Democratic Congresswoman Severely Wounded, Chief Federal Judge Murdered in Arizona Rampage
Horrible news today of a shooting rampage in Tuscon, AZ in which a troubled 20 year-old with vague political motives shot and killed six, including chief federal judge, John Roll and severely wounded Cong. Gabrielle Giffords, a centrist Democrat, who was shot in the brain. Her doctors say she will survive, but they have no idea what level of brain damage there might be.
From news reports quoting the rabbi who married her, it appears Giffords is Jewish. It’s not yet known whether there were anti-Semitic motives to the attack. Though the fact that he killed seemingly at random might preclue that theory.
Ironically, in order to be elected in Republican-leaning district, she had to embrace gun rights. But she voted in favor of the health care bill and opposed Arizona’s draconian laws criminalizing being an immigrant there. At an earlier similar constituent meeting police arrested a man who was armed with a pistol. Giffords had received death threats, as had the federal judge.
During the recent Congressional campaign, Sarah Palin’s website featured Congressional districts represented by Democrats along with a bulls-eye targeting them. The bulls-eyes, for some reason, were later removed. In fact, the Congresswoman had this to say about being targeted:
…Giffords said last week in an interview: “We’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the thing is that the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they have to realize that there are consequences to that action.”
The killer, Jason Loughner, is 20 years old. Somehow he appears to have procured a semiautomatic weapon for his killing spree. His political views are rambling, incoherent, profoundly alienated and violent, though a friend who hadn’t seen him in seven years tweeted that when she knew him his views were quite left-wing. They must’ve changed in the interim, as he lists Mein Kampf as one of his favorite books (along with the Communist Manifesto, go figure).
Many Democrats are blaming Tea Party rhetoric for the violent tone of political discourse in the country. But the killer’s motivations appear confused. It should be said though that many of his general views echo those of the Tea Party.
Arizona also seems to be a place that encourages the sort of hatred that must’ve fueled this carnage. Today’s NY Times carries a story about the Repubican attorney general who railroaded a measure through the legislature that essentially criminalizes Chicano ethnic studies programs, which it defines thus:
The Arizona law warns school districts that they stand to lose 10 percent of their state education funds if their ethnic-studies programs are found not to comply with new state standards. Programs that promote the overthrow of the United States government are explicitly banned, and that includes the suggestion that portions of the Southwest that were once part of Mexico should be returned to that country.
Also prohibited is any promotion of resentment toward a race. Programs that are primarily for one race or that advocate ethnic solidarity instead of individuality are also outlawed.
On Monday, his final day as the state’s top education official, Mr. Horne declared that Tucson’s Mexican-American program violated all four provisions. The law gives the district 60 days to comply, although Mr. Horne offered only one remedy: the dissolution of the program.
Here’s more vintage Tom Horne (the attorney general):
“It’s propagandizing and brainwashing that’s going on there [in the Chicano Studies program]…Once they get told day after day that they are being victimized, they become angry and resentful….
“They are the ‘Bull Connors.’ They are the ones resegregating.”
If punishing ethnic identity is the prevailing norm in Arizona politics is it any wonder that some lunatic might get it into his head that those who support immigrants or identity with their cause might be so damaging to the republic that they should be eliminated? No, Tom Horne didn’t kill John Roll nor did he put a bullet in Congresswomen Giffords brain. But words matter and laws do too. If you attempt to score political points on the backs of ethnic minorities and do so largely because they have the least power in society to stand up to your bullying, then you’ve created the environment that produces the Jason Loughners of the world. And yes, that means Sarah Palin and the Tea Party too. They’re less culpable, but a contributing factor nonetheless.
The county sheriff commented on the type of rhetoric that may’ve motivated Loughner to act:
The Sheriff of Pima County, Clarence Dupnick, today said this: “When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is outrageous.”
By the way, Horne didn’t outlaw ethnic studies programs for African-Americans, Asians or Native Americans. Those are apparently kosher; or else he’s worried he would bruise far more entrenched interests if he took them on.
I hate to be morbid but the only way the U.S. may get real national gun control is having a few other nutheads take potshots at other Congressmembers. There’s nothing like self-preservation to change a person’s political views radically. Or perhaps we should ask the NRA to provide protection for all members of Congress and the federal judiciary?
Again, I hate to be morbid but would anyone like to make a wager on whether the Arizona Republican Party and its Tea Party supporters are relishing the possibility they may get an opportunity to replace Giffords, should she not be able to resume her seat, with one of their kind?
