world. The connections between how it occurs and who should be held responsible,(I can recommend books), but if a mind is closed to a certain aspect of what I say it shuts out practically everything and adds it’s own version of what it thought I was trying to convey.

          You surely need to study the real political structure if you think the way you do about it. You haven’t been properly affected by it enough, and in a way to learn the truth I gather.
          Good luck to you.

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        >>It is understandable that you don’t understand what I’m saying. I get it all of the time. I see it all of the time.>>

        Just a thought – if you find that people rarely understand what you are saying, perhaps the fault does not lie with the reader but the way that you are communicating your message.

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          Dina when I say I get it and see it all the time. I mean it’s from people who are unaware of the things that are happening around them in the country and in the world.

          The people who are studying and paying attention to how the country is being controlled, the wars etc., and the way society is acting have no problem with what I say.

          The people who don’t have a clue are the ones who get angry, vile, and violent. They are the ones quick to condemn a whole nation for the problems created by a few.

          So there you have it. If you understand what I’m trying to convey then you are not one of those who need to become more aware and study the world closer and more accurately.

          It is an ongoing constant. If you know who Howard Zinn, Amy Goodman, Noam Chomsky,and maybe even Randall Robinson are, then maybe you understand.
          If you don’t know any of them and you aren’t doing the research, I understand. I’ve spoken to young people who didn’t bother to watch a Michael Moore documentary. They are some of the ones who puzzle and sadden me.

          Now I may not have gotten enough in this to clear your mind but it isn’t for lack of trying.

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          Ah Wizard G.

          Perhaps there is confusion between not understanding, and disagreement.

          It’s not that I don’t understand what you are saying. It’s simply that I don’t agree. More importantly in a post regarding an act of tragic violence I don’t believe this is the proper forum for a discussion about the evils of politicians.

          To be clear, I have no interest in shutting down your truth or your 1st amendment rights. Today a U.S. congresswoman barely survived an assassination attempt, two others were killed, and as a country we need to have a frank discussion about the vitriol flying about.

          And to make a last point, while I admire the detail to which you discuss the nature of politics, I feel your posts fall short with one vital gap.

          A solution.

          It is easy to bemoan the loss of life, the war, the senselessness, and the corruption. A far, far more difficult task is the arduous, and sometimes thankless task of hammering solutions. Solutions to problems that are not easy, simple, nor come with an FAQ on how to solve.

          Solutions require compassion, courage, resolve and most importantly action. Ms. Gifford took action to make her the world a better place than she found it.

          That is how solutions are made.

          My prayers are with Ms. Gifford, her family, and the victims’ families.

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          Thanks LND. I guess it doesn’t seem like the right time to discuss linking factors to this tragedy. There are many who can only focus on one tragedy at a time while many tragedies are going on by the hour.

          Politicians are supposed to be the solution, but more than usual they are the problem. They are good liars and make great promises but in the long run they do more harm than good.
          It only takes a bit of thorough research to find that out.

          There are many brilliant people who offer solutions but are kept out of the limelight. The masses never know who these people are, or what they have to say because our government, and our corporate media in tandem chooses to keep them quieted or unknown. Our politicians don’t even mention their names even though these great men and women have written many books and/or teach at great American Universities.
          There are solutions but it would mean stripping politicians of their ability to make profit from corporations and the lobbyists they send out to approach the politicians. The corporate elite have a strong hand on our government and our constitution is held captive.

          This is why some are going nuts. They cannot take more of the same lies we have be battered and abused with. We sit back and allow our politicians to ok torture and when something terrible happens many are shocked and want to cry. They don’t understand what is really going on in the country that makes things so terrible. They don’t understand that all politicians have a hand in the way we are doing evil to other countries and how we allow ourselves to be mistreated with the help of politicians.

          Some people can cry because of this tragedy, but they may as well cry and send condolences all of the time, but not to just the people in America because our family is much bigger than that! When it comes to world peace and the good of mankind all issues are appropriate because it is all linked.

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    He may be mentally ill but some responsibility has to lie with those stoking people’s fears. It can’t be a coincidence that she was targeted given all his grievances against the Federal government at large.

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    I would speak about the horror of this atrocity, but I feel I can do it no more justice than the others who have already written about it, and so I will not.

