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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Gabrielle Giffords Tries Democracy and Gets Shot!

People hold a vigil in Arizona for the victims

This afternoon a story hit me so hard I felt like I was punched in the stomach. The amazing thing about this story is the news media was so awful in telling it. By now with the advent of Twitter and the mini attention spans of most people this is no longer new news. However, earlier this afternoon nothing was clear about this story. Following it on Twitter with my friend's updates I couldn't believe all of the discrepancies.

If you were unaware of the news here it is. Gabrielle Giffords, a Blue Dog Democratic Congresswoman from Tucson, Arizona decided to hold a meet and greet for her constituents in front of a local grocery store. A few years ago my own Congresswoman did the same thing at several places in her district. it was an informal thing with the Congresswoman available to answer our questions. Everyone got a chance for some one on one time with her. I didn't see the event for Ms. Giffords, but I imagine it was similar. Here is where the two events part company. At Ms. Giffords' event a crazed shooter decided to shoot her and also he fired at and killed a federal judge and turned his gun on the crowd shooting and killing a nine year old and many more people including several people over seventy.

When I heard the news that an innocent nine year old who had surely accompanied her parent to see democracy in action, had been killed, I lost it. I cried for the fact that this happened in my country! I felt like an intruder had come into my home and attacked me and my family. This shouldn't happen in America. I thought of those other countries where I had heard of political assassinations like Iraq, Afghanistan and India. My country wasn't like that at all. We practiced democracy where you could meet your Congressperson and convey your concerns. Yet here was the possibility that one of our Congresswomen might have been killed in a senseless shooting. I continued crying as I realized my dream had dissolved in a spray of bullets.

The news on the radio and TV was conflicting with some news people saying the Congresswoman had died and others who said the Congresswoman was alive and in surgery. I was horrified at the conflicting stories and prayed for Ms. Giffords to recover. When the press conference told us she was out of surgery and the prognosis was not bad I still felt sad and mourned the loss of the others who were shot and killed. I am still worrying about the people who were shot and praying for Ms. Giffords recovery. I was in an awful funk even after dinner when I caught Keith Olbermann's Special Comment. He said, "We need to put the guns down."
The rest of the comment followed my own thinking and so eloquently. You need to watch and listen to the video to see how very important this comment is.

Rewind back to March and follow the horror of the threats Ms. Giffords received after she voted for the health care bill. Her campaign office had its front door destroyed. She got threats almost constantly through the summer and at the same time several right wing talk show hosts began talking about violence toward political figures. Sarah Palin put up that map with the targets and is it coincidence that Tucson had a mark over it? People like Glen Beck and Rush Limbaugh continued stirring up the rhetoric until people started bringing guns to political rallies and Ms. Giffords' opponent actually held a campaign event at a shooting range!!!!
What is interesting is that minutes after today's shooting all of these right wing blogs including Sarah Palin's took down their websites and also Sarah Palin scrubbed her tweets alluding to any mention of violence.

Let me say that I hate guns and violence of any kind. I am against war and hunting for the most part. So the first thought that popped into my mind when I heard about the shooting was when will we be able to have some decent gun control??? The shooter was not the only one with a gun at Saturday's event. A few more people toted guns. Why, I have to ask myself, would someone bring a gun to a peaceful meet and greet of your Congresswoman? Also why was the judge there and was this a premeditated shooting? They are still investigating, but it is obvious that the violent rhetoric didn't help.

What do you think about this whole situation? Do you agree with Olbermann and myself that the violent rhetoric contributed to this shooting? Please leave a comment here.

Until the next time, thank you to my new follower and of course to all of my loyal readers who continue to enjoy reading my meanderings. For those who wonder why I haven't posted any poetry it's because I haven't written anything. I've been too busy with my novel and getting involved with my excellent publishing company, MuseItUp Publishing.