34 thoughts on “Democratic Congresswoman Severely Wounded, Chief Federal Judge Murdered in Arizona Rampage – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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A heinous act and a despicable way to send a message. A nine year old was and at least 5 other were killed in the shooting. I don’t understand how the Communist Manifesto and Mein Kampf would appear in the same list, nor with Aesop’s Fables. Obviously, this early 20 something year old was delusional to a great extent. To actually put a gun to someone’s head and pull the trigger takes moral depravity, to have a reckless disregard for human life and spend the rest of the ammo into a crowd of people, and snuff a nine year old’s life takes insanity.
It’s not necessary to render this murderer simply an anti-Semite, since it goes beyond that into the anti-human territory. No political message that is truly profound and truth requires death for its expression.
As with all tragedies, it is good to learn from them. I hope the IDF does the next time it decides to bring Gaza to the brink of economic destruction (as if there was really an economy there in the first place), or the next time it decides to leave radioactive uranium behind, cluster bombs, or employ white phosphorous.
Stalin infamously said, “One death is a tragedy; one thousand deaths is a statistic.”
Ha. Leave irt to you to find a Palestinian angle to the Giffords shooting as Philip Weiss did with the recent repeal of DADT. While I wish for better conditions for the Palestinians, they are not the center of the universe and should not be dragged into every political discussion-for their own good.
As I wrote to Gene below, “I’ve said many times that Israeli policy and politics are expressed and enacted by the IDF’s rifle in an extrajudicial manner, the act of this loony tune spreading his message via the gun brought the IDF to mind.”
Excusez moi, s’il vous plait, mais, what is the difference between a bucket of crap and a pile of crap? The bucket. The rest is still stinky.
One extrajudicial killing, the spreading of a message via the gun, is the same as the next. The same goes for the perpetrators of innocent Iranian deaths, Eskimo deaths, Sudanese deaths, and more.
The Palestinians are not the center of the universe, but surely, if you fail to see the analogies in the suffering caused by these acts, then you are simply from another galaxy. When they kill the wrong man in a Hamas raid, and the wife witnesses the death of her husband before her by a rifle to the head, is it any different than the people that had to witness this poor Congresswoman being taken down?
I wasn’t referring to you in particular; it just seems everyone, whether democrat or republican is exploiting this national tragedy for their own political or personal agenda. Can’t Jane Fonda and Keith Olbermann see that they are only fanning the flames of the base of the tea party. Of course not. They are simply adopting radical rhetoric to cement their names in the history textbooks. And of course the Glenn Becks and Ann Coulters will hit them back. I fear our great nation is going the way of the way of the 1850’s.
Yes, you’re right and they are. Which is why those truly interested in human compassion, the progression of our race on Earth, and the American values our forefathers set out (not the ones that have been hijacked) must be protected even more at this time. The government has responded by cutting offers Congress people from direct contact with their constituencies. I say if you are using Guantanemo Bay to erode the greatest Constitution ever known then this vigalante, a terrorist by every definition of the word, should be renditioned for “knowing information of imminent danger to Americans and American interests.” The bad will be used for good and turned on to itself if it cannot be destroyed. If you live by the sword; you shall die by he sword.
Btw, how else does one interpret, “Ha, leave irt to you to…”? I’ll accept your retraction as one form of an apology 🙂 I’m not interested in relating, say, corn syrup overuse to the IDF. I will however make connections between the Italian American and Jewish communities by pointing out how awesome Pizza Bagels are :p
As long as you don’t eat deli pastrami on white bread w. mayonnaise! (That’s an in movie joke that John Dickerson should be able to tell us about).
Of course, I’ve eaten at Katz Delicatessen many-a-times, and, by own option, don’t really like mayonnaise… well maybe SOMETIMES on burgers, and you can’t avoid it with chicken salad (my personal recipe is a honey infused chicken salad with dried cranberries, celery, chopped walnuts and almonds, and a touch of the Chipotle flavored Tabasco sauce on toasted whole wheat), but is it a shanda when I do? True, I’m not Jewish, but I do say shlep, shmuck, shpiel and chutzpah a lot 🙂 I thought mayonnaise had no dairy in it, but I could be wrong.