    Also. Maybe someone has already noted this, but for someone who supposedly (according to his YouTube profile) studied grammar, his grammar is horrendous!

    “…this message wouldn’t have happen.”

    WHERE is the ed after “happen”?! Probably I’m just incredibly shallow, but even in the midst of all this- that really does bother me.

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      Not gonna lie, that was the first thing I noticed looking at his youtube page.

      Agreed with your first statement as well, it’s hard to do such a emotionally charged controversy justice with the limitations that words give us.

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      The first thing I noticed/found strange about his YouTube page was the way he referred to everything in past tense. I had favorite books, I attended schools, my favorite interest was reading…etc.

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        Yes, that caught my eye too. Usually you see those past tense references in people who intend to commit suicide very soon. Whatever is/was going on inside this kid’s head, it must be pretty sucky.

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    I’m just going to say it. Fuck Arizona. Fuck that whole fucking state. Fuck the fucking legal racial profiling. Fuck bans on fucking ethnic studies. Fuck Bristol Palin’s ugly-ass future fucking house. Fuck the hot as fuck weather. Fuck John McCain. Fuck fuckers my age who are incited to political fucking violence. FUCK. (Of course, if you’re an Arizonan autostraddler, I still love you.)

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    So here in Tucson the local news just reported that Jared had recently been suspended from Pima Community College for code of conduct violations & he was informed that he could not return to the college until he resolved his violations & obtained a mental health clearance indicating in the opinion of a mental health professional that his presence at the college does not present a danger to himself or a danger to others. He did not attempt to do this and ended up voluntarily withdrawing.

    Also Christina Taylor Green’s father called in and among other things said “she was born on nine eleven and so she came in on a tragedy and now she’s gone out on a tragedy but the nine years in between were very special”

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    I don’t believe the killer was a member of the tea party. I believe he had his own bunch of built up anger issues. On his site he was burning the flag. There is too much confusion in our population to tell what the most anger driven issues were for him.

    I’m saddened by the incident but I’m still reeling from the memory that a ‘republican’(politician) refused to send the promised relief to Haiti where more than 280,000 have died and now cholera, and Bill Clinton (politician) is over there pretending to care. If you only knew.

    When an incident like this occurs It brings up a lot of painful connected issues that I can see, but many cannot or will not ever see. There is always more to something than meets the eye. Especially when the eyes are closed.

    You fret for this tragedy when it is only the tip of the iceberg and some can’t connect the dots.

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      It’s clear from the killer’s own words that he doesn’t align with any particular political party’s beliefs, Tea Party or not, since he seems to think that the government of the US is some crazy brainwashing mechanism (from what I could garner from his rants). However, something about the violent way that the Tea Party advertised their anti-liberal sentiments seems to have struck a chord with him, which is why Palin and Giffords’ previous opponent are getting so much flak. Really, using crosshairs and firing of guns to signify “taking back” the district is tasteless and completely uncalled for, and when big political people are using such violent imagery it’s not a far stretch for a mind like his to conclude that real physical violence to achieve the desired political is somehow normal or an okay thing to do.

      However, I find your comments in this situation also rather tasteless. An incident like this is supposed to make us ask “Why have we come to a place where a guy comes around to a political public event and shoots a bunch of people?” This is a real problem also and one that has been brought to light today. People are eager to point fingers but it’s also an opportunity to really think about what society has come to.

      During the course of the past few hours you’ve been distracting from the issue at hand by saying something to the tune of “oh but all politicians are corrupt.” Why, by golly, some are. Other times they fuck up the country in ways we don’t like. This is not a huge fucking surprise. Politicians do stuff that people don’t like and don’t agree with, and as a democratic society our job as citizens is to make sure that they know that we don’t agree and that we’re not going to vote for them next time. Sadly, they cannot appease everybody and in many cases their beliefs simply don’t align with ours so they will appease the voters that ask them to do what they wanted to do in the first place. This is called being a flawed human being in a flawed system that is the best we’ve got. If you’ve got a better solution, then excuse me as I scream “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN HIDING IT ALL THIS TIME?!” Because lots of political philosophers have been at work on this problem for centuries and centuries and so far all those minds still haven’t come up with a really fucking good solution.

