We all know the story by now: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding an outdoor event with her constituients outside a shopping center in Tuscon, AZ. Federal Judge John M. Roll was just leaving his church after Mass and while on the way home stopped by the center to say hi to Giffords a friend of his. Then shots rang out. When it was all over, six people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl named Christina Taylor Green, a student council member invited to the event who studied ballet and played baseball, and Judge Roll. Of the thirteen injured one of them was Rep. Giffords, shot in the head at point blank range. Although initial reports were that she died, she is expected to survive. Police arrested a guy named Jared Lee Loughner, who had posted a few videos on YouTube of rambling political positions of his, and they are looking for another suspect. Police also say that it seems Giffords was the target, and that they are investigating a suspicious looking package at her office as we post this.
Before we go any further, we must first extend our thoughts and prayers to the victims of this tragic and senseless incident and to their families. The reason why we do what we do here is as an effort to keep these incidents from happening too often, but since President Obama was elected, there has been too many of these incidents over the past two years where either government officials or ordinary citizens have been attacked by unhinged right-wingers. And it has gone far enough in particular for the Pima County Sherriff Clarence Dupnik, who now has to deal with what just happened in his county. At a press conference this evening, he blamed the political climate that has been created by anti-government advocates and rhetoric on the radio, particularly in his state which he has said has become the capital for prejdudice and bigotry. The sad thing is that the first thing that came to mind is not that he was to be commended for calling out those that engage in such actions, but rather how Fox News and other conservatives were going to go after him for that.
And let's be fair, we don't have all the details yet. We can't go after conservatives the way the conservatives went after Muslims after the Oklahoma City bombing. Two things though. One, Sherriff Dupnik had to speak to Jared Loughner, and if he is going off like this it is more than likely coming from what Loughner said. Two, Rep. Giffords has been attacked before. She was one of the members of Congress who had bricks thrown through their windows last year after the health care bill vote. A month later, on the 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, we were at a open carry rally in Virginia where a guy named Mike Vanderbough bragged about getting people to do it. It is still possible the right has nothing to do with what happened today - just like it is possible that they are - but the fact remains that the right has been culpable in other incidents over the past two years, and far too many allowances has been given to those conservatives who want to regularly call for such actions to take place. If the public misunderstands what they are trying to say that's on them. But let us present to you the words of Mike Vanderbough and you make your own decision. We made ours. This is a two-part video.