Saturday, January 8, 2011

Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Survives Murderous Rampage

(I apologize for the predominant sports posts the past several days. I confess, I'm a sports nut. Now, onto some serious stuff...)

In what was a truly tragic event today, there is a silver lining among this very dark cloud hovering over Tucson, Arizona. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the United States House of Representatives serving Arizona's eighth congressional district, has undergone brain surgery following a deadly shooting with a "very optimistic" chance for recovery, as one of her surgeons put it.

The congresswoman was shot once in the head while hosting a "Congress On Your Corner" rally at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson to meet with constituents. At least six people were killed and twelve others injured during the melee. Among the deceased include a 9 year-old girl and U.S. District Judge John Roll. Earlier reports had said Giffords died, as well. President Obama commented on the troubling incident earlier today, saying that a "terrible act of violence has no place in a free society."

Giffords was narrowly re-elected for her third term last November, and she was just sworn in this past Wednesday. However, her political career started out anything but typical. Originally a CEO for a local tire company, she got her first taste in government with the Arizona House of Representatives in 1999, then to the Arizona Senate three years later as the youngest woman elected to the latter. She has been on the U.S. House since 2007. A blue-dog Democrat, she's notorious for being tough on immigration reform and supportive of renewable energy, as well as being a motorcyclist, married to an astronaut, and licensed to carry a gun of her own.

The perpetrator, now in police custody, is 22 year-old Jared Lee Loughner. Weeks and months before the shooting, Loughner posted anti-government statements on MySpace and YouTube, complaining that he can't trust government and not enough people speak English in the area. Furthermore, friends have also described him as a politically radical loner. Whether he is suffering from a psychological disorder is beyond me though, if it is true he once served in the military, he may have snapped as a result of post-traumatic stress disorder. I hope he gets appropriate treatment – if he needs it – but I also hope he spends the rest of his cowardly life in prison, where he'll have every day to contemplate all the furor he caused.

Even more importantly, I wish Congresswoman Giffords the best and a full recovery from this heinous massacre. To leave a note of condolence for her on Twitter, please visit Twitter.com/Rep_Giffords.

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