“You gotta realize there’s consequences to that action”

That’s Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, speaking on MSNBC on March 25 in response to Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs” campaign. Giffords was shot in the head today at an event in Tuscon. 18 were injured; 6 were killed.

Arizonan John McCain defended the gun rhetoric:

I have seen the rhetoric of ‘targeted districts’ as long as I’ve been in politics. … To say that there’s a targeted district or that we ‘reload’ or ‘got back into the fight again.’ Please. … Those are fine. They’re used all the time.”

Only two of the congressmen targeted by Palin went on to re-election in November. One was Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Of course, elections aren’t the only means of getting rid of elected officials…

If this Congress keeps going the way it is, people are really looking toward those Second Amendment remedies.
– 2010 Nevada Senate candidate Sharron Angle

There are hundreds of examples of this type of rhetoric and imagery from the right over the last couple of years. They’ve also used similar language concerning members of the federal judiciary. (Federal Judge John Roll was killed in today’s shooting Tuscon, though his appearance at the event seemed to have been unplanned.) See Senator John Cornyn’s April 2005 comments.

It’s all sickening.

I’m glued to MSNBC’s continuing coverage. (I’m glad I’ve got my free DirecTV right now. It’s times like this that I most appreciate access to a live television service).

Gabrielle Giffords is considered a Blue Dog Democrat, but she’s also in one of the most Republican districts that a Democrat has managed to hold. She was one of three congressional candidates that Keith Olbermann donated to (and was subsequently suspended for doing so) last cycle, and that’s good enough for me. Yes, it would be tragic if any member of congress were assaulted. But Giffords is a highly-respected member of my party, so it hits me harder than it might otherwise. The accused shooter may not have been influenced by the harsh vitriol from right-wing media. However, this horrific events shines a gigantic spotlight on the political divisions within our country and that one side has been behaving in a far more irresponsible manner than the other. I can only hope this is turning point in how political discourse proceeds in this country.

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