There's been some shocking news tonight that a gunman opened fire on a public meeting in Arizona. At the moment six of the 30 people shot have died, including a nine year old girl, a political aid and a Federal judge. The key target, who was shot in the head, was congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Doctors say they are optimistic for her recovery.
The assailant was a 22-year old Afghanistan veteran who was wrestled to the ground by one of Giffords' aids and arrested.
Giffords has been a target of the Tea Party movement for her backing of health care reform and "supporting immigration control, embryonic stem-cell research and the right to abortion." Ironically she is also a strong supporter of the right to bear arms.
Last year her office was vandalised after a key health care vote and the Tea Party rhetoric about resorting to 'second amendment methods' if they fail at the ballot box has been given new, horrible, meaning today.
Jesse Kelly, the Tea Party Republican rival that Giffords beat at the end of last year seems to have taken the irresponsibility to new levels. The Arizona Star reported;
Jesse Kelly, meanwhile, doesn't seem to be bothered in the least by the Sarah Palin controversy earlier this year, when she released a list of targeted races in crosshairs, urging followers to "reload" and "aim" for Democrats. Critics said she was inciting violence.
He seems to be embracing his fellow tea partier's idea. Kelly's campaign event website has a stern-looking photo of the former Marine in military garb holding his weapon. It includes the headline: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."
The event costs $50.
Quite in spirit with Sarah Palin's "target" strategy (below) of opponents (including Gabrielle Giffords) that were to be targeted. This is idiotic behaviour on the part of a high profile politician, although I was pleased to see he posted that "Senseless acts of violence such as this have absolutely no place in American politics" after the news emerged at what had happened.
This kind of rhetoric has to stop. It's time for the Republicans to purge the Tea Party from their ranks.