My radio show on Blog Talk Radio, RRW Live Tales from the Pages features Fran Lewis an old friend and Clay Ballantine. Please tune in on Thursday, January 27th at 3PM Central Time to join the discussion with these two excellent writers. In the coming weeks more guests are going to pop in here and right now the schedule escapes me.:) Check in to see who is here. I'm hoping to invite as many of my fellow Muse authors as I can.:)


  1. Thanks for sharing the Keith Olbermann clip, Barbara. I hadn't seen it. And I agree with it wholeheartedly. That some politicians can't see that their negative suggestions don't have an impact is terrifying.

  2. I too am sickened as well as saddened by the shooting. And I won't argue against gun control. Without easy access to a gun, a sick and twisted young man would have had to find some other outlet for his rage.
    But gun control is the easy answer - not the only answer. We need to start thinking about how we can re-channel the rage that so many are feeling these days. We need to start hinking in terms of responsibility - and moral decency.
    We need to start teaching that freedom of speech carries a responsibility to use that freedom wisely. We long ago realized the irresponsibility of yelling FIRE in a crowded theater.
    We also need to somehow reinstate the moral code that teaches we cannot respond with violence to every situation that displeases us. The shooting is tragic - and it is distant kin to the road rage phenomena of recent years.
    It can indeed be argued that if the shooter (I can't recall the spelling of his name) had no access to a gun, he wouldn't have committed the act.
    But it can also be argued that people who are determined to commit acts of violence have always found other means at their disposal, including bombs and incendiary devices.

  3. You're right! Sadly, this shouldn't happen in America, but I fear it's a precursor of what is yet to come. I own a gun, but that doesn't make me a killer. I don't hunt, I don't stalk people, and I have the sense to leave it loaded in a place where my grandson can never get to it. Why do I own one, you ask? Because I fear what the future will bring from a generation coming that has such a sense of entitlement...a generation we've created.

    I don't blame Glen Beck or anyone else for what happened...except for the shooter. There have been tragic events like this many times before and they will continue.

    Of course the dividing line drawn in the sand by the politicians is doing much more harm than good. The two party system worked for a long time, but it's time to retire it. We should be ONE nation under God, not them and us.

    What amazes me is that we grieve for lives lost in our own backyards, but we forget how many die every day fighting that ridiculous war overseas. Did a politician spur Timothy McVey in Oklahoma City? What about all the serial killers in the world...did they react because of politics. No, we just have a bunch of loonies in the world with an agenda none of us can fathom. I feel much better knowing I have a gun and laws that allow me to protect myself if ever I need to.

    Just my opinion on an event that touched me deeply, too.

    I respect your feelings, and thank you for sharing.

  4. Barbara, the background on the shooter is beginning to be discovered. According to what he told others, he was way left wing and liberal. His favorite readings included "The Communist Manifesto" and Hitler's "Mein Kampf," not exactly a Rush Limbaugh follower.

    Pointing fingers causes more distress and hatred. It's better to get facts before declaring anything.

    As far as banning guns: criminals will always be able to get their hands on guns no matter what the law says.

    Now, a question for you: Do you think that people should not be able to speak their minds, their thoughts, their beliefs in case some nut-job will believe that gives him/her the right to shot the speaker or to use the speaker's words as a right to kill?

    If so, your words could spark a war, too.

    We cannot become prisoners of those who need no reason to shot or knife or kill in other ways.

  5. Barbara, the fact that Sarah Palin and others like her have risen so far and continue to command attention, is a frightening comment on our society. More telling, once something happens because of their stirrings, they run for cover like the rats they are. If they were true believes in what they stated, they'd leave what they said posted and I might hae a modicum of respect for them.

  6. I am struggling to find words that will adequately say what is roiling inside me.

    These past three years have been rife with so much hate-filled speech it staggers me. I abhore those that speak hate and then immediately deny their own words when the rhetoric spurs others to act upon the level of rage invoked by their words.