      Why are you bringing this up now, if not to imply that somehow she got what she deserved? I’m not saying that you’re entirely wrong (although I don’t entirely agree with you either), I’m saying that to bring this up in this kind of circumstance is extremely insensitive and a discussion for another place and another time. Haiti’s current state, for instance, was on the front page headlines of the Huffington Post in the past couple of days and you could’ve had a nice rant and rail there about how that attention hog Clinton has been chairing that committee for fucking forever and is still sitting on his ass doing nothing. (I agree, by the way, but that’s a different issue.) Don’t get me wrong, I understand that these are also important conversations to be having. But for the love of fresh hummus and barbeque, couldn’t you do this in another thread that is NOT about a woman at her job getting a giant fucking hole shot in her brain, and maybe in a RELEVANT thread so that you won’t come across as completely tactless as you do now.

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        I might as well give up! The butter heads are caught in the moment. Don’t worry it will pass. Hell you still don’t even realize what politicians did in the 911 tragedy.

        It’s like talking to a bunch of trees before they are chopped down. I am a messenger I have said this before but our government kills the messengers who can reach the most people effectively. You have no idea. No I’m not the most effective messenger, Martin Luther King was one of those. The rest are told to tone it down. Oh well it doesn’t really get through to you. That’s too bad. Sorry. I’m done here.

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          I am in no way saying that “it will pass” or if I close my eyes and wish hard enough it will all go away. Yes there are many many problems and I’m sure most everyone is well aware of them. What have you done this entire time except tell everyone that this place is fucked up? You don’t think I get that message every time I open up a newspaper or read a news website?

          Also to clarify in my previous post, last paragraph I meant that I agree with Wizard G’s feeling that the world is going to hell in a handbasket, not that Giffords got it coming because she’s a politician.

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          You might get further WizardG if you drop the patronising tone. Every government is corrupt? No shit Sherlock. It’s run by and for humans.

          My condolences to the families of the victims.

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    My family and I were in the living room talking when we heard about a possible shooting on the radio at about 10:25. The guy on the radio sounded so shaken up so I looked it up and only npr had anything about what happened. So for the next 7 hours we were watching the local news. It was odd to see the news anchors without loads of makeup but that’s how serious this was. They didn’t have time to care about their looks, they were there to report on this horrible thing that happened. It’s crazy how it was just a normal Saturday morning and then chaos broke out. Here in Tucson we want our name to be known but not known as a town that had such a tragedy happen in it.

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    “I just tried to buy a gun online via Sportsman’s Warehouse, where Jared Loughner bought his gun, and it would appear there is no screening process? I got to the part where I had to submit a credit card but it seems like they were good to go after I said I was 18. IDK.”

    You absolutely would not be able to legally just order a gun online and have it mailed to your house. You have to have the gun transfered to a local, licensed dealer. Both you and the dealer are subject to numerous state and federal laws, and there is a morass of paperwork, fees, etc. involved. So those restrictions you think should be in place? They are already there. And they did absolutely nothing to keep anybody safe yesterday.

    I’m sure people like Loughner would really give a shit about any kind of restriction, and would totally follow the letter of the law, instead of just sidestepping it to carry out their craziness.

    Let’s immediately explode this falsity that restrictions on gun ownership make people safer. Those kinds of laws restrict law abiding people’s access to guns, not criminal’s. They do not prevent crime. They simply make it harder for law abiding people to defend themselves.

    I wish more people carried guns, and did so openly. In fact, I wish most of the people in the crowd in AZ were carrying, and I wish they stopped this douchebag before he murdered a child and numerous other people.

    Gabrielle Giffords is a gun owner, and gives some information about her views on guns on her website:

    “Guns

    * Congresswoman Giffords signed Amicus Briefs submitted to the Supreme Court in support of rights granted under the Constitution’s Second Amendment regarding the DC and City of Chicago gun bans.
    * Congresswoman Giffords is a cosponsor of the Veterans Heritage Firearms Act which allows a 90-day amnesty period during which veterans and their family members can register in the National Firearms Registration and Transfer Record any firearm acquired before October 31, 1968.
    * She was a cosponsor of the Second Amendment Enforcement Act in the 110th Congress. It would restore Second Amendment rights in the District of Columbia by correcting DC’s law in order to restore the fundamental rights of its citizens under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution and thereby enhance public safety.
    * Congresswoman Giffords spearheaded a letter to Southwest Regional Chief of U.S. Forest Service Gail Kimball on May 12, 2008 expressing concern of decreasing opportunity for recreational shooting on National Forest Service land. It was signed by Congressman Trent Franks and Harry Mitchell.”

