Posts Tagged ‘murders

09
Jan
11

“it’s just very sad that anyone would shoot anyone”

The Guardian (UK): Paul Wellman laid his handwritten sign among the collection of candles, flowers and messages keeping vigil outside congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords’s office. Then he stepped back and surveyed the scene.

To the right, another sign said: “Hate speech = murder”. But Wellman went further with his angry declaration in large black letters on white cardboard: “Blame Palin. Blame the Tea Party”.

The 60-something former miner did not wait to explain why. “They’re trying to say that a lone nut was responsible for this, but Sarah Palin and the Tea Party might as well have put the gun in his hand. They are the ones who painted Giffords as some kind of traitor,” he said.

Wellman did not take much notice of the small woman with the camera watching him from the edge of the car park. After he moved off, she stepped forward.

“There have been a number of these,” she said grabbing his sign and declining to give her name. “It’s wrong. Why make it about politics?” Then she carried off Wellman’s sign to dump it….

…Some see the accused killer, Jared Loughner, as a deranged individual acting on his own. Giffords’s father was among the first to point a finger elsewhere. As he rushed to his daughter’s hospital bed, 75-year-old Spencer Giffords was asked if she had any enemies. He wept and replied: “Yeah, the whole Tea Party.”

….Republicans rushed to denounce the attack. Tea Partiers, recognising that their movement might be badly tainted, quickly portrayed the shooting as the work of a lone, unhinged misfit.

But the local sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, said he suspected that the growing vitriol, hate and anger against the government, and the widening rhetoric of armed resistance in the political discourse, played a role in the shootings. The National Jewish Democratic Council said: “Many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse.”

The congresswoman, the first Jewish woman elected from Arizona, was a target for Tea Party rage after she voted in favour of what Palin denounced as the president’s “socialist” healthcare reforms and opposed what many described as racist new anti-immigration laws in Arizona.

The windows of her office were stoned or shot out, and Tea Party protests were regularly held at which Giffords was denounced as a traitor to the constitution and the country.

Like other members of Congress who supported healthcare reform, Giffords faced vitriolic attacks at town hall meetings by what she would call the “crazies”. Across the country, Tea Partiers accused their elected representatives of betraying America, of being Nazis or communists for supporting Obama’s attempt to ensure that everyone has access to healthcare. With the rhetoric came the regular allusions to armed resistance.

…During last year’s elections, Giffords was among Democrats targeted on Palin’s Facebook page through the crosshairs of a rifle … she was also the target of a campaign advert by her Tea Party-backed Republican opponent, Jesse Kelly … “Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly,” it said. Kelly appeared on his own website in camouflage gear, holding a gun to promote the event.

Probably unintentionally, Loughner also killed another hate figure when he opened fire at the shopping centre. John Roll was a federal judge who drew scorn and vitriol for ruling in favour of illegal immigrants in a lawsuit against an Arizona rancher in 2009. The police at the time said extremists made serious threats to kill Roll and his family, in part spurred by local talk radio hosts. US marshals put the judge and his wife under round-the-clock protection for a time.

…Dupnik said he saw a link between vicious anti-government rhetoric and the shootings ..…Not all of Giffords’s supporters agreed. As Natalie Kujawa – a Democrat who voted for Giffords – laid flowers outside the congresswoman’s office, she said that only one man was to blame for the tragedy.

“It was a mentally unstable person. It’s terrible but I think if everyone can take the higher road and conduct themselves with a little bit of grace. There’s a lot of people who are angry and I don’t think that’s going to do any of us any good.”

Kujawa laid her flowers near a sign that read: “Don’t make this about politics. Republicans and Democrats deplore this kind of hatred and violence.”

None of that mattered to a young nine-year-old boy called Sammy who arrived at the memorial carrying flowers with his father. He was there, he said, because the young girl who died, Christina-Taylor Green, had been the same age as him. Sammy said he didn’t know what to call the circumstances of her death. “It’s just very sad that anyone would shoot anyone,” he said.

Read the full article here

09
Jan
11

a moment of silence

President Obama has released a statement calling on a national moment of silence tomorrow at 11 a.m., and signed a proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff as a mark of respect for the victims of the “senseless act of violence” committed yesterday morning.

The President’s statement:

“Tomorrow at 11:00 a.m. eastern standard time, I call on Americans to observe a moment of silence to honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Arizona, including those still fighting for their lives. It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”

The President will observe the moment of silence with White House staff on the South Lawn.

The signed proclamation ordering flags be flown at half-staff reads:

“As a mark of respect for the victims of the senseless acts of violence perpetrated on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, January 14, 2011. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this ninth day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand eleven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-fifth.

BARACK OBAMA

A portrait of Gabrielle Giffords is placed at a memorial outside the hospital where she and other victims of Saturday’s shootings are recovering in Tucson, Arizona January 9

A portrait of slain federal judge John Roll sits at a makeshift memorial on January 9, in Tucson, Arizona




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