    I cannot absolve those who speak the words of their culpability when the words invoke others to act. By taking the stage and making THEIR own words resonate, they have a responsibility to speak nothing but truth, but always with the awareness that not every one who will hear their words, has the ability to hear them and not react to those words with rational balance. We must never forget how easy it is to stir people to mentality can be a volatile thing. Look at all the riots throughout history.

    One person running this last time actually said over and over if she was not elected, the next step would be to take up arms. Seems to me she got her way...quite dramatically.

    I honor those who hunt for their food...but what bear, elk, deer is so well armored you need to have an AK-47 and what animal would you be hunting at a greet-and-meet such as this one that you need to bring a gun along with you?

    History shows us what happens when words are allowed to infuse the masses with fury.

    Andrew Jackson, defied the Supreme Court of his time when he was President and ordered the Cherokees to be removed from their land and marched across the Trail of Tears to their DEATHS...a slice of history that embarrasses America today...but does it really?

    This last election cycle gloried in the promise of violence if THEY the voices of rage did not get their way.

    AS for Glen Beck, Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh...why is it these mouths drum into us how criminal everyone else is, how ineffectual our more moderate leaders are, yet when they are caught by the long arm of the law, they scream injustice, persecution?

    Rush Limbaugh spouted about what should happen to those who use drugs illegally, yet when he was caught, we were all being unfair to him...making an EXAMPLE of him.

    Sarah Palin wants us all to think she has the answer for America, yet when they began investigating her misues of Alaskan funds, she couldn't even stick it out long enough to serve the term her people had elected her for. (I am not praising Bill Clinton, but he DID stick it out and fulfill his duties even AFTER he was impeached for lying in a deposition that under normal circumstances should not have been allowed to happen while he was a sitting president.)

    We HAVE to take responsibility for our words...especially when we have the media documenting every motion we make.

    LIES have consequences. Untempered words of rage have consequences, and it is time to hold the mouthpieces responsible for the violence they stir. Maybe if we did, they'd think carefully before speaking their rhetoric.

  7. I watched the Keith Olbermann Special Comment. What struck me the most was he didn't lay blame on one persons doorstep. Yes he called out a lot of people but he even called himself out on doing it.

    Years ago Robert Heinlein wrote in one of his books describing an upheaval in the political world the character relating this called it "The Crazy Years". Unfortunately we are the poor souls that must survive them.

    I'm not against guns. No gun ever picked itself up off the shelf and floated across the room to shoot someone. There has always been a human holding it.

    We, are what we are. Flawed creatures one and all. But like all creatures great and small we are influenced by what we are subjected to day in and day out.

    The constant bombardment of vitriol whether from the left or the right politically, the reporters on the TV or Radio is a factor in the increase in violence. No more or less than violent movies or video games. We can not continue to blame games or movies more than those we allow to bring us the news or run our country.

    Yes we have free speech - but it is becoming a country where we are afraid to excercise that right for fear of violence visiting itself on ourselves.

  8. Kris,
    You're welcome! I can see the impact of his statement today with several organizations. I'm sure it will be a long process.

  9. plblair,
    I agree that we need to be more responsible. However, acts of terrorism like this one might not have happened if there was no access to a gun. This boy doesn't seem like he would make a bomb or use any other method. Plus you have to find out why he did this. We won't know until the investigation is done. I have said these same things on my comments on FB.

  10. Ginger,
    I hate that so many people are killed in wars. But this kind of act could have had any reason. The shooter came ready to use his Glock with an extra magazine. The judge was shot and killed first and then he shot the Congresswoman. I just don't like guns and violence although i can understand why some people need one. I always worry about having a gun, because my family is volatile enough without one.

    We need two parties or our country will become a dictatorship. As a matter of fact, I think the two party system needs to be expanded. We already have seen the emergence of more than one party in the election and I think it is going to expand even more. Will this be good for our political system? Maybe, maybe not. At least it will give people another set of choices.