    Here’s the link:

    http://giffords.house.gov/legis/bipartisanship.shtml

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      but they’d already asked for my shipping address and charged me the requisite amount for shipping and wouldn’t let me use an address out of arizona b/c of gun laws in other states or something. i mean i’m sure you’re right, it just seemed strange.

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        i don’t know about the laws with getting a gun through the mail or across state lines, but if i’m correct i think you were trying to point out that it is quite simple to get a gun in arizona?? and as a gun owner and resident of arizona i can tell you that this is very true. also you used to have to take a class and get a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon but as of a few months ago that permit is no longer needed.

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          “i don’t know about the laws with getting a gun through the mail or across state lines, but if i’m correct i think you were trying to point out that it is quite simple to get a gun in arizona?? and as a gun owner and resident of arizona i can tell you that this is very true.”

          As it should be.

          “also you used to have to take a class and get a concealed weapons permit to carry a concealed weapon but as of a few months ago that permit is no longer needed.”

          That’s great news. In my state, they are still making people fill out pages of paperwork with questions like, “Are you/have you ever been mentally retarded?” and “Are you a fugitive from justice?” I’m sure this is demonstrably effective in preventing violent crime. I bet every criminal dutifully goes in and answers questions about whether or not they are retarded. No class is needed in Vermont or Alaska either.

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          “…..are you kidding me?”

          No. See my other comments.

          “Gun laws in the US are ridiculous.”

          I agree completely.

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        Yes, you would have been prevented from purchasing the gun if you lived outside of AZ. Even if you lived in AZ, you would still have to have the gun transferred to a dealer. It may seem strange to you, but to me it seems strange to put people through a hoop jumping routine when criminals can just get guns with ease.

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      And by the way, I’m sorry if my tone is too heavy handed here. This is something that drives me absolutely bonkers, and I can’t think of a softer way to say it. Not meaning to be a bitch.

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    But correct me if im wrong but I thought you could literally walk into a gun shop, fill out a form and get a gun a week later? I mean surely that cant be right, an actual gun, just because you fill out a form??? Im baffled by guns in the US, you’re much more likely to shoot a member of your family if you have one, why would anyone want one, insanity!! Actual guns…..for sale to members of the public in shops….and bullets apparently for sale in Wallmart, what in the fuck…maybe im just confused because we’re not even allowed pepper spray here but I just dont get Americas obsession with being armed! Why should it be easy to get a gun exactly, why should it be easy to get this horrendous implement that can kill someone so easily, cant people do without them, we do without them just fine, as do most of the world!!

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        Ireland, not even the police here have guns and I feel grand and safe! I can understand people in places like South Africa or some such having guns because it is a really dangerous place, but not the US, it’s bizarre!

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      Well, I think you’re correct about that – I think you truly don’t understand. If you’d like to learn more about why people own guns, I’d be happy to explain. If not, that’s fine too.

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        Please do since I can’t see the logic in people carrying a gun to make them feel safer and since it seems to be a sensitive issue it’s hard to get a discussion about it without caps lock being used (on both sides of the debate).
        I think it’s just one (of many) cultural differences between the US and Western Europe (I’m English). Even 82% of police officers do not want to be routinely armed. There’s a shit-tonne worth of hoops people have to go through to get a firearm and ammo in Britain, including references, a having a good reason to own one and approval of their family doctor. This certificate needs to be re-applied for every five years. I think this is the right way to go about it. It’s not perfect, a few nut jobs get through, but I think it’s better than every nut job having one.

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          Sure, I will make a reply. I just got home from work and my brain is melting, though, so you may have to be a bit patient.

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          People own guns for many different reasons, but for a lot of people, the reasons can be organized into two broad groups: (1) personal reasons and (2) societal reasons.