…or I should just wait to find out about the movie and stop typing lol..
by any means i am no expert on American life and the problem you guys have with immigrants.
but if you study history parts of the reason’s the Roman empire collapsed was the lack of assimilation of its parts. immigrants from all over the world, immigrate to the US for the values they know exist in the US, mostly the freedom and opportunity, which usually do not exist at the places they come from. to immigrate to the US, and impose different values on your surrounding seems to me as the wrong thing to do. so i understand what’s the Arizona education official is trying to do, he’s trying to create greater assimilation that in the long run will benefit everyone, the immigrants, the local community and the state as a whole.
Unlike other countries I can think of, the U.S. has a a pretty coherent national identity and can withstand any tension or conflict that might be caused by so many ethnic groups making their way here & trying to find a way to both assimilate to an American identity and retain their own ethnic identity. Our country has a long history & tradition not just of accepting immigrants and being tolerant (though this clearly isn’t alway so as Arizona illustrates) of their values, but also of turning them into Americans while not doing violence to their own traditions.
I don’t think the Roman Empire is an apt comparison since Roman society was so hierarchical and rigid and lacked basic tolerance for outsiders their religions & their values.
In an ideal world, our public education system would be entirely color blind but that is not a reality right now.
I don’t know if you know, but a small minority of Mexican Americans adhere to a radical ideology known as Aztlan. They believe that the Southwest, which they call Aztlan is the promised land and it belongs exclusively to Mexicans, and they intend to populate the Southwest with Mexicans and kick out all the whites and blacks. They have warned against intermarriage; Hector Carreon of the Chicano newspaper La Voz de Aztlan has said “Kill any Latina woman who mixes her blood with white trash or nigger scum.” They are known for their extremely judeophobic, homophobic, and anti feminist rantings.
Most Mexican Americans do not subscribe to this radical ideology but *some* identify themselves as Mexicans first and would side with Mexico in the event that the US and Mexico were to go to war. Unlike with other immigrant communities, the Mexican community is so large that many towns and neighborhoods in cities in the Southwest are almost exclusively Mexican immigrant and this leaves no room for assimilation. When I refer to “assimilation,” I mean learning English and integrating with Americans of different backgrounds, I do not mean abandoning Mexican identity altogether.
Banning ethic studies is the same as when the Soviet Union banned studying one’s religion, such as Judaism. Claiming it is good for Mexicans to not learn about their identity in order to stop radical demagoguery is analogous to banning Judaic studies in order to stem the possibility of Kahane Chai from growing.
And so? A small minority of whites adhere to a racial supremacist ideology as well. What does it mean? Other ethnicities as well have radical extremist iterations. Does this mean that no ethnic group should be allowed to honor, respect & study its history & traditions? And now you’re suggesting a war with Mexico? We last had a war with Mexico in 1847 & may not have another one until the earth collapses into the sun. I think you have too much time on yr hands spinning these wild notions of what the future holds.
Mexican-Americans are doing just fine in this country, integrating into our society, contributing to it. UNlike you, I know waves of immigration have strengthened this country, not endangered or weakened it.
I will share with you a personal story; I spent few years in the USA.
When I took my driving written test, I was asked if I would like to take the test in a foreign language, I asked if Hebrew was available, and was extremely surprised when the rep said yes, I took the test in Hebrew and failed twice, I failed because in some occasions all 3 answers were the same, and since no one in the office spoke Hebrew I had no way of addressing the issue with them. I took it again in English and passed.
When I walked outside of that office, I finally realized what stupidity I was facing, Signs in the USA, especially emergency announcements, are written primarily in English, by allowing people to take tests in their own language, you are creating an unsafe driver, who most likely will not be able to coherently communicate with its surrounding and effectively response to changing situations.
I imagine the same apply in other aspects of life, I watched a video of the SF supervisor meeting in which there was a translator in the audience, and there were actually two, one for Chinese and one for Spanish.
In my opinion, In the long run, this is a recipe for disaster.
YOu see, that’s precisely the problem with Israel’s mono-ethnic culture. YOu make allowance for one ethnicity & one alone. One language. One religion. One culture. When you actually have more than one. Even more than two.
In America as in other places like French Canada, a nation HAS to make allowance for ethnic diversity. And again as I wrote, their is enough of a national identity that it will not be swamped by the hundreds of ethnic groups within the country. Most Americans are confident that these ethnic groups will assimilate enough to learn English & the other things that are necessary to be a good citizen, but will also retain what they need or want of their original ethnic identity. This does not worry or create anxiety in most Americans…& that’s all for the good.
If Israel could learn to be as relaxed about these issues you’d have a lot more success in granting equality to Palestinians, be able to integrate them into Israel better, & make for a better nation.