  11. Lin,
    All I can say after reading your eloquent comment is I agree with everything you said!!! Thank you for visiting and commenting and thank you to all of you who left a comment.:)

  12. Heather,
    Thank you for commenting. I missed your comment before, but I agree that the right wing seems to be silent during this time when a lot of people are taking responsibility for their comments. The Republicans have done the right thing and have shown that they are able to be more responsible. But you are right that the stronger voices have not said a word!

  13. Delilah,
    Thank you for commenting and again I agree with you. The TV pundits and moderators have been spewing this poison for too long. Many people have been influenced by it and sadly places like FoxNews are only interested in furthering an agenda. Unfortunately this agenda seems to be in the favor of very wealthy people and big business.Too many people listen to their rhetoric and believe it. It's sad, because the agenda does not include anyone who is a working person.

  14. Barbara,

    I've been following this story with horror for the last day or two. And although I do not blame any one individual, I believe that violence has come to be viewed as an accepted method for resolving disputes or simply expressing oneself.

    Violence breeds violence. Movies, TV, video games. Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Torture administered - and justified - by American military personnel. The roots of this tragedy run deep in American society. I only hope that the soul-searching this event engenders will be more than superficial.

    Also, fear breeds violence. Americans are terrified these days, seeing their financial security melt away like April snow. Politicians need to turn these fears into productive action. But it's far easier to stir up hate and threaten vengeance.

    (By the way, I also support stringent gun control. But gun control alone will not heal the wounds in our spirit.)

  15. Lisabet,
    Thank you for commenting and once again I have to agree with you. Guys these are such great comments they deserve to be their own blog post!!!

    You are right that people are worried that they will have no security and you can see this all over. Little acts of violence have occurred all over the country and I feel this is a culmination of these. Politicians do have a responsibility to address the economic issues and let our country get back to what it once was.

  16. Yeah, whenever something heinous like this happens, the first thing everyone cries is "gun control" - I think it's more appropriate to cry "loonie control"...

    Guns do not kill people, people kill people.

    The problem with gun control is that criminals have always been able to get guns on the sly so the only ones who will have guns will be the criminals and then we'll all be at their mercy; umm, no thank you!

    And the comment on Sarah Palin leaving office early after another unproved accusation - she left office turning it over to her successor to avoid having a "lame duck" session in her term. That's handing over power she could have riden out and been paid handsomely for, in order that something could be done in her state, rather than sit back and collect the free paycheck. That's leadership, imo. If you can't be useful, move out and let the next person in who can be.

    Great discussion here. What has happened is horrific. The answer is not to lock down guns but to help those who are obviously mentally ill.

  17. Dear Barbara -
    I left these comments on your Facebook page but will copy them here...

    Incitement to violence often actually begets actual violence. SP has no direct responsibility but that is the point....there needs to be an understanding that words aka rhetoric is taken literally by some not quite as sophisticated and literate as the former governor.... This is not a cute wink and a smile betcha... We ALL have to agree to a way to air deep differences within the understanding that we are all part of the same American and mod importantly HUMAN family. ♥

  18. Apologies on a typo or so-called Freudian slip in my earlier posting along with some more thoughts....

    In my earlier posting that obviously should have read "more" importantly the human family... although giving away my "time" by the typo of "mod"... Incidentally, it is sadly fascinating that folks just seemed destined to repeat his...tory each generation - I suppose that each new generation must suffer its own losses in order to be able to rally and change. I did so hope that for those of us who were marching and wearing arm bands and peace signs and so forth that we had "overcome" ... and for those of the same age who were against the sometimes misplaced VIOLENCE OF THOSE TIMES (we weren't all wearing flowers in our hair) I would think that those folks would be even more enraged at any repetition of violence that is politically motivated and/or encouraged in any way shape or form. And so, we get back to the current reality - with the major changes that have occurred in our country and unite around our similarities and our common disgust against killing, regardless of the identity of the victims or perpetrators! If we, as a nation and as a world could only get to this place, .... well, as a far greater poet/song-writer than I once said..... "IMAGINE" ♥See More


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