          I don’t speak for all gun owners, but I’ll give a little bit of my point of view here, and I’ll mention that my views aren’t uncommon.

          (1) The right to self-defense as the most important human right that there is. Freedom of speech, freedom to assemble, freedom to practice your religion . . . if you can’t defend yourself mentally, emotionally, and yes, physically, those things don’t matter. People who attempt to restrict access to the tools others may need to defend themselves are making a direct attack on the rights of others.

          Would you murder someone? If I placed a gun in front of you, would your answer to that question change? If your answer to the first question was no, and it didn’t change, congratulations, you are a sane person, and the rest of us will likely not have to defend ourselves against you. If your answer was yes, or if it was no but it changed, you’re insane, and the rest of us have every right to possess guns in order to defend ourselves against you, and taking away our ability to do so by restricting our access to guns would be wildly unsafe.

          Psychotic people get a hold of guns, no matter how strict the laws are. They even do so where you live. I’m sure I don’t have to cite the examples. It makes no sense to use these nutjobs as an excuse to restrict law-abiding people’s access to guns. Millions of people in this country safely and responsibly possess guns for personal safety or hunting purposes. Taking their right to access defensive tools away from them is unsafe, as it leaves them vulnerable.

          I live in a small town. A newspaper article came out a few years ago in which the reporter made an inquiry into the number of people who carry a concealed weapon. If the article is accurate, there are about 900 people in my town that go about their daily business carrying a concealed gun. Imagine yourself in a place where many people were armed, and where there was practically no violent crime. In doing this, you would have to confront your assumption that guns equal violence, that they are inherently negative, and that people who own guns must be doing so for some nefarious purpose. What if these people truly are just carrying for safety purposes? What if they were just doing what they thought was best in terms of protecting themselves and their loved ones? Does it make sense to take away their ability to do so? Bear in mind, criminals don’t give a fuck what the gun laws are.

          The crime rate here is incredibly low. The police log is published in a local paper, and it says stuff like “Cat stuck in tree. Officer assisted.” Imagine living here for a long time. Your neighbors, the plumber, the woman at the pizza place, the guy who delivers the paper . . . these people have guns. This disturbs you at first, but over the years you see that these people aren’t violent, and you’re not afraid. What could possibly be going on here?

          Your personal safety is YOUR responsibility first and foremost. Not the police’s, not the military’s, not the government’s, not anybody else’s but yours. Possessing a gun is a physical manifestation of this. Preventing other people from living this out is a restriction on their rights, and gun control is the manifestation of this.

          So now I’ve just introduced you to the idea that possessing guns, for most of the millions of gun owners in the US, is about safety, and not about crazed hysteria. And the safest assumption a society can make is that its individual members are competent to make the important decisions in their lives, such as what safety measures they would like to take in terms of self-defense. An unsafe and irresponsible assumption is that individuals are incompetent, and these decisions are best left in the hands of the state. That is called a police state, so let’s move on to the societal reasons that people own guns.

          (2) A society where individuals are making the decision about how to defend themselves as being MUCH safer than a society where only the police and/or military own guns, and they make all the decisions about who is to be defended, and where, when, how, and if this will take place.

          I wouldn’t want to live in a society where the general assumption is that the average person is incompetent to make important decisions about things like how they will defend themselves, and that those decisions are much better left to the police, the military, and the government. I would rather live somewhere where the general assumption is that individuals are competent, and that important decisions are left up to them.

          I was in Northern Ireland in 1997. Obviously there is total gun control there. Lawful citizens were forbidden to own guns. Criminals and the military element could have guns, though, of course. It was horrifying. Soldiers with guns standing on residential street corners, etc. The society was totally militarized, and this was considered normal. I’m sure it was done under the guise of “public safety.” What if those soldiers weren’t there, and the woman living in the house with her kids was heavily armed, and SHE made the decision about what kind of security measures were taken in her life? OH NO, WE CAN’T DO THAT, SHE MIGHT BE INSANE!! You know what, yeah, she might be. But are you willing to hand your right to defend yourself over to somebody else, just because she might be insane? The government will be happy to take that right from you.

