The early news on the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is confused but as I write this they said that she is alive and out of surgery, having been shot through her head. She is reported to be following commands.
Eighteen people in all were shot with an automatic weapon, a number of them have died including a young child and a federal judge.
The news keeps talking about this mass murder as being a tragedy, it's not a tragedy, it's a crime. While it's not clear what the motive was, Congresswoman Giffords was targeted by Sarah Palin, a map of congressional districts with a distinctive cross hairs pattern was posted during the election campaign by Palin's website in the style that has inspired the assassination of people providing health care to women. Sarah Palin and her people couldn't have missed that people were killed after they were similarly marked for killing. I've read that it has been taken down since the shooting, indeed, several websites I found talking about "targeting" Congresswoman Giffords seem to have been rather hastily removed. Gun nuts held shooting events "targeting" her during the election campaign. There is every reason to suspect that the shooter was inspired by these and, I am certain, other veiled talk which encouraged armed people to "target" her.
The Republican right has been using explicitly violent language for more than a year, encouraging people with guns to insert themselves into politics, in the case of Sharon Angle, explicitly advocating the use of guns when politics doesn't produce the results they want. There is nothing ambiguous about it, this is the open advocacy for assassination. This isn't a tragedy, there is nothing mysterious or unintentional about it. This will not be the last. Sarah Palin was the Republican Vice Presidential candidate, Sharon Angle was a Republican candidate for the Senate, many, official Republican candidates clearly advocated the use of guns in politics during the campaign. The killing has started, the time to let them off the hook for the results of their policy just ended, people are already dying.
This is a result of Republican rhetoric by mainstream, official, Republican politicians and officials. It has been advocated by their talk shows on the radio and Cable, it is directly linked to them. It necessary for our protection and the survival of democracy that they not be allowed to wriggle out of it now. It wasn't an act of the gods that did this, it was an intentional act advocated by the Republican Party.