“Linguistic cleansing” of Palestinians:
The headline from Haaretz yesterday:
That’s the ethnic prison-thinking taking over. I wonder whether HaAretz would have written “Catholic Congresswoman . . . “. Some of the American commenters are astonished, too.
And Haaretz is already on the anti-semitic track:
IlanP forgot to mention Jewish immigration to Palestine and their total lack of assimilation – though personally I do prefer the word ‘integration’ – as a reason for the collapse of Palestine. Closer to the subject than the Roman Empire 🙂
Yeah, the book list is nonsense. This guy was all over the map in what books he liked. He liked Communist Manifesto. Does that make him a Communist? The problem w situations like this is you clearly have someone who’s deranged with a serious mental condition. You can’t judge someone like this w. the coherence you can use to judge someone who is not mentally ill.
Dear PA, I’m not sure what good it does to conflate this tragedy with what the IDF is doing in Gaza. Perhaps it is Richard’s suggestion that Giffords might be Jewish that triggered your train of thought. If that’s the case, then shame on Richard, and shame on you for being so suggestible. As a lawyer, you should know better. True, both cases involve a heavy dose of insanity among the perpetrators, but as far as I can see, that’s the only link. The closer link, in my estimation, is the ideology of the tea party with that of IDF.
My condolences to all who are victims of this insanity.
Well, Gene, considering that I’ve said many times that Israeli policy and politics are expressed and enacted by the IDF’s rifle in an extrajudicial manner, the act of this loony tune spreading his message via the gun brought the IDF to mind.
I don’t equate Judaism with the IDF — AT ALL. That’s like equating Christianity with David Koresh (Waco). Yada, yada, yada… (Seinfeld reference)
PS – Gene, stay on your toes with this one please. Don’t whitewash the Tea Party…that’s so…media-ish. As you know, the Tea Party has many parts, some of them fringe like the 2nd Amendment gang and lunatics like this who obtain legally registered weapons and use them to cause human suffering, others who scream for government deregulation while living on welfare, a media component that attaches Sarah Palin to the movement in order to make it less credible, and finally, a core group that actually DOES have several points to make. Including, fiscal responsibility (no offense to any elders, but I’d rather spend my hard earned money paying into a retirement account than trust the government to give me social security when it’s my time — it’s highway robbery, a veritable ponzi scheme, and one that we pay into with a real danger of having the entire apparatus collapse or be removed without any payback for the hundreds of thousands most of us have already paid into it).
Name one Federal component that hasn’t been hijacked by corporations to meet their self-interested capital ends at the expense of the average American. The FCC? Cell phone radiation galore, text messages that infinitely cost more than a 5000 page e-mail, cell phone plans that have replaced land lines yet are not regulated. The FTC? Credit card APRs have yet to be capped, privacy is now being swapped like spit at a teenage slumber party (see Google + Facebook), and forget about limiting outsourcing. The FDA? Ha… don’t even get me started — all the laws were built to SCREW the people and give profits to corporations. Also, they booted on corn with genetically altered DNA that produces pesticides so they wouldn’t have to actually run it through long term FDA clinical trials. The Dept. of Agriculture was happy to take it on and begin using consumers as a guinea pig. The behind-the-shadows Federal Energy Regulation Commission that pushes ethanol (a corn product) which is WORSE for the environment than clean gasoline, has caused the price of the corn commodity to skyrocket (and since it’s in EVERYTHING via corn syrup, caused everything to increase in price), and now is being pushed back on finally after the real scientists emerged from the cloud of ones who were working for desperate cash under research grants funded by big oil and such?
And yes, I’m angry at the above, but I would never…NEVER… harm a human life to make my point. I’d simply write the paragraph above, and hope that you will reply to refute it. That’s how democracy works 🙂
Hey, AP, it looks like someone pulled the plug releasing a whole lot of bile from your system that has nothing to do with the subject of this post. I won’t bother trying to refute all you spew out here. All I need to do is make one point that makes your whole argument suspect. Put all your hard earned money into a retirement account? Those are the first things the corporations raided when they started going belly up. Look at Enron, look at GM. We still have Social Security. Though I agree, it too will be soon be gone.
BTW, it turns out that Congresswoman Giffords was born of non-Jewish mother (Christian Scientist) and a Jewish father. Is she technically Jewish? Though she considers herself such, does Jewish law? That’s what I have against identifying people by their religion It ain’t always so.