          People in your country do have guns. If they side with the government, namely in the form of joining the military, they can have guns. If they don’t, they can’t. Do you agree with this?

          I would not want to live in any society where only the police and military have guns. Civilian disarmament has been a precursor to practically every genocide in the 20th century. Jews in Germany were first required to register their guns and ammo, and then there right to possess such things was phased out altogether. Why? Because subjugating an armed population is simply too difficult. Gun control laws were passed in Uganda prior to Idi Amin’s reign of terror. In the US, slaves were not allowed to own guns.

          I have lived in the US and Europe, and I have to say that I did not notice any significant difference in the level of violence between the two places. I know there is a steady stream of media saying that the US is a horrifically violent place, but I have to tell you, my experience is that it’s exactly the same as Europe. The society here is fairly stable (for better or for worse – I don’t think some aspects of our society are worth stabilizing), which means that things like political violence are fairly uncommon, and we aren’t living in a situation where there are civil wars, riots stemming from food shortages, etc. In terms of gun violence specifically, most of it takes place in areas of our country where there are the strictest gun control laws.

          So your feeling of safety in living in a society with strict gun control? I question it. I sure as hell wouldn’t want it. Is it safety at all? Are people living in North Korea safe? They can’t own guns unless they are on the side of the government. When the police and military put down their guns, then maybe civilian gun owners would too, but we don’t live in that world. We don’t live in a world where there are no crazy people, and where nobody does bad things. So rather than hide our heads in the sand, we own guns for safety reasons.

          After this tragedy in Arizona, there will likely be more gun control laws passed. If these actually do what they purport to do, and it actually happens that more shootings like this don’t take place anymore, come back to this comment and tell me I’m wrong. If the number of shootings even dips at all, tell me I’m wrong.

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          Oh, and sorry about all my grammar errors, needless repetition, syntax mistakes, and such. I reread what I typed, but evidently not well enough.

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          To Diver: My take on our right to bear arms has to do with protecting ourselves against a government gone rogue. A government so bad that everyone would be fighting each other to end government tyranny.

          The right to bear arms has nothing to do with hunting and target shooting or personal protection. It has to do with the common citizens rising up against such an evil government that there were no other alternatives. It would also be used for citizens to fight a foreign assault on U.S. soil.

          On that level it makes a lot of sense to have automatic and heavy weaponry. If the government ever reversed our right to bear arms it would be so that it could completely overwhelm us and make us more slaves than we already seem to be.

          The first step a rogue government would take would be to make us give up our weapons. When you see that happening you can prepare for the worse.

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          Thanks for getting back to me with such a thorough response, greatly appreciated. This is only loosely in the same order as your comment so it may be a bit jumbled. A lot of this comment contains more questions, I’m not expecting you to reply to them but I thought I’d ask them anyway so you might be able to follow my thought process on this issue.

          (1) Millions of Americans may go about their daily lives safely while armed, but it has some of the highest gun violence rates in the Western world. If the availability of guns or the cheap bullets isn’t to blame, what is the cause of this discrepancy?

          If I lived in a small town and 900 people went around with concealed guns I’d be terrified. Guns do equal violence since the sole purpose of thing is to kill, be it human or animal. That makes them inherently negative in my eyes.

          My personal safety may be primarily my responsibility but the police come in a damn close second. The rate of taxes the British pay means we tend to have higher expectations of our government. Take a look at the recent student protests in England for proof. US citizens pay relatively lower taxes and so expectations of the government seem to be similarly low. (Btw this isn’t a criticism, merely an observation. If you think it’s incorrect please let me know). Owning a gun is a physical manifestation of personal safety but I prefer, and think it is safer, holding officials up to a higher standard if I don’t think they are doing all they can when it comes to tackling crime, instead of relying on myself for that level of safety and owning a gun.

          Every time there is a mass shooting in the States, sales of guns go up because people are scared of government action. Living in fear of your government is pretty crazed, no?

          (2) I disagree with the statement that a society where practically anyone could get hold of a gun is safer than one where the police, military and a few rural types (who all get regular checks) can get one. Being a cynic I think most people are completely inept. I wouldn’t trust most civilians with a gun.

          Northern Ireland during the Troubles did resemble down town Baghdad on a bad day. However if guns were more easily available than they were, there would have been another civil war. You really think it would have been safer with the army (even if it was the British Army) gone and instead every Tom, Dick and Harry packing?

          I’m not that worried that one day my government will carry out genocide (off point but I’m more worried about corporate influence/ corruption and the British versions of your Patriot Act when it comes to governments getting too big for their boots) Would you recognise a tyrannical government anyway? Bush is a war criminal and he wasn’t even impeached. Could you really fight against tanks, drones, manned aircraft and nukes with some pistols, shotguns and fertiliser?

          The US has a higher homicide rate than western Europe. Specifically within the US most of the states that have the strictest gun control also has the most urbanised population. For example New York state. Is it fair to compare Small Town, USA with NYC? That said it may not be fair to compare the USA with Western Europe but something does seem wrong with the stats.

          I feel perfectly safe living in a country with some of the toughest gun laws in the world. I’m aware of the fact that ‘bad things happen’, but when they do it generally isn’t with a gun. I’m more likely to live if I’ve been stabbed than shot. I don’t have my head in the sand, it is the lesser of two evils.

          Would you alter US gun laws at all? Either state or federal level? Shall we agree to disagree? Thanks again for taking the time to respond.

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          “Owning a gun is a physical manifestation of personal safety but I prefer, and think it is safer, holding officials up to a higher standard if I don’t think they are doing all they can when it comes to tackling crime, instead of relying on myself for that level of safety and owning a gun.”

          This is our difference. I absolutely would never want to rely on authority (or anybody else, for that matter) for such an important aspect of my life as safety.

          The rest is laid over top of this one point.

          “Being a cynic I think most people are completely inept. I wouldn’t trust most civilians with a gun.”

          Would you trust yourself with a gun? For me, if I couldn’t trust myself with a gun . . . if I couldn’t trust myself in important or intense kinds of circumstances, or one in which a potentially life-saving, but also potentially deadly object was present . . . how on earth would I trust myself at all? How would I live my life?

          If I walked around assuming that everyone else was incapable of handling such an important responsibility, that leaving that responsibility in their hands was insane and dangerous, and that they needed to be “taken care of” by the police and military, how could I have any sincere belief in civil rights or personal freedom?

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          Guns are a part of this “American” society and will never be taken away. The Gun corporations, lobbyists, right wing zealots and most everyone else will not stand for it.

          We live in a very violent and vicious society and it seems to be elevating to a boiling point. So if you know like I know, you’d better pack your piece at least cause….The White Man’s got a God complex!

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          One last thing: I agree with you about people getting nutty and switching into caps lock mode, so I appreciate your civility.

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    thanks for doing such awesome coverage of this issue, autostraddle. my thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. i just can’t even believe that this has happened. it’s dizzying to think about.

    i sincerely hope that loughner gets some sort of mental help and not the electric chair.

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    I am so upset with that lunatic who shot those people. I wish I were there. If were there I would have taken him out so that he would not live to see another day! How dare he shoot people at random after shooting the congresswoman in the head? They should skip prosecution of this turd and just hang him, shoot him in a firing squad, hang him again, electrocute him, shoot him again, toss him into a wood chipper, and feed his meat to sharks!
    My condolences to the families and friends of the people who have suffered losses and may “God” bless their souls.

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      So much for giving up here, huh.

      Your snideness is sadly amusing. No one here is calling for more violence in the face of this act, and mocking people by posting that is classless.

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    I thought about this early on and I waited, and waited to hear anything. Yet nothing has been said about the kind of protections afforded lower-level politicians and Judges.

    I wondered once before, what kind of protections they had so I “Googled” the information. The only thing I found is that the president and his immediate cabinet and family are afforded great reserves of Secret Service and Military protections, but most other politicians get very little constant protection if any at all. They are rarely given Secret Service protection.
    It appears that they are barely given local protections. If our politicians and Judges etc. where given Secret Service, military, and local protections this tragedy may not have occurred.
    Yet there has been very little media attention given to the security aspect of this tragedy. As I continue to hear more about this tragedy I continue to wonder why there has been no mention of police protections, and where were the local police? What does this aspect of this terrible tragedy mean?

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