Gene i have a great way to determine if someone is jewish or not, it is known as the “Hitler Test”.
if she / he would be considered jewish enough to be killed by the nazis then they sure are jewish enough for me.
beasides according to the real jewish tredition, a Jew is whoever willing to accept Judaism upon himself, and not necessarily someone who received a stamp from the Rabanut.
If Rabnut existed many yeasr ago, we wouldn’t have a Mossiach, as the Mossiach materialistic grandmother is Ruth who was a non- Jewish women who took upon herself to become one.
I never said anything about her Judaism, Gene. Who said My retirement account would be in America and in a currency George Soros likely plans to implode? I’m not as naive as you think. My retirement account is based on a gold standard. The barter system will always be in good effect. 😉 I won’t go into my personal details, but let’s just say the mistakes of others in past generations are well heeded and won’t be repeated by me whenever possible. My point was that I’d like to decide how I’ll spend my earnings. I know of too many fake disability claims to want my stolen from me.
Did you bother looking at Loughner’s book list? Brave New World was in there. 😉 He may have been in the right vein, but like a young idiot with no guidance, and possible psychotic tendencies he delivered his message, if any, horribly. Meib Kampf, another example of psychotic dribble and a man who expressed a message like a lunatic, with much corporate funding!
I know you didn’t PA, the BTW was addressed to the crowd, and especially Richard, who did. As did Haaretz and much of the other press, as though her religion might be why she was targeted. Maybe it was, I don’t know, but there were a few other people in that crowd that got it, and they weren’t Jewish. It seems it is only the Jewish commentators who noticed and emphasize it. And I wonder if that is not the only reason the story appears in Richard’s blog.
I merely noted that she was prob. Jewish & that the deranged gunman might’ve been anti Semitic & targeted her for that reason. But that was one sentence out of an entire post that contained other possible motivating factors that might’ve fueled his hatred. I stand by what I wrote. The police announced that they know specifically that GIffords was the intended target.
Gene, that is one stupid and offensive comment. I began writing this post w/o knowing she was Jewish. I discovered this in the course of my research after I’d already begun the post. Regardless, I don’t have to explain or defend my choice of subject matter to someone who would stoop as low as you’ve just done.
On the other hand, I make no bones about the fact that I am Jewish, write about Jews (& others), find my Jewish identity to be important to me, & am concerned about the fate of my fellow Jews (& others as well). I will make no concessions to anyone on that esp. you.
I swear Gene, sometimes I think your brain is on vacation & your mouth (or keyboard) is working overtime. You might consider thinking next time before you speak. IT could avoid some awfully noxious comments from your mouth.
Richard, your insecurity is showing. No one is asking you to apologize for being Jewish, or any of the things you defend. I was merely making an observation that if Giffords hadn’t been Jewish, the story probably wouldn’t make it into a blog that specializes in Jewish and Israeli themes. I also criticized Haaretz for the same reason. Okay, perhaps I was mistaken, but that hardly justifies the outrage and vitriol you rain upon me. I won’t ask you for an apology, nor will I offer one to you. I’ll merely drop out.
You were merely making an observation that was asinine & offensive. Not only that, it was false. And I told you so. And you still don’t have the grace to apologize for being an ass.
And don’t you dare talk to me about insecurity. I’m not insecure. I’m mad. At you. And I’m damn well going to give it to you with both barrels.
You have just proven to me that there are more ass-holes than asses.
Yes, & you are both.
On the gun control front, Arizona has plenty of guns and concealed carry. Many in the NRA speak to the need for that in order to prevent gun violence. They state that criminals or even madmen can be stopped by good citizens with their guns at the ready to stop heinous acts. I note that none of the gun toting citizenry of Tucson stepped up to stop the firing rampage of this modified Glock carrying nutcase.
I heard a rumor that someone in the crowd did shoot. But do you really want a situation in which you have a deranged gunmen & then civilians taking up arms & firing on the gunman? We’d have even more carnage this way. Not just the gunmen killed, but even more innocent bystanders as well. The more guns, the more violence.
This just in: Gabrielle Gifford’s original family name was Hornstein (classic jewish name!) Her grandfather Akiba Hornstein moved from New York to Tuscon in the 1940’s and changed the family name to Giffords to avoid Judeophobia (I’ll call it that to make everyone happy.) I normally don’t like it when jews anglicize their names but this is completely understandable!
Do we really need to look at a book list of a murderer to know he is a psycho?
I think all he needed was Mama Crosshairs map of the USA to get his sick brain motivated.